RECAP: Our 2017 predictions - What trends did we get right?

[1] Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality [CORRECT]

We said: The technology and behaviour around VR and AR will evolve over the next 12 months, and further.

2017 has seen VR and AR come along in leaps and bounds. It is clear that the applications offered by VR and AR have a long way to go, but in a relatively short amount of time both platforms are readily available to everyday consumers.

VR and AR will undoubtedly remain a trend throughout 2018, expanding into other sectors outside entertainment. Keep an eye on the education industry in particular, as VR and AR become key learning tools both inside and outside the classroom. Google expeditions is already a prime example of this!

[2] Live-streaming [CORRECT]

We said: It’s becoming clearer that live video on social platforms is the trend for 2017. We’ll start to see live-streaming move way beyond just early-adopters and into the hands of the mainstream users.

2017 started with a big advertising push from Facebook, as they looked to dominate the live-streaming industry with Facebook LIVE. Fast forward to 2018 and having a live-streaming seems the "in thing" for major social channels.

What live-streaming service should I use?

Facebook LIVE: as with most things social, Facebook is the biggest in terms of community and reach. It is proving a fantastic channel to help businesses engage with followers.

Periscope (Twitter): if you are already using Twitter as your main social media outlet, because you’ve found success there, Periscope can help you stand out further in feeds and encourage greater engagement then you were already receiving. It is not necessarily as far reaching as Facebook, but it is a better platform for encouraging new followers.

Instagram LIVE: not strictly a live-streaming service, Instagram LIVE is instead an add-on and lives with Instagram Stories. Because it only lasts 24 hours it is more disposable.

YouTube LIVE: video is the natural home of video, and live-streaming will be coming to users soon. While it is currently available, it is restricted to users with significantly large subscribers. When it becomes more mainstream, Facebook and Twitter can expect a battle here!

[3] A Video First World [CORRECT]

We said: We're in a video-first marketing era. In 2017, video content is the #1 focus for many marketers. Whether it be on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, video is playing a big part in reaching new audiences, and engaging with current fans.

Video remains the biggest marketing trend in 2017. Coined by Facebook, "Video First" refers to the growing phenomenon of consumers not only wanting to consume video, but also to produce it. 

The Video First world will continue to dominate, as more and more apps, and major social networks continue to develop tools based in video.

Here are some fascinating facts around the current state of video marketing (source):

  • 85% of videos are played without sound on Facebook
  • using the word "video" in the subject of an email increases the view-rate by 19% 
  • almost 50% of Internet users are looking for videos related to a product or service before going to the store
  • 48% additional marketers are considering adding YouTube to their content strategy next year

Back by hugely popular demand is our Filming and Editing #SchoolVideo on your Mobile Devices workshop, in collaboration with EyeFilm.

  • WHEN? Feb 19 2018 📅
  • WHERE? London (venue tbc) 🌍 
  • HOW MUCH? FREE!!! 🎟

Book below, tickets are selling out fast!

[4] Chatbots [CORRECT]

We said: The question 6 years ago was ‘should we have an app?’, but fast-forward to 2016 and the questions currently are around chatbots.

Keen social media users may have already noticed how automated things like customer support have become. Have an issue on Twitter? Your first port of call will likely involve talking to a chatbot.

Chatbots are a great ideal, and as they become more sophisticated we can expect to see them in more B2B applications. The ability to mimic a real human being in conversation, and furnish the consumer with the most appropriate answers to any questions they may have, will ensure the continued growth of chatbots next year.

Why people like chatbots (source)

Predicted uses for chatbots

[5] Farewell, Google+? [INCORRECT]

We said: It’s been 5 years since the initial launch, but the platform hasn’t evolved or seen the usage Google had hoped for. We haven’t seen that ‘killer’ feature yet.

While many have written off Google+, there still seems to be some life left in the social channel. These stats highlight a significant number of users and positive behavioural patterns:

  • total number of Google+ active members: 395,250,000
  • total number of unique Google+ monthly visits: 34,000,000
  • average time spent on Google+ per visit: 3:57
  • percent of online adults that visit Google+ at least once a month: 22.4%
  • percent of smartphone users that use the Google+ app at least once a month: 30%

We always recommend schools get started on Google+, if for no other reason than it can help push your school higher up in Google searches!

[6] Ads for Snapchat [CORRECT]

We said: With a valuation of $25 billion, and the rumours of its looming IPO, it’s time for Snapchat to make some serious cash.

And they are! There are currently three types of Snapchat Ads: 

  • Snap Ads: a 10-second video (max) ad that includes the option to provide more information to users who swipe up.
  • Sponsored Lenses: from puppy dog ears to rainbow vomit, Lenses are a big part of what makes Snapchat so fun. And one-third of Snapchat’s daily users play with Lenses every day. Now brands can create Sponsored Lenses, which show up alongside all the other Lenses in the menu.
  • Geofilters: graphic overlays that are placed on Snaps. Usually tied to a specific geographic location, ranging from individual store to an entire country.

We expect more will be coming from Snapchat, especially as the exciting world of augmented reality develops.

[7] Voice OS [CORRECT]

We said: We’ll start to see the growth of the ‘Voice OS’.

What started out with Siri on the Apple iPhone has now become a staple of most households.

In the build up to Xmas, we have seen wearable tech and smart home devices sales skyrocket, highlighting consumer faith in Voice OS.

It will be interesting to see how top competitors (Amazon with Alexa, Apple with Siri, Microsoft with Cortana and Google with Home) will continue to innovate their virtual assistants. Expect this to remain a big tech trend as AI development remains a major ideal in tech.

[8] 360 Tours [CORRECT]

We said: This is the year of 360. More schools will be recording 360 videos, and offering 360 tours of the school. 

With the push in VR tech, 360 video tours are starting to become a "must-have" for schools. While the tech is still relatively new, we foresee this becoming an important marketing tool for schools during 2018.

Take a look at NLCS Jeju's Virtual Tour, to see just how great a 360 tour can be (now compatible with VR headsets, for that extra-level experience). Or perhaps try taking a virtual tour around one of The British School in the Netherland's four campuses. 

 

Next week, we will be sending out our predictions for 2018. Let's make this an amazing year for #edtech, social media and digital marketing.

Get ready for #SocialAdvent 2017 🎅🎄

Welcome-to-#SocialAdvent-1200.jpg

Each year, schools all around the world share their inspiring #SchoolStories throughout December. Each day there's a new challenge to tackle and share with your community. We call it #SocialAdvent.

Will you be taking part?

The #SocialAdvent Challenge 2017

December has been a firm favourite at @intSchools HQ over past years. We put lots of time into making this challenge as fun as possible for schools wanting to get involved.

This year we are looking to make our fourth #SocialAdvent challenge the greatest one yet, with a record number of participants across a global audience. To make it extra special, our creative elves have been hard at work - coming up and designing a bigger, better and refreshed #SocialAdvent to spread festive marketing cheer throughout December. 

Get involved!

Download the #SocialAdvent Calendar using the links below. We have created two versions for you:

  • poster - download and stick onto your wall 
  • foldable desk calendar - download, fold in half and keep on your desk

What do I do?

The rules are simple. Each day we will ask you to do a festive challenge using social media. This could be posting your favourite Christmas joke or creating a time lapse video. Everything is shared across social media using the #SocialAdvent hashtag. At the end of each day, on Twitter, we'll pick a winner. 

Use the links above to print off a full-size version of the #SocialAdvent calendar. Time to start planning each day 😉

What do I win?

Pride. Glory. Your school's immortalisation behind a #SocialAdvent window. Everything you could ever want!

What happened in previous years?

Need some inspiration? Want to know which schools won a challenge? Take a look at some of the amazing content we saw for #SocialAdvent 2016

The reach of this challenge has increased year-on-year. In the past four years, we have seen:

  • over 80 schools from 14 different countries taking part
  • over 3 million people have been reached from all accounts taking part

It was fantastic to see different social media channels being employed for #SocialAdvent. While Twitter was (and still is) the primary platform being used to share content, we saw fantastic stuff going out on Instagram and Facebook.

REMEMBER to use #SocialAdvent for every post so we can see what you are publishing 👍

Let's make this the best #SocialAdvent yet! We'll see you Dec 1st 👍

How to: LIVE stream school events

Live streaming builds out that know, like, and trust factor at an super-accelerated rate.
— Kim Garst, founder & CEO of Boom! Social

What is live streaming?

Most school marketers will be aware of live streaming, but many will not have tried it. Live streaming is a service that allows you to broadcast live feeds via social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

In the big, wide world, live streams are used to promote all sorts of things. Platforms like Twitch, allow video gamers to live stream themselves playing a game (this is a HUGELY popular feature on YouTube at the moment). Large sporting events can live stream games, adding more viewers to an event (and negating the need for a TV). The recent American election was largely broadcast to the world using live streaming.

You can even watch a stream of a fish in its tank!

Where can I live stream?

There is a growing number of streaming services but the important ones for your school to take note of are:

  • Twitter: Periscope is Twitter's platform for broadcasting a live stream. We love Periscope, as it offers an instant method to share top #SchoolStories with your community. Gain more engagement by promoting your broadcast before it goes live. Follow Periscope's latest news, tips and features blog, to stay ahead with the platform.
  • Facebook: with Facebook LIVE you have all the power of live streaming with the sheer reach offered by social media leader, Facebook. Feel inspired by these past Live videos, and see how people have been connecting with their followers.
  • Instagram: users now have the ability to add live streams to give their Instagram Stories extra clout. This has proven an incredibly popular feature for Instagram. Live streams will disappear 

The three above are the most notable for your school, as each can be implemented into your marketing strategy effectively. Below are a few more worth noting (but less inclined towards school marketing efforts).

  • YouTube: the video-centric platform has taken to live video streams as naturally as a fish does to water (which you can watch live on YouTube - above!) There are some current stipulations to being able to broadcast on YouTube Live (such as 10,000+ subscribers), making this a harder channel for schools to obtain. Check the YouTube Live channel for a real smorgasbord of live streams.
  • Twitch: the world’s leading social video platform for video game culture. Twitch is incredibly popular with the gaming community and younger people, with new consoles having their own Twitch services so anyone can broadcast their gaming to the world. Not a huge platform for schools to use, but a big one to know about!

Spectacular streaming statistics:

How to broadcast on multiple platforms (at the same time!)

For users of live streaming services, a common question is which one should I be using? This is not an easy one to answer as different services will reach a different area of your community.

The best answer then is: all of them! 

For schools interesting in broadcasting multiple live #SchoolStories to the world, you will need to use tools to help you achieve this. There is a growing number of companies who can offer this service, with varying costs. 

This livestreaming guide offers some great options which cover Facebook, YouTube and Twitter (Periscope). 

Reaching your audience

Understanding the pros and cons of each channel is the first step to effectively reaching your audiences. Twitter and Facebook will offer different demographics, as well as different degrees of reach. 

Be sure to promote upcoming broadcasts to your community. Kings Bruton have done an excellent job of this by having a dedicated page for their live streams.

The beauty of this is you can embed live streams onto your website. This means people can access your broadcasts without needing Facebook or Periscope, adding even more reach! 

Live streaming is a fantastic way to reach and engage with your community. Research is proving that engagement levels are higher with live streams over conventional video content.

For schools, it is a top way to get parents more involved in their child's education. For busy parents - who perhaps can't make sports day or a drama production - offering a live stream can be just the answer!

We can see true value in live streams but as we all know, the proof is in the pudding! Give it a go and see what comes from it. We are here to help too! Contact us and let us show you how amazing social media can be for schools. 

As always, please do leave comments below - lets get a discussion going on schools live streaming.

How to: Create and edit a school video on your smartphone

Creating videos for your school marketing does not need to be complicated or expensive. No need to hire Spielberg or rent out a £100,000 camera to capture your #SchoolStories.

Instead, make use of the tools that are readily available - you likely have a decent camera and full editing suite sitting in your pocket or handbag right now.

Being mobile

A large part of what we deliver to schools is this idea of capturing #SchoolStories as they happen. How? By using mobile devices (i.e. smart phones and tablets).

It gives the user the easiest method of recording a quick video - or montage of pictures, or audio bite or whatever it may be - without having to lug around additional equipment. It allows for spontaneity and mobility. 

Recording a video

Every modern smart phone will have a native camera app that allows for video recording. There are, of course, hundreds of other apps that can be downloaded / purchased, but try using the native one first to get a feel for it.

The goal to begin with is to understand basic principles of good film making:

  • Lighting - knowing what is good and bad lighting can have a huge impact. Try to shoot your video in brightly lit areas. This will help avoid unnecessary shadows and grainy areas in your video. On the flip side, you should be careful not to point the camera directly at bright light sources, as it will cause overexposed footage and lens flaring.

  • Keep it steady - if you don’t want your video footage to come out distorted or blurred, try to keep your phone steady while recording. Use both hands to hold your smartphone as close as possible to your body as you record the video. Alternatively, invest in additional gear such as stabilisers and tripods.

  • Audio - a good video with poor audio quality is not good (unless you plan to add an overlaying track during editing). To help mitigate poor audio be mindful of background noise and wind conditions (if outside). 

  • Stay close to the subject - staying physically closer to your subject ensures better image quality, less digital noise and better focus in your videos.

  • Shoot horizontally - do not shoot vertical video! A common mistake when recording video on smart phones is the phone vertically (up and down rather than sideways). Hold your phone horizontally so that videos played back on other screens will look fine.

Editing a video

Now you have shot something, you can make use of a plethora of mobile apps to edit it.

The sun shines on the Class of 2016 as they celebrate their last official day of school! #goodluckgirls #wewillmissyou

A post shared by North London Collegiate School (@nlcs1850) on

There are a lot to pick from so here are 4 top apps:

  • iMovie (iOS) - this is the gold standard, go-to video app for Apple users. It is a versatile and powerful application (plus it comes in a desktop version for added options). Add visual effects, on-screen text, and include music.
  • Splice (iOS) - this editor (owned by GoPro) offers separate tracks for video and audio to help create more complex videos. Add on-screen text, voice narration, and animations.
  • Magisto (iOS / Android) - uses artificial intelligence to automatically create an edited video for you. It also adds visual themes and music.
  • Adobe Premiere Clip (iOS / Android) - allows you to create simple social media-bound movies. Requires Adobe ID to be used, but links nicely to other Adobe products.

There is no one guide for these - everything will require a little practice and patience at first. Alternatively, try asking pupils to have a go at editing your video (and be amazed at how quickly they pick it up!)

Video options

Feeling a little more brave? How about trying a few different video styles to add spice to the content you are creating? Here are a few of our favourite:

  • Slow motion - record in slow motion! Great for capturing beauty that is hard to spot with the naked eye.
  • Time lapse - the opposite of slow motion, play videos at a much faster rate. Perfect for capturing the turning of time - perhaps the sun's path across the sky or a full day at school in a few minutes. Give it a go.
  • Hyper lapse - similar to time lapse with the exception of allowing the camera itself to move (time lapse the camera is generally static; hyper lapse the camera moves).
  • Boomerang - takes a burst of photos and stitches them together into a high-quality mini video that plays forward and backward. Great fun.

Sharing your video

We often get asked about the implications of low-quality video content - so, knowing the right place to share your video is important as part of your marketing.

In general, if the video has been shot on a smart phone the quality is unlikely to be spectacular. But this does not mean it should not be shared!

The point is, your school community (i.e. your parents, teachers, prospectives and pupils) will be invested in this content because it is part of your school culture. Share these #SchoolStories on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. We promise the content itself will outweigh concerns over video quality.

For the more "professional" standard videos, use channels like YouTube or Vimeo. You can then share these clips as URL's on Twitter and Facebook. 👍

 

We hope you have enjoyed this quick guide to recording, editing and sharing your #SchoolStories in video format. We'd love to hear about what you think about this topic - please comment below. 

    Digital Storyteller: Job specification

    You’ll remember we previously wrote a blog post about what a Digital Storyteller (DS) is and why your school should hire one. Many of you got in touch to ask what the person who could fulfil this role looks like; to understand what their skills, qualities and background might be.

    Well you asked, so we answered! Behold...the Digital Storyteller.

     

    JOB SPECIFICATION

    Digital Storyteller

     

    Department: Marketing and Communications

    Reporting to: Marketing Manager

    Level/Grade: Dependent on experience

    Type of Position: Online Marketing/Communications

    Hours per Week: Dependent on school

    Weekends/Evening: Dependent on school

    Salary: Dependent on experience

     

    Job Summary:

    Talented individual required to promote school brand and identity to our community of parents, pupils, prospectives and wider audiences. Should have exceptional understanding of social media, to build relationships and deliver the school's unique tone of voice across multiple channels. Ability to spot and produce quality content, to marry to relevant social media channels, is highly desirable.

    Top candidates will be influencers; bringing staff, pupils and current parents on-board to achieve marketing objectives. Workload will be high and varied, so you must be able to multitask across various projects.

    Role Responsibilities:

    • Ensure content shared on digital channels is optimised to achieve marketing objectives

    • Generate ideas for content and marketing campaigns

    • Write and produce quality content, taking into account conventions and limitations of social media platforms

    • Manage and respond to negative feedback on social media

    • Liaise with external individuals - in person and online (not students, parents or teachers)

    • Use content creation and editing software (such as iMovie and Adobe Photoshop/InDesign) to create quality content

    • Use school CMS to create pages and publish content

    • Liaise with Graphic Design department to produce marketing collateral

    • Collect and collate feedback into actionable points

    • Track analytics to measure effectiveness and efficiency of digital marketing campaigns

    Personal Specification

    Qualifications and Experience:

    • An understanding of conventions and purposes of specific marketing processes and methods

    • An understanding of the conventions and ‘best practice’ of specific social media platforms

    • Broad understanding of social and digital media

    • Experience of using scheduling tools (including HootSuite, TweetDeck, Buffer and SproutSocial)

    • Intimate knowledge and understanding of SEO and Analytics 

    • Experience of using Content Management Systems (CMS)

    • Video production/editing

    • Desire to continually evolve personal understanding of marketing and social media trends

    • Ability to write basic HTML

    • Should have portfolio relevant activities

    Capabilities and Aptitudes:

    • Digital media / social media savvy

    • Social media user

    • Creative

    • Versatile, flexible and dynamic attitude

    • Someone who is able to remain abreast of key marketing and social media trends

    • Someone who loves telling stories in a multitude of ways (NOT just pen and paper)

    • Personable and outgoing

    • Strong interpersonal skills

    • Uses initiative, works autonomously

    • Can collaborate well with others

    • Influencer

    • Organised and able to juggle varied workload

     

    The kind of person you are looking to hire will depend more on you as a school and your expectations of the role than it will any other factor. There are questions to answer and variables to consider. By taking the time to answer these questions, you are half way to emplying your school’s ideal Digital Storyteller.  

    The role of the DS centres around the telling of your #SchoolStories, using a wide range of digital media and content that can be published across your school's social platforms. This content can be used to increase brand awareness of your school and aid in humanising your brand to prospective pupils and parents.

    The scope of hiring a DS for your school can only really be viewed as a grey process, rather than one that is black or white. There is no "one size fits all" job specification, but by carefully considering what it is you want from your DS you will soon be able to flesh out what qualities, attributes and experiences are important to you and to the person you wish to hire. 

    The good news is, it won’t take long to know if you have hired the right person for the job! At @intSchools, we know how rich the lives of your students and your school are; so it goes without saying that the person who is right for the job is the person who will share your amazing and inspiring #SchoolStories to the world.