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10 proven tips to help you to boost social media engagement without adjusting school ad spend

Posted by Brock Ashton

10 proven tips to help you boost social media engagement without increasing your Facebook advertising spendIt’s the start of a new year, and most school marketers are looking at marketing strategies and goals for 2017. I know I am. A common goal for marketing managers is to increase their school’s social media reach and engagement. However, the saturation of paid advertising is making it difficult for schools to increase their organic social media engagement.

This upward trend means that a lot of schools are increasing their social media advertising budget to try and stay visible. But what if this isn’t an option for you?

To help boost your social media engagement without increasing your advertising budget, we put together a list of proven tips that can increase engagement – all of which can be done without increasing advertising spend.

The importance of social media
For a lot of schools, social media has become a major, if not the dominant, source of web traffic. With the rise in paid promotion on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, it was inevitable that our social connections would lead to increased web traffic.

This growth in paid posts has led to over 1,500 posts competing daily for attention in their audience’s newsfeed.

Facebook reacted to this trend by changing its organic post algorithm, so that only quality, relevant content is visible in newsfeeds, and posts it considers overly promotional are kept hidden.

Navigating this algorithm change
To understand how to boost engagement, it first helps to understand how Facebook’s algorithm works. In a nutshell, the algorithm takes into account over 100,000 highly personalised factors when deciding what to show each user. When deciding if a post will be visible it looks at how the post is performing, how posts from your page have performed previously, what type of content the post is (photo, video, status) and how recent it is.

All these factors combine to tell Facebook if it should put your content in your prospective parent’s newsfeed.

So what does this mean as a school marketer when you are trying to increase customer engagement through social media?

10 Proven tips to boost engagement

  1. Paid promotion works to boost reach – I know I said these tips can be done without increasing advertising spending. But paid promotion works, at least for increasing your social media reach.

  2. Be social – Don’t just post your latest blogs and updates, post school photos or videos that tell your school’s story. Facebook loves this content and is happy to show it to your followers.

  3. Follow the 4-1-1 rule – this rule states that you should post four educational or entertaining posts for one soft promotion (such as an event invite) and one hard promotion (such as a free trial). Basically, stop over-promoting yourself and begin to post content that helps the audience.

  4. Publish evergreen content – evergreen content is content that has no expiry date – it’s timeless and is relevant throughout the year.

  5. Republish top performing content – a simple tip, but very effective. If a post has performed well previously, repost it. Facebook will recognise its relevance to users and is likely to show it to them again. Be careful though – reposting everything can look like spam.

  6. Create an invite-only group – as humans, we love to feel like we belong. Facebook groups are a great way to increase engagement by promoting to users who are already brand advocates, but the group provides a new level of interactivity. By posting content to engaged users, you are looking to start a conversation, so be prepared to get involved through comments.

  7. Use organic post targeting – you can serve your content to users based on a number of demographics, in the same way you would with Facebook Ads. To do this, click on the ‘target’ icon next to the map pin when you create a post. It’s a simple but effective way to ensure your post is seen by your audience who are most likely to engage with you.

  8. Post native video – native video is content that is uploaded directly to your social media account. Native video has much better reach, and is also more likely to get users engaged in a conversation.

  9. Post standalone content – standalone content is when you post a message, image, or video with no backlinks to your website. This content works best when it is educational and doesn’t necessarily reference your brand. It could be a motivational message, something creative or clever, or simply humorous.

  10. Be in the moment – the rising trend for live video should tell you all you need to know about social media engagement – users want to see the unscripted side of your school. Live video gives you a chance to interact in real time with your audience through comments they leave on your video, which you see as they are posted. It’s a simple way to increase engagement, and Facebook is giving live video high visibility in newsfeeds.

So before you go and spend another dollar on executing your social media strategy, look at these tips to see which ones you can implement today. For more advice on how to market your school, check out our social media tuneup ebook:

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This blog was written by Brock Ashton

When he isn't writing blogs or providing marketing communications support to clients, Brock spends his time reading fiction novels or chasing oval shaped footballs around a paddock. You may occasionally find him in your local Japanese restaurant, fuelling his passion for unique cuisine and culture.


Topics: Education, Social media, imageseven, Communication, Online marketing, Social media management, Marcom, Social media marketing, School marketing strategy, School marketing