Earlier this month we talked about best practices for building your school’s community. Today we’re going to focus on ways you can use social media to enhance these efforts. Since community is about relationships and connections, social media is an invaluable tool for nurturing those friendships made in your classes.
General Community Building Strategies
1. Get followers
This sounds obvious, but it’s the first step. Add social buttons to your website, put a flyer in your welcome packet, run a reminder in your newsletters and hang “let’s get social” signs around your school.
2. Share photos or videos
When it comes to engagement on social media, videos are best, and photos come in a close second. Try to use both liberally by posting about things happening in and around your school.
3. Encourage comments and interaction
Start by actively posting and commenting, and your students will follow your lead. If you feel engagement is low, ask a question, post funny content or conduct a poll. It will take a little time for your students and followers to feel comfortable being active in your online community, but once they do, you’ll see the benefits.
4. Crowdsource content
Repost or share the content your students post. They will be happy you’re interested in things that are important to them, so they will return the favor by being engaged with your content too.
5. Be consistent
It doesn’t take a lot of work to maintain your community, but it does take consistency. Sitting down to work on social media once a week doesn’t cut it. Instead, try and dedicate 10-15 minutes a day to posting, sharing and commenting to keep your community active and engaged.
Facebook Specific Strategies
6. Create a private group
Create a group and invite your students to join it. Posts in private groups are never filtered with an algorithm, so every post is visible. Once students join your group, they’ll realize it’s a safe way to connect with each other, and they’ll soon begin to post their own updates in the group.
To get the ball rolling, post school updates, wish your students a happy birthday, congratulate them on their successes and share pictures and videos from classes. Be sure to be active in the group by replying to your students’ comments, pictures and posts.
If you’re worried that this is double the work- maintaining a business page and a private group- we assure you it’s not. Most of the things you post can be posted in both places, but you’ll get more much engagement and activity off the posts in your private group. Plus, private group are far more effective for building community, as opposed to generating leads.
7. Use Facebook Events
Facebook events are great because they help you publicize your event. You can share the event with your entire network, personally invite people and share the event inside a private group. You can also pay to promote the event, just like you pay to boost a basic post.
Every time someone RSVPs or checks the “interested” box for a Facebook event, that event shows up in their friends’ news feeds. So people across your city will likely see one of your students is going to your event. They will also know the name of the event, as well as the time and location of the event.
8. Ask for photo tags
Ask students to tag each other (and your school) in your pictures and videos. This makes the images and videos visible to a wider audience, so more of your students will interact with the posts. Facebook doesn’t allow business pages to tag followers, but you can use your personal profile to tag students, and we encourage doing that.
Instagram Specific Strategies
9. Use identifiable hashtags
Choose one or two hashtags that represent your school and philosophy, and use them all the time. Encourage your students to also use them when they post about your school.
10. Tag students
Tag your students in pictures, videos and posts. (Unlike with Facebook, business accounts can tag individuals)
11. Check out the Repost App
Earlier we suggested crowdsourcing some of your content, and it doesn’t get easier on Instagram that by using the Repost App.
When it comes to building a school community, you can’t beat the power of social media. Get your copy of our free 10-Step Marketing Guide for Martial Arts Schools for more social media tips.