Summer is coming to an end, meaning parents and students across the country are stepping out of the pool and preparing to get back into their school year routines. So, as PR and marketing professionals working in education, how do you drum up excitement for the first day of school with students and parents in your school district?
Video, Video, Video
First and foremost, video content should be part of your back-to-school marketing strategy as it’s quickly becoming the top tool for garnering engagement on social media platforms. In fact, according to HubSpot research, 54 percent of consumers want to see videos from brands rather than newsletters or just a stagnant image. Additionally, Facebook gets 8 billion average daily video views.
Making the video personal, such as by showing the teachers and faculty at the school on the first day, will ease the minds of parents — and hopefully get students excited about the new year and being back in the classroom.
Creating video content doesn’t have to be expensive. A smartphone is great for capturing your subject (b-roll), and an inexpensive tripod and microphone for interviews will have your video looking great. Free video editing tools are available through both the Apple and Android stores. iMovie is free and efficient, but there are a lot of great options out there, many for a very low cost; others worth checking out include Adobe Premiere and Clips. For optimal performance, when you edit your videos, we recommend keeping the length under a minute on Instagram and Facebook so that you don’t lose your viewer’s attention.
Not sure about producing a video? You can also create videos using photos thanks to popular tools like Animoto (educators can apply for a free Animoto Classroom account) and Adobe Spark. Last year we created a back to school video using Animoto for one of our school district clients featuring pictures that had been tweeted by parents and students on the first day of school. Check it out:
If video editing still isn’t your thing, you can always opt for Facebook Live, Instagram Live, or Periscope videos. These live videos could feature the principal or superintendent giving a back-to-school welcome message or teachers showing off their classrooms. It’s a simple yet effective strategy to give your audience a taste of what to expect during the school year.
Back to School Hashtag Campaigns
Another way to engage and connect with students and parents as you head back to school is by creating a custom back to school hashtag campaign. The hashtag should be unique enough to your school that users instantly know it’s connected to your school district. A few creative hashtags from school districts we’ve seen over the years include #BacktoBeechwood, #GoFlyers, #NKULove, #bvreimagined, #firstdayfun, and #WeAreJCPS.
Hashtags are also a great way for students and parents to find content being shared by others in the school community. As a bonus, they also make it easier for you to monitor, engage, and report on things being shared online about your school district.
Social Media Contests
If you want to engage and incentivize your followers, a good back-to-school tactic is a giveaway contest. An example might be encouraging parents and students to upload photos to social media platforms using a designated hashtag for the chance to win school swag.
For larger school districts, it would be a good idea to use a sweepstakes platform to help you choose a winner out of thousands of entries. Shortstack will not only help you run your contest but will also help you get more leads; it also has email marketing and analytics capabilities to help you get the most out of your campaign. Other platforms include Rafflecopter and Woobox.
Other contest ideas include:
- Hashtag campaign;
- Countdown to back to school;
- First day photos; and
- Show your school pride
As the first day of school approaches, remember that you want your school district’s social media content to be fun, engaging, and informational in a way that resonates with your parents. By doing one or all of these tactics, your first day of school is sure to be at the top of the class!
Scooter Media Is Your School PR and Social Media Resource
Scooter Media is your resource for school PR and social media. If you’re new to the world of school marketing, be sure to check out our post “Beyond Reading, Writing and Arithmetic: Why Public School Districts Need Marketing.”
About Scooter Media
Scooter Media is a full-service communications agency in greater Cincinnati specializing in public relations and social media.