Your school is a brand, with your Head / Principal acting as the brand’s CEO. In modern marketing, regardless of the industry, you are in, the consumer rules the roost. They want engagement from a brand; to be part of the buying process.
How you interact with them can have a considerable impact on how you are perceived in a socially connected world.
This means your social media game needs to be impactful. You no longer need to simply push your product at the consumer. Instead, you need to form a relationship with the consumer. You need to entertain and inform them and give them a reason to trust you and talk about you (word of mouth is your strongest marketing tool).
Using social media as a school can make this challenging; delivering a sense of personality as a brick and mortar establishment is more difficult to achieve. What you want is human interaction to help with this. Where better to start, then, than with your school Head?
In a study, leadership skill sets were analysed to see if there was a direct correlation between CEO’s who are active on social media, versus those who are not.
The findings showed that CEO candidates who are social are:
- 89% better at empowering others
- 52% stronger at compelling communication
- 46% more influential
- 36% better at cultivating networks
- 19% more passionate for results
- 16% better at making decisions
Each one of these findings has a correlation with the skills you would expect from a Head.
Consider what kind of Head you have, how they best communicate and the formats that will best serve them. As well as this, are they using social media as a voice within the education sector or as that personable element to your school brand?
The school commentator: If your Head wants to have a presence on social to help promote the school, Twitter is the best channel for this. With Twitter, it is easy to engage with the main school Twitter account – to share (or Retweet) all the amazing things that happen in your school or even add a few lines of commentary to stamp personality onto the content.
Take David Baldwin – Head of Horizon English School, Dubai – who does this to great effect on his Twitter account.
Your community will look to your Head as a reliable figurehead for the school brand, and engage more emotionally with the content because it comes from a person – not a brand.
A voice in education
Many Heads are influencers in the many topics that surround education.
Mark Steed – Director of JESS Dubai – uses social media to not only promote and lead the conversation around his school but also as a platform to be a voice on “issues that impact on education”.
Video: If your Head is comfortable and affable in-front of the camera, using YouTube could be a brilliant idea.
Audio: Or how about just audio? Podcasts can be an incredibly beneficial undertaking for your Head. Currently, there is a notable gap in the market for more audio-centred content! Could your Head fill this space?
Written: However, if they are more effective using written words then they should most definitely be using a blogging channel of some sort.
- Twitter: good for reaching your community of parents and peers, engaging with your school and becoming part of the conversation
- LinkedIn: perfect for connecting with peers and the professional community. You can publish articles and engage with content other LinkedIn users have used. Use this channel for networking
- Facebook: good for reach. More personal channel than the other two but with the largest community – now over 2 BILLION users!
Website: The Head’s Welcome page is often one of the most-viewed pages on school websites. Prospective parents visiting your website want to find that emotional link, to help better visualise their child at your school. Your Head is often the first port of call for this.
It is easy to embed your Head’s social feed onto your website – turning the Head’s Welcome into an interactive, visual and impactful page.
Newsletter / Parent Comms: most schools will send out an e-newsletter to parents every week. This is another perfect method for your Head to reach your community. A simple link to their blog or Twitter profile, or an embedded vlog hosted on YouTube, can be really positive.
Leading your school’s presence on social media may be a new concept to many Heads out there, but it is something that merits strong consideration.
To see more from Heads using social media to top effect, take a look at these Twitter profiles:
- Mark Leppard – British School Al Khubairat
- Sasha Crabb – Victory Heights Primary School
- Kai Vacher – British School Muscat
- Mark Steed – JESS Dubai
- David Baldwin – Horizon English School Dubai
By: Simon Noakes