4 Ways to Improve Your Facebook Feed to Fill Your Classrooms

Can we be candid for a moment?

As long as there are open seats in your Christian school, all marketing channels should be working to drive enrollment. Full classrooms mean freedom to live out your mission! What higher calling can a communication channel have than to help you achieve that freedom?

Understanding what makes your school special is critical for both current audiences (retention) and attracting like-minded families (enrollment). Unfortunately, many school Facebook feeds feel more like a coffee shop bulletin board than a compelling inside view of what your school has to offer.

The four optimizations outlined below will help your Facebook feed cut through the noise, showcase what’s special about you, and make it easy for others to share why they LOVE your school. Whether you take one of these steps or all four, your school’s Facebook feed can reveal more of who you are to drive inquiries to fill up those seats!

Optimization One: Have a Plan (Be Strategic)

Although lots of people have differing definitions of strategy, one simple definition is “a plan.” In other words, how are you going to get the results you seek? Look at your current messaging mix. Does it include content for current families AND prospective families?

Here’s an easy plan to get started: Think about how often you post and aim for a 60/30/10 divide where 60% of content speaks to current families, 30% are invitations to prospective families, and 10% are reserved for administrative updates. Be sure to include clear calls to action for each audience and point people back to your website regularly to engage with your content there.

Optimization Two: Tell Stories!

There’s more to your school than varsity soccer wins and staff Christmas parties. The difference between an update and a story can be as simple as how it makes someone feel who encounters it. Determine what’s newsworthy by what it says about your school’s values and environment. As you’re drafting posts, ask yourself: What does my target audience think today? What do I want them to think as a result of having seen this post? Consider this example:

Post A: “Congrats Lady Warriors on winning the Championship game, 2-0!”

Post B: “Our Lady Warriors demonstrated heart and excellence even as they experienced a tough defeat against the Waldorf Shields in yesterday’s semi-final basketball game. Junior Lucy B. says, ‘It’s disappointing, but I know that we’ve learned a lot through this season’s challenges that will help us next year {include great image here}.”

By highlighting something atypical and adding in some perspective on how the students processed a tough situation option B goes from update to story.

Optimization Three: Step Up Your Visuals Game

In an increasingly visual culture, the images you choose for your feed have more weight than ever before. To cut through the noise, we recommend budgeting for and developing your school’s library of professional photos. Stock photography that conforms to your brand standard can work, but for schools we most often recommend hiring a photographer to deliver custom images you can pull from throughout the school year. It’s our experience that a photoshoot ends up costing about the same as stock but offers greater return on brand recognition. Ideally, you’ll plan two shoots per year–spring and fall–to capture the variety of things inside and outside the classroom, including uniform days, to showcase your branding and special events that happen throughout the year.

Another strong recommendation, especially as you have new images, is to utilize “meme” style posts–images with word overlays–rather than posting images alone. They’re fast to consume, easier to share, and you can make/post them from your phone! Canva.com is a great tool to help non-designers develop attractive creative and their premium version is FREE for nonprofits.

Optimization Four: Test Facebook Advertising

For a pretty low investment, you can make sure your message breaks out of your current audience by targeting prospective families in your area. We’ve found that specific calls to actions to events and offers work best in Facebook advertising. An easy test is to put together an Open House for prospective families, build an ad with one of the attractive, professional images in your image library, and point people back to a specific page on your website where they can learn about what’s in it for them to come check you out!

What’s great with this approach is you can pretty quickly identify what the return on your investment is for this activity. By advertising a specific event and then asking folks who attend how they learned about the event you can get an idea of whether or not your ad is driving actual results. Consider running a couple of different, controlled tests to see what messages and images work to drive traffic to your event. In the end, you’ll have (at the least) gained exposure and we guarantee you’ll learn a lot from the process!

As ministry communicators, we know we need to steward the resources we have well. At Kumveka, we often remind our clients that it’s better to do fewer things really well instead of struggling to do many things. How do you rate your current Facebook feed for driving the very important metrics around school tours, open houses, and initial inquiries? What other things could you optimize today to see the results you’re looking for?

This article originally appeared on the Kumveka website on March 7, 2017. It is reprinted here with the permission of the author.

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