Is Your School Likeable on Facebook?

Think back with me to your elementary years. Do you remember that special classmate you had a crush on and you wondered whether or not she or he liked you too?  

There were two strategies I would use to find out if she liked me. I would talk to her friends and float the idea that I liked their friend. This would plant the seed that would quickly spread to the girl I liked. Sometimes it would work and I would hear back that she also liked me. At other times, this strategy failed miserably and created some very awkward moments.

The other strategy involved sending a note to this special someone with a simple question: Do you like me? The note included a box to check either “Yes” or “No.”

It seems silly but the strategy was very direct. I simply wanted to know if I was liked.

In the world of Facebook relationships for private schools it is critical to be liked. To be liked is your social media starting point.

A few weeks ago, I read the book, Likeable Social Media, by Dave Kerpen, which was recommended to me by Brendan Schneider. This book is an excellent resource and primer for understanding how Facebook and social media works, and it can be applied specifically to inbound marketing strategies for private schools.

The following are eight important concepts and strategies that I picked up from this book that apply to marketing your school:

1.  Your Party Strategy—Your Facebook strategy is simple. Kerpen says it’s like going to a party. “Listen carefully, be transparent, be responsive, be authentic, tell great stories—the qualities that would make you the hotshot at the party—and they’ll make your organization a likeable one on social networks.” If you sit back and do nothing at the party, then no one will remember you were ever there. You have to engage in order for social media to work.

2.  A Better Way to Target Your Audience—Social media allows you to target exactly who you are trying to reach. While many schools are fearful of moving away from traditional outbound marketing strategies, for those that do he says, “When you tap into that unique target audience, you’ll never again want to waste precious marketing dollars on less accountable, out-of-focus media.” He’s talking about the newspaper and magazine ads, radio spots, and direct mail that we are so comfortable using in our schools.

3.  Broadcasting versus Engaging—Kerpen emphasizes that social media is not a tool to broadcast your message. He says, “Facebook, Twitter and all social networks are not broadcast media—I can’t stress this enough. Engage, don’t broadcast!” I think school marketers fall into this trap of just sending out their same advertising messages, event updates and sports scores in a way that broadcasts the message rather than engages the audience.

4.  The “Like” is More Important than the Link—We have made much of the marketing focus to get people to click on our links so that the parent can see our website. With the “Like” button, your audience is connected to your updates and you can engage in a conversation with them. And, this “Like” also provides an endorsement of your school to all of their Facebook friends. Kerpen says, that because of this, “the like is more important than the link.”

5.  Text to Like—I didn’t know this but Kerpen says that Facebook has a “text to like” feature that allows anyone to like your page from their mobile phone. He says, “Simply type ‘like [page name]’ and send to FBOOK (32665) from any mobile phone connected to your Facebook account, and you’ll like that page.” This is a great idea that works from a Smartphone and I need to try it. In fact, you can try it now by liking my Facebook page: EnrollmentCatalyst. Or, you can go directly to my Enrollment Catalyst Facebook page. (How’s that for a call to action?)

 6.  Ask Everyone to Like You—Where should you ask people to like your school? The simple answer is everywhere—your website, every email you send, your email signature, your business card, your signage, and anywhere else you can think of!

7.  Friends of Connections Ad—Kerpen says that the best way to grow your fan base after you have people who have liked your page is to use the Friends of Connections ad. This uses the power of your current fans to spread your story to their connections. It’s like a built in word-of-mouth marketing generator that’s prime for your school’s marketing effort.

8.  Most Engaging Facebook Updates—Kerpen says that the five most engaging Facebook status updates are photos, videos, links to blogs, stories, and interactive questions. Take a look at the last month and review your posts. Did you post engaging updates?

And this barely scratches the surface for what you will find in this book.

Kerpen provides a must-read for every school leader, marketing or admissions director interested in using Facebook and social media to its potential. Your goal in all of this is to create a school that is likeable and Kerpen has the strategies that can make this work for you.

Let me know your thoughts about this book as you read it. 

What are some additional “likeable” strategies that should be added to our list?

What works for you and your school?