My last post discussed the value of having multiple Facebook pages for your school in order to speak directly to specific audiences. The question some have asked in response is: How do you manage four official school Facebook pages, multiple Twitter accounts, and an Instagram account effectively? Ensuring consistency of brand is not easy. However, with the right tools and the right systems, multiple social media channels can deliver dynamic, powerful messaging to your audience.
While managing our athletics social media outlets over the past four years, I utilized both Hootsuite and Tweetdeck to monitor and schedule posts. Both of these tools allow you to post to multiple pages (and channels) and provide an easy one-stop shop for monitoring your channels. We hadn't adopted one tool to use across all social media outlets until this summer, when we contracted with Hubspot. This was a significant investment as an institution, and social media monitoring and publishing were just one small reason why this tool made sense for our school. Hubspot’s social media tool is outstanding, but I know it may not be an option for every school. Here are a few suggestions for finding the tool that will allow your team to communicate a clear, consistent message that enhances your school’s brand via social media.
#1 Optimize your scheduling tool.
Regardless of what social media management tool you decide to use, you need to be able to schedule multiple posts to multiple channels from one place. Not only does scheduling posts allow your entire team to know which messages are going out when, but it lets you prepare posts well in advance. This can help you avoid last-minute notifications for events you have known about for weeks or months AND create time for spontaneous updates that add life to your social media channels.
#2 Have many content generators but one content manager.
At many schools, different people connected with different affinity groups want their own Facebook page or media outlet. As a school marketer, it is critical that you are aware of what is being posted to each of your school’s social media channels. While it is nearly impossible to always produce rich, dynamic content to multiple pages, it is not impossible to manage the content others provide you. At Proctor, we have worked to give ownership over content creation to many in the community. Students may take a picture/video at soccer practice and then share it with the communications team, so we can make sure it gets posted to the right place at the right time to the right audience. Having one content manager for social media ensures that the context of the content is optimized. This has evolved for us, but gradually the school community has come to understand the value of both diversity of content and consistency of message.
#3 Understand who among your audience uses each social media outlet.
We all know one size does not fit all in school marketing. Your Twitter followers interact with you differently than your Facebook ‘likes,’ who interact differently than your Instagram followers or LinkedIn connections. Having a social media management tool that allows you to tailor your posts to your channel is vital. Pew Research Institute published this report (download) last year providing some very useful information to consider as you work to manage your social media outlets. Look through the study and at the metrics of your social media outlets. Which posts get read? Commented on? Liked? By whom? Dig into these details and you will be able to leverage multiple channels far more effectively.
#4 Create intentional balance in the content you are publishing.
Obviously, many of your posts consist of school-related content (blog posts, news stories, etc.), but do not forget to post industry-related content (articles related to education and learning) as well as spontaneous fun updates. By publishing a variety of content specifically targeted to each audience within a channel, you will increase engagement with your social media.