#BackToSchool Marketing Checklist 2018

The doors are once more open! Pupils and staff, old and new, are filing back in. Classes, which stood so eerily quiet only a few weeks ago, are open again for business. Yes! Welcome #BackToSchool. πŸ™ŒπŸ™ŒπŸ™Œ

So, as the education machine rolls into action once more, you are likely facing a giant - and still growing - list of tasks. But do not fear! We are here to help out.

Let’s get straight into in then, with the @intSchools #BackToSchool Marketing Checklist for 2018-19. πŸ’ͺ

What marketing trends should I be looking at?

The realms (and channels) for marketing are changing at an incredible rate. To stay ahead, schools and their marketing teams need to adapt too.

Social media is constantly evolving. What worked well last year may prove to be less impactful this year. Here are the marketing trends you should be making a note of this academic year:

  • Voice OS:

    • Test your school on voice search

    • Does Alexa, Google, Siri know your school?

    • Can you ask "Alexa, what time does the school concert start tonight?". If not, find out how we can build an Alexa Skills App for your school - email alexa@interactiveschools.com.

  • Virtual / Augmented Reality:

  • ChatBots:

    • Have you thought about utilising ChatBots to help your community find answers on your website / parent portal / apps / social media?

  • Google Analytics:

    • Do you track goals / conversions from your website?

    • Do you have a dashboard set up to monitor key metrics and visitor behaviours? Do you receive these reports weekly?

    • If no, how can you best understand your audience and refine marketing and site content appropriately?

Website and parent comms

Knowing which trends are hitting the sweet spots in marketing right now is essential. But what about the more constant areas, such as your school website and parent comms (i.e. your email newsletter)? Be sure to consider each of these carefully, to make the most of them.

  • Website / Creative:

    • Is your website truly ✨stand out✨ and reflect your school?

    • Visit your school website 'for the first time' and imagine you are a prospective parent - maybe even ask a friend!

    • What emotions do you feel when viewing your current creative campaigns?

    • Is your site speed 'excellent'? Test on Google Speed Test.

    • We are showcasing our incredible portfolio every day on Twitter - #WebsiteShowcase. Take a look. We can deliver this for you.

  • Email newsletter:

    • Does your weekly parent newsletter takes longer than 5 minutes to put together? If not, speak to our team ;-)

  • Review your Google Search:

    • Have you reviewed your search engine results page (SERP) on Google? What links comes up?

    • Does your school have a 'Knowledge Panel'?

    • Correct logo?

    • Social icons displaying?

    • Review your presence on Mumsnet and other forums/directories

    • Do you control most of the first page? E.g. are the links mostly 'owned media' - your website, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter etc.

    • Learn more about Search Engine Results Pages (and how to influence them).

The #BackToSchool Strategy

How about the big part… the strategy that leads all this?! This is the most important part to implement and maintain.

It will undoubtedly change as the year goes on - meeting the demands and changes of your school - so we have 5 Interactive Schools inspired actions to take, that really kick off the new year:

1. Does your marketing STAND OUT? What will make you different from your competitors? Social is BIG! You can't afford to be a needle in the haystack. To have impact, you need to have emotional impact on every stakeholder: parents, pupils, prospective families, teachers (plus future staff!), alumni, and the wider community. 

2. Does your social naming match throughout? Your social handle is your new .com domain - it’s how people will find you, and what you will display on your advertising. This becomes a direct representation of your brand on social media. Have a consistent name across every channel.

3. Do you have a content strategy framework ready to use at your school? This should cover all the details such as:

  • what to post

  • when to post

  • who posts

  • where it is posted

  • ratio of school-related posts to non-school-related posts

  • who oversees the profiles.

If you don't have one then make sure you define one. This will essentially be a one-stop guide for you to refer to when considering the coming social media marketing plan.

We can also help with this! We offer social media training to at both a marketing and school-wide level - how about inviting us in for an INSET or school training day?

4. Is your process to communicate with parents streamlined? This isn't just about responding to queries raised by parents on social media. It is about how you get information to them. Take your school email newsletter. Does it take ages to put the newsletter together? Do you use analytics to determine the impact of your newsletter? Do parents even read the newsletter, or does it go straight through to spam? All a parent is interested in is a mention of THEIR child - how can you deliver these personalised stories?

5. Do you have an audit process in place to make sure content is only published once? Nothing looks more unprofessional than duplicated content. We often see schools link their different social platforms (such as Facebook and Twitter, or Facebook and Instagram). While this does save time it does take away social authority. People don't want to see the same stuff, they want to be engaged with lots of different media!

Need more help? Speak to our team

We hope that this guide has aided you in your #BackToSchool preparations. We'll be keeping our ear to the ground for all your #SchoolStories.

We'd love to hear from you, please leave comments or thoughts about social media marketing and this article below.