If your school's social media is gathering some digital dust, we've got some tips for you on ways to improve your school's Facebook page and get it to start working harder for you. For private schools seeking to boost enrollment, or for schools districts looking to reach out to the community, an up-to-date Facebook page is job number one in using social media to promote your school.
Facebook and the other burgeoning social media are increasingly omnipresent forces that can and should be used for the greater good of school communications. Think of social media as networking. (Remember, it’s not what you know, but who you know?) And if you’re networking, you want to at least look good, be clear, and current.
Below are some quick and easy fixes for any school's Facebook page. The following tips are designed to help you improve your school's anchor social media presence and build fans in the process. What's more, a more vital Facebook page will help extend your school's all-important reach; that is, the number of fans who are actually visiting your page to view and read all the great content your school has going for it. One important overarching fact to keep in mind is that not only will your fans love a fully optimized Facebook page, but Google loves fresh content too. Search engines will find your school content more readily when your page is up to date.
Here are a few tips on making your school’s FB site more current, vital and viable.
1. Change out your cover image monthly.
Let’s start with the cover image. With the short-attention-span world we live in these days, it pays to keep your Facebook homepage fresh by changing out your cover page photo at least once a month. Look around, there’s a new pic as closer as your smartphone. Pick a horizontal view and one that’s inviting. Give credit where credit is due on the photo and drop in your school logo on the cover or profile picture while you’re at it. Each time you change the photo it is shows up on all of your fans newsfeed. What better way to share something nice that is also inviting to you community.
- Add the appropriate image related to the holidays. Think about how nice a Veteran’s Day ceremony picture at your school would look right around the patriotic holidays.
- Add timely images related to current events at school – (e.g., school festival, talent show, sporting event)
- Add images related to the seasons – (e.g., your school back-dropped by fall foliage, snow, spring and summer images)
- Add images of a teacher or kids receiving awards
- Images related to you mission
- Technology in the classroom
2. Improve your descriptions.
You may have a description and filled out but do you have your long description filled out? Your school needs to be sure to utilize both of these. Keep in mind this information is not just for people visiting your facebook page but how it shows up in the search, so take adavantage of both of them.
Go to the Settings section and make sure the ‘About/short description’ section is complete. Don’t be shy here: be descriptive about what distinguishes your school and tell the visitor why they should follow. At the end of the description, include your website homepage URL. You may want to use a link shortener if your URL to your website is to long. When editing the long description, go to Settings, then under Page Info scroll down to the Long Description be sure to include keywords related to you market. For example, if you are a private school in Chicago, you might want to add “Chicago private school." The long description section enables you to expound some on your school's features and image, so elaborate here, but be concise.
Short description example:
MSD is committed to helping children become better people and prepare for the real work. Stay connected to the latest updates as we prepare kids for the future and serve the community. www.jeffersoncountyschools.edu
Long Description example:
Mapledale Academy is a private school located in the northern suburb of Mapledale, Texas. Ranked 9th in the nation among both public and private high schools, Mapledale features a competitive environment that develops students intellectually and socially. A combined junior high and high school, Mapledale has approximately 800 in each grade 7 through 12, and over 55 faculty members.
While academic excellence is the primary goal for each student, the Mapledale faculty and staff work to develop the whole student, making sure he or she strikes a balance between the rigors of one of the most demanding academic curriculum in the state, and all the extra-curricular activities Mapledale has to offer. 20% of our graduates in the past 10 years have been admitted to Ivy League universities, 90% received academic scholarships, 9% athletics scholarships, and we boast a 97% participation in clubs, sports and other extra-curricular activities.
Admission to Mapledale is based on a comprehensive entrance exam consisting of math, English, and an essay writing section. All students must take the entrance exam. As of 2013, potential students must achieve an establish 8 junior high schools in the Mapledale High School District, with admissions for 25 students from each corresponding school. A minimum GPA must be maintained for all students, and if students fail to stay above the minimum for 2 semesters, they are dismissed from Mapledale and enrolled in their home district's junior high or high school.
3. Make sure you prepare your image sizes properly.
We recognize not everyone is a designer but it is important to develop skills for image preparation for social media. With all the hard work you do managing these channels, you wouldn't want to look bad because you did not make an image the right size by taking some easy technical steps.
It is certainly okay to upload photos off your smart phone and camera when needed, however, if you have important images that are to be featured, such as the main header image, put the extra time in and make it look great. Facebook has also recently changed all of its dimensions for 2014 (great for you) and made everything larger for the most part. It is also important to prepare the images for the pages from your website you are sharing, such as the superindedent's blog, to ensure they look great.
Take a look at the link below for a complete guide on the dimensions for all of you supporting images.
4. When sharing links, compliment the story being shared and engage the audience.
Let's not forget why you are sharing links. When articles are being shared, provide a short, concise description and let your fans know why you are sharing it. They are going to see the title of the link and the description, so there is no need to repeat that. Also, don’t be afraid to ask a question.
Remember, long descriptions (see tip no. 2 above) on your post won’t even show up without the viewer clicking the “See More” to continue reading. Use a short description of your post along with the URL.
5. Be timely when scheduling posts, and mix it up.
Schedule your posts and news releases when they’ll do you the most good. There are a several web analytic services (Stat Counter, Google Analytics, Clicky) that show you such valuable information as amount of traffic per hour. Check the peaks and valleys of your traffic, then publish posts accordingly.
So, take these 5 tips on how to improve your school's Facebook page, get your school's web team up to speed on them, then watch how the improvements change how your Facebook page is used. Then once you have these down, like the shampoo folks say: Lather. Rinse. Repeat. That is, re-visit these tips routinely to keep your school's Facebook page fresh and working for your school.
As co-founder of Campus Suite, Steve believes behind every great school is great communication. His tech savvy and passion for design fuel his desire to help administrators understand, embrace and seize the power of web communications.