Does your school have a Twitter account or Facebook Page? If the answer is yes, that's great! The demands of modern times require modern solutions - social media is one answer to the ever-growing demands of school marketing.
But how far does your presence on social media go? How about a school YouTube account for sharing all your awesome video content? What about Instagram and Flickr - two places to host photos and images? No? What about SoundCloud for audio? Issuu for publications? Pinterest for inspiration?
All of these channels offer something new to your school's marketing - and should all be considered important tools to make use of.
Knowing how to use them is important - of course! But being able to see how they can fit into your school, which departments and subjects they can be applied to, and understanding that their limitations are often your own is essential if you want to ✨STAND OUT✨ with your marketing.
YouTube: the place for video!
Twitter and Facebook are both very capable of hosting video content, but there are significant limitations. Did you know, for example, that videos directly uploaded to Twitter cannot exceed 140 seconds?
YouTube is hands down that best place to primarily host all of your school's video content, before disseminating across your other platforms (as simple as sharing a URL).
Performing arts: drama and music both have a very comfortable home on YouTube. In fact, YouTube is regarded as the top music streaming service - topping actual dedicated music streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music!
Make use of YouTube for school concerts and shows - it will be greatly appreciated by those parents who were unable to attend the live performance.
Sports: Similarly, your sports departments can make great use of YouTube for the same reasons as above. Sports Day is a huge event for many schools so create a Playlist of all the events recorded that day. Parents will know which event their kid was in, and truly appreciate being able to watch them take part over and over.
Science: the amazing world of science is a YouTube favourite. Remember those experiments where your chemistry teacher burns a Jelly Baby to produce a spectacular display of flames? Share this with your community - it is fun to watch and good to know that's what the kids are getting to see first-hand.
The Head: oh yes! Your Head is your champion and should be hitting those digital waves for your community to see. YouTube has many possible ways for your head to engage. How about a series of vlogs delivered by your head, or upload the recordings from live-stream Q&A sessions?
And don't forget to set up PLAYLISTS. Take a look at how the British School of the Netherlands have organised their videos by using playlists.
Flickr & Instagram: photo galleries and filtered pics
In the same way YouTube is for video, Flickr and Instagram are awesome social tools for photos.
Flickr's strength lies in its detail to photography - offering unrivalled specs for image, a full suite of editing tools and a handy tagging system, which allows you to specify variables such as camera, lens, shutter speed, focal length and more.
For all of Flickr's detail to attention, Instagram's appeal is in its simplicity. The process of taking a picture on your phone, choosing a filter, writing a description and uploading to your profile can take less than 30 seconds.
Flickr can do everything that Instagram can, plus more. So why consider both? The answer is simple - Instagram is by far more popular with younger users and a more engaging platform for your community.
Photography: the obvious answer is of course photography. For aspiring photographers Flickr is superior, combining on-the-go snapping (with Smart Phones) with a platform you can upload images en masse from your camera. Instagram however remains a favourite with teens and most likely your community.
Visual arts: sharing arty content is nice and easy with Flickr and Instagram.
Sports: Sport is a visual game - videos and photos taken from games and events will always have greater impact over non-visual content.
Trips: in very much the same way as sports, your trips department will receive far more engagement if they post lots of pics from all the amazing places your pupils visit.
You can use these channels effectively in any department really! Just remember: visual content is key - if you want to market your school effectively the simple reality is you will need some great images and videos.
SoundCloud: the place for audio!
We've done video and we've done images. So what about an often understated (and arguably far more traditional) marketing tool - audio? SoundCloud is a social network that deals entirely in audio, making it yet another great tool for schools.
Music: no prizes for this one! All music departments should have a SoundCloud profile so they can share all the amazing things their pupils are doing. Whether they are solo performances, bands, choirs, ensembles, duets, quartets or orchestras - SoundCloud is a perfect social network to share these on.
We've seen some interesting subjects shared on SoundCloud.
Drama: can be an effective subject for SoundCloud - what level of expression can be put into a dramatic performance when the visual is removed?
Modern Foreign Languages: being a subject that heavily involves speaking as part of its foundation, MFL is a great one for SoundCloud - particularly when it comes down to assessment work.
Media: check out Alleyn Court Prep School's SoundCloud page - they have been uploading their recordings taken from their pupil-run radio station.
Pinterest: a channel for expression
Pinterest can be an odd one for schools to get grips with. In essence it is a platform for sharing and collaborating on pretty much anything visual. We consider Pinterest to be less marketing focussed but a super tool for teachers and pupils alike.
Users create boards - blank canvases that are populated with Pinned images. This can lead it to be a super teaching aid - allowing teachers to collect helpful material for teaching and pupils inspiration for learning.
Our past blog covers the creative arts on Pinterest - be sure to read it for more on Pinterest and its usefulness in the classroom.
Creative arts: Pinterest holds a special place in learning because of its ability to inspire. Whether it is Picasso-inspired works, minimalism, street art, architecture, clay moulding, airbrushing, hand painting, totem pole whittling, or whatever - Pinterest can offer new ideas to explore.
In fact, any subject can find inspiration on Pinterest! What about:
- haikus for English Lit
- rock formations for geography
- vintage photos for history
- dinosaur bones for science?
Design & Tech / Crafts: in very much the same vein as creative arts, Pinterest can inspire D&T lessons and the crafts.
As a final point about Pinterest, why not make boards that promote your school? Collect images from sporting events, open days, the seasons as seen at your school, objects that are in your school colours and so on. The idea is to give a good visual representation of how you want your school to be seen and the spirit it entails.
Issuu: paper-free publications
Issuu is for publications. It is a platform for files such as PDF's - allowing users to flick through pages with a click. More often than not, Issuu becomes a school's archive for all their newsletters.
In using Issuu schools are cutting down costs by reducing the need to print on paper.
Users can categorise their content into Stacks. For example, you may have a Stack that collects all of your newsletters from 2017 or perhaps a Stack dedicated to annually released publications.
Media: media is a typically good place to start. Does your school have a magazine - perhaps even a pupil run publication? Upload it to Issuu so you can effectively share it with the world.
English: school newsletters and magazines take the front-seat on Issuu, but there are some great ideas you can use it for. We've seen schools use Issuu to share digital copies of their pupil's literature - collecting poem, short stories, essays and writing into annual publications.
Issuu can also be a good space to upload all the reports and policy documents that often get buried within your website. By creating a Stack or two you can share everything you need for inspections and the like, simply by sending a few URL's.
What about you?
As you can see there are various social channels to make effective use of in all walks of your school. By using these channels in creative ways you are reaching your community and beyond.
Which channels do you departments use? How are your teachers and pupils using social media?
Let us know in the comments.