Should public schools teach social media marketing

Social media marketing for schools


1 Education and Sports Social Media Marketing for Schools City of Munich Status: 06/2013 Author: Andreas Hintermaier

2 Table of Contents: Using Social Media to Address Parents and Students 1. Introduction What is Social Media Marketing? Popular channels for social media marketing Use of social media by companies Schools and social media Target groups for schools Opportunities Problems and challenges Opportunities for schools Examples from practice Schule Schloss Salem The 4 boarding schools Bavaria German football boarding Tübingen Free Waldorf school Vocational school for media professions Munich What you propose should pay attention to the start Time & financial expenditure Set goals Personal communication Authenticity, transparency and unique selling points Creation of a company page or fan page Sources:

3 1. Introduction - In most schools today, communication with parents / students takes place via traditional advice, trade fair visits, print advertising and their own homepage. Social media is already central in business today, but is still uncommon in schools. These new communication channels make it possible to enter into a personal and informative dialogue with parents and children. Communication with future students and parents can be crucial in choosing a school. However, its use also requires a different approach, a different approach to privacy and the public. 2. What is social media marketing? Social media marketing is a process that enables people to advertise their websites, products or services on social networks and to address a broad community that would not have been reached via traditional advertising channels. Popular channels for social media marketing Facebook With 1.1 Billion users founded by far the largest online community in the USA private social network. Belongs to the most popular websites and is used worldwide. Facebook + 50% of them log into Facebook every day + 25 million active users Facebook Germany:% increase in users since% male, 48% female The current distribution roughly corresponds to the age distribution in Germany. The attractiveness of FB in the age group under 18 is dwindling somewhat. 1 vineyard 2011: 4 3

4 Twitter tool for distributing short text messages (160 characters) on the Internet (so-called microblogging). Very popular with adult decision-makers and trendsetters. For many, also partially takes on the function of an information channel on trends and topics million registered users worldwide; in Germany users + approx. active users + 45.9% male, 54.1% female YouTube founded in 2005, taken over by Google By far the most well-known video portal YouTube more adults in the USA between the ages of 18 and 34 than any cable TV network Worldwide 1 billion users around 35 million in Germany, 6 billion hours per month of video material and 100 hours of video material per minute Many of them on mobile devices% of women and 66% of men on the Internet use YouTube Google million active users worldwide, of which approx. 4 million in Germany (in comparison, Google search engine is used by approx. 40 million Germans) Used mainly by younger people Tech-savvy men visited early adopters and tech-savvy users. Offers better setting options in some cases (hangouts, groups) ück 2.2. Use of social media by companies Over 80% of all large companies have their own Facebook pages. This makes sense if the target group can be addressed personally on the FB page. FB should only be an additional channel that offers current and user-relevant information. It is not recommended to move to FB entirely - as you are exposing yourself to a private company. (E.g. LH Munich lost its FB presence overnight and without a reason because FB wanted to use the address fb / muenchen itself). - Future changes in user behavior can lead to new platforms or tools that are not available in FB. However, there are hardly any migration options in FB 4

5 3. Schools and social media 3.1 Target groups for schools All age groups actively involved in the school can be reached via FB. I.e. pupils, former pupils, parents, teachers, employees and trainers 3.2 Opportunities 1. The new generation of parents and pupils Future parents and pupils fall into the generation of digital natives. This generation is the first to have grown up with the Internet and other digital technologies and who take them for granted. However, in some cases people of the older generations (so-called digital immigrants) have got used to dealing with new media and communication channels by actively acquiring the knowledge. Since information acquisition and offers are now almost exclusively via the Internet and social media such as Facebook are playing an increasing role in this, the Internet and its networks are a very efficient way of addressing the target groups of schools. 2. Problems with choosing a school Parents and older students often have very different requirements and wishes when choosing the right school for their child. There is a wide range of school types, focal points and orientations and it is therefore important for school providers to emphasize what they offer and to clearly differentiate them from the crowd. Parents often get their first impression from search engines or provider websites. However, the quality and topicality of the pages and the information available are often insufficient, so that parents cannot obtain sufficient information and receive an inadequate impression. In the worst case, schools often lose potential interested parties before they have even got to know them personally. 3. Direct and active communication and interaction with the target group Via Facebook and Twitter, you not only have the opportunity to provide your visitors with information about the school, facilities and the teaching concept in real time, but you can also contact visitors directly on questions and current issues Exchange topics. This offers a unique alternative to one-sided communication of traditional marketing measures such as e. B. advertising slogans or print ads. 4. Creating emotional ties and trust When communicating with target groups, it is important to ensure that you actively maintain your accounts, answer questions and show presence. By providing qualitative content 5

6 and consistent communication, you get the chance to build an emotional bond without a physical encounter with the target group. This - as well as authenticity and transparency - can create trust in the school and contact persons. 5. Increase awareness Many schools live from word of mouth. This marketing strategy can also be carried over to the world of social media. For example, by recommending them on Facebook or passing on interesting Twitter messages (tweets) to other followers (subscribers to Twitter updates), a type of word of mouth is activated, which can spread virally depending on the relevance. Use the opportunity to draw more visitors' attention to your school, to forward them to your website and to retain them in the long term. 6. Free use The use of most social media platforms is free of charge for visitors and companies. You should provide your employees who take care of the maintenance of the social media channels with sufficient time. Higher costs will arise if you hire an external PR agency to set up your social media campaign. 3.3 Problems and challenges 1. Older generation of teachers in schools According to the education report of the EU Commission (2009), almost every second teacher in German schools is over 50 years old and it is therefore assumed that school staff are largely skeptical of the changes in the media stand. Studies by the EU Commission suggest that this could have an impact on the quality of teaching, as many new teaching and learning methods are not used. This also includes the use of PCs and the Internet in lessons, as well as the use and introduction of the children to the new media. Further training in these areas is particularly advantageous for teachers at an advanced age in order to promote creativity and innovation in the classroom and to teach students how to use media responsibly. 2. Fear of criticism - reputation management Information can spread very quickly and across the board via the Internet. To protect your reputation, it is important to deal appropriately with negative news. You cannot influence the fact that people talk directly or indirectly about your school online. It is therefore all the more important not to ignore this, but to have a say. Use the options such as B. TweetDeck or HootSuite to watch your school's name online and respond quickly. Social media offers you a great way to respond personally to such negative PR and to restore lost trust through openness. It is also a good idea to reserve user names for your school on social media and to regularly update these profiles with content. This in turn can improve your position in the search engine results and if negative news occurs, your reaction will often be noticed more quickly. 6th

7 3. Negative press on social media Recently, Facebook in particular has drawn attention to itself with negative headlines, which especially makes middle-aged people more skeptical. Influenced by the media, parents are often more likely to see the negative aspects and supposed risks for their children when dealing with social networks. For your school you have the chance to demonstrate possibilities and advantages and to introduce even skeptical parents to a more relaxed approach to social media. 4. Lack of know-how Since employees at schools have often not had any contact with the use of social media in the past, specialist knowledge in this area is rather limited. Here it is a good idea to gain initial experience with social media in private in order to break down inhibitions in dealing with them. Furthermore, investments should be made in further training measures to ensure that the employees responsible are sufficiently trained to implement the marketing approaches. 3.4 Opportunities for schools 1. Direct communication with the target group - Provide and disseminate specific information for parents - Announce events and appointments and send out invitations: Open days, information events, etc. - Answer questions on the pin board and enter into a dialogue - Point out services (e.g. school advice, make appointments online) - Provide information on the application process (appointments, important documents & forms to download, contact person with contact details, etc.) - Present the teaching concept, focus, facility and offers - Possibility To request information brochures and application documents 2. Multimedia integration via YouTube: - Provision of school videos - Own YouTube channel on the website or in the Facebook profile - Present the site, building and facilities - Interviews with students, alumni, teachers and employees - Reporting on events - Sch ülerprojekte 3. Targeted advertising measures via Facebook: - Ads on Facebook - Possible limitation of the target group to federal state, age, interests, gender, etc. - Forwarding to the website or Facebook profile Acquiring new visitors or fans - Increasing the level of awareness - Attention to campaigns , Information events, grants, etc. 7

8 Use of Facebook In general, Facebook can be divided into different areas of application: 1. Facebook Pages / Pages Facebook Pages represent your own company presence within Facebook. (Also known as: Facebook page, Facebook fan page, Facebook company profile) 2. Facebook Places The Facebook Places represent real places within Facebook such as Bars, hotels, squares and the like. They only differ from a Facebook page in the check-in functionality. With this function, users can tell all their friends on Facebook where they are at the moment. 3. Facebook Ads / Ads Is Facebook's own system for booking advertising within the social network. The advertisement is displayed on all pages of the social network. Interactive ads, the Facebook Engagement Ads, allow user interaction directly within the ad. 4. Facebook platform Under the Facebook platform we summarize everything that cannot be ascribed to the pages or the ads and is located in the Facebook ecosystem. The category itself can be divided into: O Facebook Apps: Apps are applications that are located within and that implement more or a few useful applications. The most popular in this category are games. These applications are not developed by Facebook itself but by external developers. In principle, anyone can create these applications themselves. 5. Facebook OpenGraph: Developers can use the OpenGraph to easily access the data on the social network and thus program applications. The OpenGraph also connects Facebook with your own website, as external websites can gain access to a user's data after authorization and thus Facebook allows functionalities in their own website (e.g. also single sign-on). The Like Buttons, Like Box and other social plugins within Facebook also fall under the OpenGraph category. (All applications and functions of Facebook Connect fall under the OpenGraph, Connect is no longer communicated in this way) 6. Facebook Community Pages / Community Pages Community pages are Facebook pages that are managed by the communities and aggregate various information. They are only useful to a limited extent for the marketing of companies, as companies have little or no influence on community pages. 7. Facebook groups / groups, like pages or community pages, can be created by all users. At first glance, they hardly differ from Facebook Pages, but their range of functions is very different. They are only suitable to a limited extent and in a few cases for marketing within Facebook. 8th

9 4. Involvement of students - include students in the online activities - create content (videos, pictures, etc.) - present student projects on social media - students learn how to use the Internet and online rules of conduct (so-called netiquette) 4.1 Das Potential of former pupils So-called alumni marketing is not only important for universities and companies, but is also of great relevance for schools and boarding schools. In this context, it generally describes the measures a school takes to stay in contact with former students and to convey a positive image of the school to them even after they have left. If done correctly and seriously, alumni marketing has a viral marketing effect, as word of mouth from alumni and parents can spread the school's image in a very positive and credible manner. The measures can be, for. B. be regular meetings or birthday wishes. The social media platforms have also greatly expanded the possibilities for personal interaction. On Facebook, for example, it is very easy to create a platform or group through which an alumni network can be set up. Many former students are experienced in dealing with the Internet and are already active in social networks, which means that the barrier to active participation is rather low here. Former students and parents can be very credible figureheads for the school and it can have a good effect when they e.g. B. leave positive and constructive comments on the wall of your former school. These are a very important source of information for future parents who are looking for a suitable school, as the information is authentic and based on personal experience. It therefore makes sense to set up a recommendation network via Facebook, in which former students or parents can connect to other parents through interaction on the school profile, who in turn interact with their friends. As a result, the school receives direct and indirect recommendations and can thus greatly increase its own level of awareness. 9

10 4. Examples from practice 4.1 Schule Schloss Salem (Salem /) The Schule Schloss Salem has been operating a Facebook profile since 2010, which is linked to a Twitter account so that news can be automatically published on both channels. Meanwhile, the profile of the boarding school has fans and they follow the school's posts on various events, news or student activities. Many alumni are very active on the profile of their old school, commenting on pictures or videos, events or organizing alumni meetings on Facebook, which are also commented on on the profile of the school.As a traditional school, Salem is very progressively opening up to the possibilities of the new media and has recognized the importance of being present on the Internet for the present and the future. The school operates a very informative and interactive website and also links it to the social media profiles. In addition, a professional company profile was set up on XING in order to address the group of working parents more specifically. Despite the progress, Salem also sees a need to take more care of the maintenance of the profiles, to react more quickly to inquiries in the profile and to convince employees, teachers and parents of the benefits of the new communication channels. A YouTube channel with own videos and videos produced by students is planned for the future. 4.2 The 4 boarding schools in Bavaria (The students of the boarding schools Schondorf, Neubeu, Stein and Reicherbeuern have been running a so-called newsroom since summer 2011, on which reports, reports, pictures and podcasts created by students are published. The newsroom is linked to the social media Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and an RSS feed are linked, which are automatically updated when there is an update. The posts document the breadth of boarding school life and thus not only address current students, but also enable interested future students deep and, above all, age-appropriate, authentic insights into life and The editorial team, consisting of students from all branches, learns very effectively and independently how to deal with the new media and the appropriate netiquette, and through workshops it acquires technical knowledge, which will also be an advantage in professional life 10

11 4.3 German Football Boarding School (The German Football Boarding School operates a YouTube channel on which videos are published on training units, games or individual players or students. These videos are also regularly posted on the boarding school's Facebook profile. The school also publishes on Facebook Pictures of the boarding school, of various activities, excursions, events, etc. In addition, news, game results and summaries of the games are presented.The profile is not only interesting for current students, but also for potential new students and their parents informative and gives you a lot authentic impression of the school and the life in the boarding school. 4.4 Tübingen Free Waldorf School (The Facebook profile of the Tübingen Free Waldorf School is very informative and serves as a good example of how social media can be used for communication in schools. The page already counts 496 fans and w is very actively maintained with regular posts. Teachers, parents and students can use the pin board to find out about current events and activities at the school and to exchange ideas. For example, information on competitions, school projects, theater performances or orientation days are posted and pictures are uploaded. The site is also used by former students and to find previous acquaintances and school friends. In this way, the school gradually develops a network of people who interact with the school and can actively recommend it to others. 11

12 4.5 Vocational School for Media Professions in Munich (The official Facebook profile page of the Vocational School for Media Professions in Munich is closely linked to the school's official website. The connection is used to keep content such as dates, events, job exchange, course plans or menus up to date. The site serves as a communication platform for teachers and students as well as for the respective trainers. The personal dialogue via the pin board enables the school to communicate with the students and trainees in real time and to exchange ideas Inform the school and use photos, videos and published information to get an idea. The permanent activity on Facebook not only gives the school the opportunity to maintain Internet communication, but also to help determine how it is perceived by the outside world and to convey a positive image of the school 4 .6 Westminster Academy Memphis (Memphis /) In times of economic hardship, Westminster Academy has recognized that social media is an inexpensive way to generate interest in their school. A combination of Facebook Marketing, Search Results Optimization (SEO) and AdWords (Google Ads) enabled them to appeal to and retain parents. In addition, the school has intensified its open day activities and successfully communicated them via the Facebook profile. Events are regularly communicated on Facebook that indicate the dates at which parents can learn more about the school and the concept. The school has clearly recognized that it is especially important in difficult times to play up front and not oversleep the latest trends, because when you have overcome the difficult times, you will be a big step ahead of the others. 12th

13 5. What you should consider before you start 5.1 Time and financial effort If you decide to use social media platforms and channels to attract new students and convince parents, you should not underestimate the effort involved Define a clear strategy and organization of the project. Employees should be trained well and have sufficient time to devote themselves to the task. When choosing employees (e.g. interns), make sure that they identify sufficiently with the school and are media-savvy so that your message and positioning are conveyed correctly. Despite the free use of the platforms, personnel costs or costs for technical equipment and graphic design can arise when integrating social media into your strategy. The cost-benefit ratio should be assessed realistically and major investments should only be made as soon as concrete successes have been achieved. 5.2 Setting goals The decisive factor for the success of the social media strategy is that you set yourself specific goals and pursue them systematically. Goals can e.g. B. be to increase the relevant traffic on the school website, to increase the general awareness of the school and offers and to draw attention to services and events. Formulate your goals specifically so that you can measure them later (e.g. traffic evaluation, new registrations, etc.). In the beginning, the goals should not be set too high and the platforms should first be tested and evaluated for their usefulness. The strategy can thus be continuously optimized within the framework of your available resources. As part of a so-called social media policy, the following should be specified: - Which social media accounts are used? Are these also used privately? - Who can make official statements about the school? This point can also hide a change in the overall communication culture of a school. The relevant employees often have to react quickly, so they need some leeway to make decisions. At the same time, it must be clarified which topics should be addressed to the school management. However, due to the dynamic nature of social media, these guidelines will have to be constantly re-discussed and adapted. - Open to the outside world: The handling of comments and, above all, criticism will have to be discussed again and again. Here listening is just as important as observing and reacting appropriately. Online communities can react very sensitively here, up to and including triggering a so-called shit storm. 13th

14 5.3 Personal communication Social media are indeed social and have replaced the one-sided communication of classic advertising and marketing campaigns. It is no longer about just communicating a message to an anonymous crowd, but about a dialogue between two parties. Especially in the school sector and when looking for the right school, this individual communication is an advantage in order to build trust and positively influence the decision-making process. As in any personal relationship, it is very important to listen to the target group and the individual people continuously and carefully and to react promptly and appropriately. Since social media are still in a state of great change, the way they are dealt with must always be redefined. In addition to personal communication, a wide variety of topics are discussed on the web. You cannot influence this, but you should still take the opportunity to have a say and use the feedback for yourself. Online communication is always much shorter and often more superficial than would be the case in a normal conversation. 5.4 Authenticity, transparency and unique selling propositions For parents in the federal education system in Germany it is not easy to find the right school for their child. Important information such as B. the number of pupils, average high school grades, missed lessons, etc. are not published with pleasure and so it is usually very difficult to compare the schools with each other in order to make the right decision. It is therefore important that you are aware that trust can only be created through openness and transparency. Communicate authentically and openly with the target group and answer questions parents may have. It is also helpful to clearly work out the advantages of your school and to communicate your unique selling points in a credible way.Analysis tools such as Activity Feed (from FB) or Like-Box allow the generated traffic to be broken down, the target audience to be defined more clearly and communication to be clarified. 14th

15 6. Creation of a company page or fan page - requires an existing user profile - a new page is created via and there e.g. Institution / education selected - After entering the keywords and, if necessary, an image (format in the head 851 x 315 Px), the page is displayed with the correct URL. - A so-called vanity URL (e.g. can be selected if the page has at least 25 fans. Category names such as school are only to be used in conjunction with other words such as e.g. one name possible. - The name can also be changed as long as the site has <100 fans. - Creation of a timeline (the timeline guide from Facebook is helpful here) - FB company pages do not offer a (legally required) imprint. This content should appear in the description if necessary. - Under Edit page (top center) there are numerous setting options for making contact, etc. - Extensions can be created using so-called Iframe Apps under. Sources: - This text is partly based on on an article from - Ct Extra 02/2012 Social Networks 15