School Testimonials – How to Build Social Proof

School Testimonials – How to Build Social Proof

In today’s article, I will be discussing social proof. When parents are on the fence about choosing your school for their child, school testimonials are one of the most impactful ways to give your school an edge over the competition and help ease the mind of parents making their decision.

Any ideas that I missed? What works well for your school? Remember to join the discussion in the  Marketing Mastery For Schools Facebook Group.

School Testimonials - How to Build Social Proof

by Mara Roberts

 

Show Transcript

Hi everyone. Today I’m going to be talking about social proof; what it is, why it’s important, how you can build proof, and how you can use it properly for your school.

Basically, the social proof that I’m talking about is testimonials from your parents, students, and alumni. Social proof is really important because it’s one of the main things that parents look at when looking for a school and they are always looking for a justification for their decision.

If they are deciding whether they should choose your school or not, part of their justification in the emotional buying decision that they make is well, is it a school that other people are going to? And are these families that I look up to and can relate to? If they can see themselves fitting into your community, that’s a big tick in the box for them.

 

How to Build Social Proof

How do you build a big repertoire of parent testimonials? Well, it takes a lot of intentional effort from the marketing team. So I schedule a little bit of time every month to focus specifically on building testimonials. It’s one of the biggest tools that you can have in your toolkit as a marketer.

Video Testimonials

One way you can do that is to build videos, a video library of parent testimonials. You can do simple testimonials with family in front of the camera, or you can do more documentary-style testimonial videos.

Google Maps and Facebook Testimonials

Another way is to build your testimonials on Google Maps or Facebook. Whenever a parent emails into the marketing department or the principal to give great feedback, say, “Thank you so much. Would you mind giving us a review on Facebook or Google Maps?” That will really help with your online profile as well.

Request Testimonials

You can also email specific families asking them if they would like to give a testimonial. You could actually periodically do this when someone joins your college. When they’re six months into their experience at the college, send them an email and ask them if they would like to give a testimonial as part of the induction process for new families.

Social Engagement

Another way to get social proof which is less obvious but really works is whenever you have a social media post that you are planning to use for advertising, boost that to your current families first so that current families comment on that post and say how lovely your school is, how much they’re enjoying the community, and then boost that post to other audiences that you are planning to advertise to. That really helps for things like open mornings and events or musicals where families are commenting and engaging with other, and then you boost it to a new audience.

Students and Alumni

Don’t forget to include your students. Student testimonials are also very important, especially for the middle and secondary years, where students are more involved in that decision-making process. And they’re kind of talking it through with their parents.

Have a Parents Presence

Another way to build social proof, when people actually come and check your college out is to have your parents visible at open events and talking about your college whenever you have prospective families at the college, to have your current parents and families there to talk about their experience at the college. It’s a great way just to give an authentic look into your college community.

 

How To Use Your Social Proof Effectively

So now that you’ve spent a lot of time actually building that social proof, how do you use it effectively so that it maximises your return? First of all, you need to give parents what they need so that they can go out and talk to the community about your college. So equip parents with good news stories, articles and bragging materials so that they can go and talk about your college to others. You know, mums love to talk. So it will happen if you provide them with the right information at the right time.

Emails and Websites

You can also use these testimonials in follow-up emails to your enrolment inquiries. It can be a video, or even just a little testimonial quote at the bottom of an email with information about your college, that really helps people to put the parent perspective on top of their mind.

Testimonials in Advertising

If you are doing Facebook ads for your school or any social media advertising for your school, you may want to consider a layered approach, when you know that it’s going to take parents a certain amount of time to enrol in your school and that they’re going to want to know about certain aspects of your college.

One of those is testimonials from other parents. So layer your advertising to your audience and include testimonials, whether it be a video testimonial or text testimonials in your advertising. You can also include testimonials in your open event ads and things like that.

Website

Your website is another place where you can use your testimonials. Have scrolling testimonials in the footer of your website. You can have testimonials that are specific to the content that parents are reading about so if they are on the primary school page, have primary school parents talking specifically about the primary school programme. Giving their testimonial about the primary school programme or the head of school.

When you use testimonials, it’s worthwhile to include a photo of the family or the person that’s giving the testimonial, this makes it feel more authentic, and people can put a face to the testimonials.

Another place that you can use your testimonials is as extra content on things like your brochures, your advertisements, and your prospectus. It’s very important to have information about your different offerings and programmes and then to back it up with your testimonials.

I hope that you found this useful and that you spend some monthly time building your testimonials, not only building a database of testimonials but also using it effectively in your marketing. If you want to join the discussion, you can do so in the Marketing Mastery for Schools Facebook group. If you are not already we’d love to have you in the group, I’m sure there will be a little bit of discussion in the group about this topic this week.
 

Facebook Page Benchmarks

Facebook Page Benchmarks

In today’s article, I will be answering a question from our Facebook group. The question was from Sarah Winston, she asked, how do we know if our Facebook page is actually performing well and how do we benchmark against other schools? Listen to the podcast or read the transcript for my practical tips.

Any ideas that I missed? What works well for your school? Remember to join the discussion in the  Marketing Mastery For Schools Facebook Group.

Show Transcript

 

Today I’m going to be talking about how you can measure the success of your school’s Facebook page. I’m answering a question from Sarah Winston in the Marketing Mastery for Schools Facebook Group and she asked, “How do we know if our Facebook page is actually performing well and how do we benchmark against other schools?” I’m going to go through a few principles for you and I want this to be a practical podcast so feel free to open your Facebook page in another tab and go through it as you read through.

Reviews

Looking at the home page of your Facebook page the first thing that you want to look at is the reviews. If you have your reviews showing on your Facebook page make sure that this isn’t just an abandoned area that you’re not really nurturing, make sure that you have good reviews up there. If you don’t, get people to start reviewing your college. Whenever you get a great review in or a happy parent emailing you, tell them, “Great, thank you so much. Do you want to post that as a review on our Facebook page as well?.” I’ve noticed that a lot of schools don’t even look at this area and they have bad reviews lingering there that they’re not aware of.

Messages

The next thing to look at is your response rates. The response rate shows how quick you are to respond when people message your page. If you have the ‘send message’ option available on your page and they message you and you don’t actually reply to them, then it shows on your Facebook page that you are very unresponsive and that’s not a good look for your school.

This is a very hard thing to do but try to have your team reply within an hour of someone’s message (early morning hours excluded of course). Another option is to have an automatic reply after people message you on Facebook. This is a message that gets sent automatically to them and says something like, “Thank you so much for your message. We’ll endeavour to answer you within one working day or within an hour and we’ll get to you shortly.” That just sets their expectations of what to expect when they have messaged you.

Quality over Quantity

So when you’re looking at your actual page a lot of schools try to focus on the number of likes they have and, yes it’s great if you have a few thousand likes on your Facebook page. But, that’s not necessarily all good news for a school. The thing that’s really important for a school is the quality of the audience. The reason for this is that when you post to your Facebook page organically Facebook actually decides based on users’ previous actions who they think will be interested in what you just posted.

If you have an audience that really is a bit far removed from your school and they’re not really interested in your school they’re generally not going to be engaged at all. If you have two or three thousand people on your page and more than half of those are disengaged and not really interested in your brand then you’re really going to be fighting for attention in a newsfeed with this large, disengaged audience. The chance of you reaching that niche audience that’s really interested in what you have to say is a lot lower.

Building a More Engaged Audience

Instead of focusing on the number of likes that you have, focus on the quality of the audience that you have. What I recommend first of all is that you get your current parents to join your Facebook page. When people enrol in your college I always recommend that the marketing department send out a welcome to the college, “this is your expectations for communications and weekly newsletters and things like that, and be sure to like our Facebook page.” Make it really easy for your current parents to like your Facebook page.

A similar thing can be done with enrollment inquiries so get everyone that’s inquiring at your college to like your Facebook page and try to build a local audience. I don’t really recommend doing Facebook ads for likes specifically; I just don’t find it effective. I think focusing on quality and organically building those likes is the way to go.

Insights – Pages to Watch

In terms of Sarah’s questions regarding benchmarking, what you can do is go to the insights tab for your page in business manager. You’ll notice there on the overview page, if you scroll down to the bottom there’s a section called pages to watch. You can actually choose up to five other organisations that you want to watch. You obviously want to add yourself to the list and then it actually compares how you are going in terms of your page likes, your post engagements, posts from last week, posts from this week, and the engagement that you got.

That gives you a benchmark and it’s best to look at this once a week just to know week by week how you’re going in terms of your engagement. Not every page is worth watching. Make sure that you choose the schools that are doing really innovative things in terms of their social media and you’re not just choosing a school necessarily that’s directly in your geographic area or your direct competitor. Rather, benchmark against a school that’s doing innovative things in social media.

Insights – Reach

The next thing that you want to get an idea about is, based on how many likes you have for your page how much reach are you getting for each of your posts? On the home page of the insights tab you will see a list of your recent posts and you can see all your posts if you want to. Then, you can see how much reach you got. That reach is paid versus organic but it will distinguish between the two so you want to look at the organic reach.

If you know that you have, say, 1,500 followers on your Facebook page but then you start to see the history of your posts and that you’re only reaching 40 or 50 people then you know that you have a problem and you need to change the content. You need to either add more photos and videos and engaging content or you need to change the topics that you are posting about. You can go through that list and see which posts are doing the best and that will give you ideas for future content to post.

Insights – Page Views

The next interesting insight to look at is ‘page views’, which gives you an idea of how visible your page is on Facebook. The page views tab tells you how many people are actually looking at your Facebook page and not just seeing you in the newsfeed. And you can actually see how they found your page so whether they searched for you on Facebook or Google.

If you know that you’re getting 20 or 30 people visiting your page every day, it gives you an indication of how visible your page is in search results and how many people are actually searching for your school specifically on Facebook and visiting your page. The most important thing to look at that I mentioned before, is engagement and the quality of your audience. To measure how engaged people are, there used to be on Facebook pages a little phrase, people talking about this, and they would tell you the number of people talking about your page. That would be the number of people that are engaging with your posts.

That’s no longer visible on the home page but you can still see it. When you’re in the insights tab on the left-hand side you’ll see people and you’ll be able to see all the demographics of people and the age groups of how engaged they are.

Insights – People Engaged

When you look at the ‘people engaged’ tab you can actually see the data of people that are engaging with your page and they also give you statistics based on audience gender and age group. You can see which age group specifically is talking about your page the most and that is the most important group to focus on.

So that wraps up my audit on your Facebook page. I encourage you to go through, do a quick audit of your page and write down a few points of what you think you can improve in the next few weeks and work through it slowly. Good luck.

Your Social Media Plan

Your Social Media Plan

Busy season has started for us school marketers, promotions are underway and advertising campaigns are being rolled out. Make sure you are ready for the year ahead with a social media plan.

Timeline

00:12 Your plan for the year
01:36 Community management
03:10 Custom audiences
04:19 Custom conversions
05:27 Optimise for conversions
06:14 Make adjustments
07:13 Planning template for your school

Click here to join our Facebook group for school marketing professionals

Your Social Media Plan – Outline for Success

Your Social Media Plan – Outline for Success

Social media marketing is vital to your school’s strategy, but before you can get started you need a social media plan. It takes time but is a very valuable process that can contribute a lot to your school’s success.

Timeline

00:09 Take out your calendar
01:42 Building your audience
03:55 Structuring your advertising
04:36 Top of funnel
06:07 Middle of funnel
06:59 Bottom of funnel
08:10 Conversion pixel
09:06 Marketing Mastery for Schools podcast

Click here to join our Facebook group for school marketing professionals

Social Media – Marketing Your Business

Social Media – Marketing Your Business

Social media is a great tool for you to get new business, but don’t forget, it’s a social platform, not a sales platform. Your content needs to be fun, and social while meeting your business goals.

The options are endless for business when it comes to social media, and the main platforms include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. You can even create pages, profiles and ads on each of these platforms that will help you get new business.

How Do You Get Started?

The best way to get started is to create a schedule to regularly contact your audience. I always recommend updating your page or your profiles at least once a day. Your posts should be fun and social. Don’t forget you’re on a social platform.

People will tune out if you’re only talking about your business. Your content should be customer-focused and not business-focused. People are there to be entertained or informed. Keep the ideas rolling with fun posts. The next step is to use mixed media with texts, photos and videos. That way, you will keep things interesting.

Try starting with Facebook. Facebook is one of the largest social media platforms and is also one of the easiest to master. Start with creating an innovative page, one full of photos, ideas and great content, and then set up campaign objectives if you’re going to go into advertising.

You need to measure everything and the best thing about Facebook is that you can split test your campaigns. You will start to build up your knowledge of what works and doesn’t work. Test everything. That’s the key to success on Facebook.

Action Steps To Get Started

Number one, get social. The time is now, there have never been more opportunities to get started with social media platforms. If you need good tips and advice, I have a members’ area that will help you set up Facebook ads in a step-by-step video tutorial. You can also contact me if you need any help with your social media strategy or management.

 

Social Media Marketing for Schools – Reaching Local Families

Social Media Marketing for Schools – Reaching Local Families

With the increasing expectation that schools maintain a healthy presence on social media, your time can quickly get consumed with developing interesting content, posting regularly and moderating comments, but is all the effort worth it? Can social media marketing actually be used to engage local families and increase enrolments in a measurable way?

Typically, the decision of which school to send your child to is a complex one with parents weighing up several options, visiting schools and talking to friends. The buying cycle is more complex than seeing an ad and then buying the product. 

Understanding how your families make the decision of which school is best for their child will help you engage your families at each stage of their decision-making process. Social media marketing is an amazingly effective tool to nurture people from the first contact they make with your school, to enrolled family and then loyal ambassador.

Marketers are well aware of the concept of ‘touch points’ –  it takes several ‘touch points’ with your school for a parent to ultimately turn into an enrolled family. When using social media, a touch point could be:

  • An engagement with a post
  • A visit to your website
  • Viewing a school video, or
  • Downloading a brochure.

When school marketers approach their social media campaigns with a longer-term understanding of their customers’ decision-making process, they actually achieve better results. The objective is not to create an “enrol now” post to get enrolments immediately but to engage as many viable families from your catchment with interesting and engaging content. Get creative and stop posting pictures of children in school uniform – talk to the real mums and dads out there.

How to use social media to engage local families

I know you’re busy, so let’s get to the point. You can start by sharing the content ideas below on social media:

  • Get teachers talking about important educational issues in a short video
  • Create a blog on your school’s website that’s more than school news and updates
  • Post interesting articles and resources for parents that have shareable value, or
  • Create or join a local community group for families.

Ok, great, so you’re starting to get engagement, is that it? Don’t make the mistake of stopping there. We love likes and comments but what do they help if we never contact these engaged followers again? The beautiful thing about social media today is that you can create audiences based on previous engagements with your posts and ads! Take it to the next level by re-engaging families through:

  • Creating retargeting lists of people that have visited your website or specific pages of your website
  • Building your email lists with downloadable resources
  • Building Facebook audiences from people who viewed your videos
  • Building Facebook audiences from people that have engaged with specific posts, or
  • Building lookalike audiences based on your current ideal audiences.

How do you build retargeting audiences?

The first step is to set up a Google remarketing pixel and Facebook ads pixel on your website, you can then use these pixels to your full advantage by creating rules of how audiences should be built using the tool available on the Google Adwords platfrom or in the Facebook Ads Manager.

The opportunities for retargeting engaged families is almost limitless. Using social media to its full potential, you can quickly see how a carefully planned strategy can lead a parent from liking a post on Facebook to visiting your website, to seeing a remarketing ad for a downloadable resource (and thus subscribing to your email list) to accepting an invitation to an open event.

The next time you stop to post to your social media, take a moment to sketch out the full ‘life-cycle’ of how you will re-engage with the people that like or comment on your post. Have fun, and don’t be afraid to experiment!

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