A school's #OpenDay is perhaps one of the most important days in the calendar. It is THE best way to truly sell your school to prospective parents and children, providing them with a more informed feel for your school.
Getting news out about your upcoming Open Day then is of import. As experts in the marketing industry we know a few things that could help out. So read on and enjoy the @intSchools guide to the Promoting your #OpenDay online.
Deciding which platform to use is always a good start, especially if you have different types of content.
Don't restrict yourself to promoting your event on just one outlet - there are plenty of social media channels to consider to reach different audiences (i.e. parents and pupils, if you are a senior school).
- Facebook: create event pages to actively send out to your followers. This makes it easy to update events, engage with your community. As an added bonus, you can target your messaging to specific groups with Facebook Ads. Your target audience on Facebook is likely to be parents, aged 25+
- Twitter: use posts and an event #hashtag to help build excitement before and during the event. Use sub-accounts (internal school accounts) to promote this across your whole school. Your target audience on Twitter is likely to be parents, aged 25+
- Instagram: A highly visual, image-led channel that will have more appeal with younger audiences, 25 and under. Use great photography for maximum impact
- LinkedIn: great for B2B and industry networking. LinkedIn is a good choice for company news and event announcements - though it may not have the same level of community reach as the above channels
- Snapchat: highly appealing to younger audiences, this would be a great channel to explore if your are targeting teens (perhaps for sixth form)
Use an event hashtag to raise awareness
Coming up with a event hashtag can be highly impactful. It should be short, unique to your school and easy to understand / remember.
A simple idea to get started can be something like:
- #SchoolNameOpenDay (i.e. #intSchoolsOpenDay)
- #SchoolAcronymOpenDay (i.e. #ISOpenDay)
Once your hashtag is chosen - stick with it! Being consistent will have the greater effect.
During the Open Day, make sure your hashtag is visible at your event so your guests know to use it themselves. It is a great way to get parents and pupils more involved with the day, and will be ultimately more memorable.
The art of content
Good content will mean better engagement - which in turn will determine how many potential event-goers see your promotions.
You will need to consider what type of content (remember the golden rule: visual content is king) and how often you are promoting your Open Day event daily / weekly.
Space out promotions among other content to keep your social looking more fresh - no one wants to see the same thing over and over again! Content should be engaging, and conversational. Also to keep in mind:
- Tailor content for each social network: Twitter is short and sweet, and easy-to-digest. Facebook and LinkedIn have more capacity for long-form. Understanding the platform and typical user demographics should help drive relevant content per outlet
- Incorporate images in your post: image and video-driven posts are more engaging than plain copy - ALWAYS! Use a mix of professional and light / humorous posts to reach more people. Follow the mantra of "is there value?" to decide if a post is likely to work or not
Use tools to help streamline the process
Scheduling tools in particular are one way to help streamline your Open Day campaign. Once you have content ready, with hashtags and body content defined, you can use scheduling platforms to help get everything set up ahead.
The last thing you want to do is have to find time to send posts everyday among the rest of your day-to-day tasks.
Get everything ready, safe in the knowledge that everything will be posted out for you, and spend your time on other tasks.
Making the most of social
Knowing all the latest trends and helpful tools across your social channels can often be a challenge. Here are a few ideas to help you really stand out on social media:
Social advertising on Facebook
On average, only about 2-6% of your Facebook followers will see posts you make on your event page. Use advertising to make the most of your promotions.
Be sure to include:
- an eye-catching image or video
- short and sweet post text
- an even shorter but highly engaging headline
- a direct call to action (i.e., Buy Tickets)
- an accurate link description (i.e. Click here to buy tickets)
Snapchat is a big channel right now for a very specific demographic: 13-18 year olds. As a senior school you will know how important it is to have potential pupils invested in you, just as much as parent investment!
With Snapchat, you can create and submit Community Geofilters - filters that are available over a specific geographic region. This means that you can specify your school area and have your own filter to raise awareness of your school for all users in the region.
LIVE-stream your Open Day
Last year's big digital marketing trends saw LIVE-streaming become much more popular. We anticipate this will continue in 2018 onwards.
You don’t have to broadcast the entire day to make an impact. Use short, live clips and focus on key parts of the day or other ideas you may have (how about some behind the scenes footage or interviews with key staff?). Why LIVE-stream?
- LIVE video is extremely engaging
- LIVE video grows attendance
- LIVE video is cost effective
However you choose to promote your Open Day online, we hope this post helps define and inspire a few new ideas. Social media is constantly changing, so the best bet is to try and stay ahead, and best utilise those channels that have the largest impact.
We hope that these tips will have a positive effect on the promotion of your Open Days. If you have any thoughts on the above or would like to share your own experiences (positive or negative) we'd love to hear about them. Please add your comments below.