Having spent the last ten years perfecting the art of emailing teachers, it's fair to say that Sprint Education know a thing or two about what education staff want to see when they open their inboxes. But, over the past couple of years, the landscape of email marketing has been well and truly rocked by its younger Generation Z sibling - social media.
There's no denying that social media plays a huge role in how teachers perceive your brand. In fact, Digital Marketing Magazine reports that 75% of consumers will consult your social channels before buying from you, and well over 800,000 teachers use social media. If you're inactive on social media, a huge development in the digital marketing world, teachers may question your capability to keep up-to-date with developments in your own industry. On the other hand, if you are active but aren't posting the right content, you run the risk of wasting a chunk of your marketing resources - or even ruining your online reputation altogether.
It's a hard game to play, and an even harder one to win, but we're here to share with you our insight into what gets teachers engaging with your social channels and seeing you as a trusted, loyal education supplier.
Organic, Agile, Shareable Content (And Literally Becoming Top Dog)
Here's a story for you. We'd just relaunched our most popular Teacher Perk, and I'd ripped our social schedule apart to secure the perfect time slot for a boosted post. Teachers would come flocking in, tag all their colleagues, and we'd get loads of attention. It was going to be fabulous.
But (and here's the twist), I'd scheduled a dog meme for the same afternoon. Specifically, this one:
When I logged on that evening to check on my precious paid post, expecting utter greatness, I was met with a disappointing 3 reactions. Meanwhile, the dog had 49 reactions. And 40 shares. I was livid. But, also, really proud of said dog. To be honest, it was a real rollercoaster of emotions.
It wasn't that my boosted post was bad - it did pick up over the week - just the dog was better, and had impeccable timing. Teachers had broken up for the half term barely an hour ago, so they didn't hesitate to share it and tag their fellow colleagues - like an inside joke the entire industry knew about. Plus, he was cute, inoffensive, and there were no hidden sales tactics to put teachers off wanting to share it. It was simply meant to make teachers smile, and make teachers smile it did.
There's also the Facebook algorithm to consider. It favours organic posts and those with a higher engagement rate and sees them as quality content, so our meme was pushed further up everyone's timelines. It was much more likely to be seen as a result, so its engagement rate grew exponentially - inadvertently leaving my boosted post in the dust.
The timely, funny, education-related photos I post always get high rates of engagement. Quotes, questions, conversation starters, and news articles can do well, too, because they hit the two main reasons behind logging in to social media: to be entertained, and to stay in the loop. It goes without saying that this is important for you to do too - if people are sharing your meme with their colleagues, they're also sharing your brand and your name with them, too. They are literally doing a chunk of your marketing for you - for free.
Value Assets and Blogs
As much as I wish it was the case, education memes and baby animal videos won't take your marketing everywhere. They'll help build up your social audience, for sure, but they won't really get your name and services known as a serious competitor in your industry, nor direct your social followers to your website.
Enter: the value asset. Whether you're giving away free playground surveys or software trials; or you've painstakingly put together downloadable guides or website blogs featuring your online safety trips, targeted intervention strategies, or the best school trips in the UK, social media is the place to share these.
This goes back to the point about shareable content - if you've got a free education resource that sounds useful to one teacher, chances are they know their colleagues will be interested, too. The beauty of social media is that it takes them just one click to share your resource to their own profile or even education-focused groups they're part of - some of which have well over several hundred thousand members that could soon be on their way to your website to check out your asset.
If you use a bit of creativity and some hot keywords and hashtags (for extra exposure), you can make your asset relevant to any timely scenario, making you look totally on it when it comes to current events and educational news and getting your asset some great organic exposure. Heat waves, torrential rain, extreme chill? Share a link to your "Top 10 School Trips" blog and mention how the locations are perfect for said climate. School holidays? Well, the trips are perfect for teachers and their own children, too. A news article on a relevant curriculum subject, wellbeing, or school trips themselves? Get that blog out there!
If you'd like to discuss how Sprint Education can provide you with your own value asset created by one of our Teacher Perks members (67% of teachers are more likely to pay attention to user-generated content) then just get in touch for a chat with the team.
Statistically, videos should make up a huge chunk of your education marketing strategy - 80% in fact, if we're to go by Cisco's statement that 80% of 2019's online traffic will be made up of video. Why? Well, just take a look at these figures…
Videos generate 1200% more social shares than text and video combined
Videos receive 135% more organic reach than a photo
100 million hours of video are watched each day on Facebook
One minute of video is worth 1.8 million words
90% of customers say videos help make buying decisions
We're not necessarily talking big-budget, carefully-curated masterpieces, either. Of course, you'll want to avoid showcasing your IT/AV school solutions through haphazard, pixelated, muffled videos; teachers will question whether you're really the best technical experts and your ability to use your own equipment. But, there's nothing wrong with whipping out a camera and capturing some off-the-cuff videos for some extra social ammo.
Maybe you're touring one of your playgrounds mid-installation, or even sharing a few clips of your employees at an education show and asking your followers to say hello if they're in attendance (a brilliant, timely post rife with golden opportunities to chat face-to-face with your audience). Either way, these low-level clips are the key to presenting your company as honest and fast-paced in the eyes of a teacher, whilst growing your social following and boosting your website's SEO.
Videos prove their worth even more when it comes to teachers, who are often short on time and still half-focused on their school work. If you present them with a lengthy text post explaining how your online tuition platform works step-by-step, they may realise they don't have the time or focus to even begin reading it. Putting that information into a 2-minute video instead involves far much teacher effort; they could simply listen whilst doing other things to make the best use of their time. And, if they've already started watching, their curiosity will probably entice them to watch until the end.
Of course, these tips only scratch the surface on why your social presence plays a huge role in your marketing strategy, and how you can optimise your channels to maximise website visits, online rankings, and sales and conversions. So, if you'd like to discuss this in more detail, and find out how Sprint Education can help you manage your own social media strategy, please get in touch.