If you’re like me, you head to Youtube for the important video highlights you might’ve recently missed – sports, music, other entertainment. But what about your school’s highlights? Can your parents, students and staff find those on Youtube?
There might be a random Youtube post of a school activity from a student, or one from a parent attending a school function. What I’m talking about is a channel dedicated to your district, school, or even school department.
Your school probably has a Facebook page. Some teachers may have their own blog or classroom site. You’re using email to communicate regularly with students, teachers, parents, and other community members. If you’re really on top of your digital game, you’re even tweeting on a regular basis.
Add Youtube to your school communications mix
But what about Youtube? Youtube is too big to ignore. And it’s one of the most effective platforms out there for quickly and effectively distributing messages. Youtube videos and a dedicated Youtube channel for your school ought to be part of your school communications social media mix.
Youtube has more than one billion users, making it the second largest search engine (behind its parent company, Google). It’s also bigger than any social network not named Facebook.
More importantly, Youtube is big among your target audience: kids and their parents. According to a recent advertising study, 57 percent of parents said that their kids prefer watching videos on a handheld device over watching television. And 41 percent of parents said that given the choice, their kids would opt to watch videos instead of eat dessert. Simply put, if you want to reach your students, video is the place to do it.
Our friends at Los Alamitos High School have done a splendid job with its very own school YouTube channel. (Imagine YourSchoolTV, for example.) For everything from a feel-good promotional video (great for meeting recruiting and open enrollment goals), to graduation videos, to track meets, Los Alamitos is beginning to build an inviting library of videos that are being shared.
Why a dedicated Youtube Channel?
Posting videos isn’t hard. In fact, all you need is a Google account or email address and you can quickly log into Youtube and start posting content. However, you probably don’t want to randomly post videos.
Instead, you want to create your school’s own Youtube channel. Why? For starters, having a Youtube channel makes it easier for your audience to quickly see not only your recent videos, but also your past work. If you have a prospective student or parent looking at your content, don’t you want them to have the ability to see everything in one place?
Also, by having a channel, you can give your audience the opportunity to subscribe to your videos. Once they become a channel subscriber, they’ll get notifications when you post new content. That will help your audience stay up-to-date on your latest videos and will take some of the work off your plate when it comes to promoting your new content.
Finally, when you create your own channel, you can gather subscribers from almost anywhere. After you create your channel, you can get links from Youtube to put on your website and in your social media and email messaging. Your audience can simply click those links to quickly become a channel subscriber.
Feed your school Youtube channel
Like any other social media, your school Youtube channel is hungry for content. There is absolutely no point to creating a channel for your school if you don’t intend on posting videos on a regularly basis.
Visitors who go to an empty, outdated or sparse channel won’t be coming back.
It’s not realistic to expect you’ll be spanning the globe with 24-hour coverage and uploads. You’re going to have to start slow, but make sure your steady. Regular posts to your channel go a long way to building an audience. Check out this list of great ideas for school Youtube content.
Cross-promote your Youtube channel
Use other school promotion tactics to promote your Youtube channel. Your Youtube videos can readily be share across your school’s other social media. In addition to promoting specific clips, you can also routinely remind your followers to simply tune in to your channel.
Socorro Independent School district in El Paso, Texas, is also also embracing the power of Youtube to promote its district. With just one of its posts – a self-produced video created around the concept of teamwork – the school is about to eclipse 10,000 views. School communicators used the video as part of a social media campaign – #TeamSISD – to promote the students, teachers and thousands of people that comprise Team SISD.
Don’t know how to get started? That’s okay. Check out this article, How to Create a Youtube Channel for Your School. Then, when after you’ve got your own channel up, refer to this Campus Suite Academy article on the kinds of content to post to your school Youtube channel.
Marketing director and content strategist for Campus Suite, Jay’s a former school public relations specialist who’s helped businesses, schools and colleges use the power of web communications to improve their image, generate support, and optimize relationships. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him @jay4schools.