Brendan Schneider is the Director of Advancement at Sewickley Academy, a PK-12 day school near Pittsburgh, PA. He is well-known for his website SchneiderB, where he is regarded as the go-to authority on private school inbound marketing and social media with thousands of followers who rely on his expertise.
Brendan also serves on the Board of Directors of the AISAP (Association of Independent School Admission Professionals), is an Inbound Marketing Certified Professional, a Hootsuite Certified Professional and a contributing blogger for edSocialMedia, AdmissionsQuest.com, and Social Media Today.
For this podcast, Brendan and InspirED asked our community members for questions they would like to hear Brendan and I talk about. We got a great response and covered as many questions as we could in the time we had. If you're still looking for answers, please reach out to us directly, ask your question in the comments below, or post your question on one of our Facebook pages.
These are the questions we tackled and the private school professionals who asked them. Thanks everyone for your participation. We hope we gave you what you need to make your job easier.
Listen to the podcast for all the answers.
Q. What advice would you give about Facebook’s new algorithm and managing our school’s Facebook feed in light of the recent changes?
Submitted by Andrew Spitzer, Development Assistant, Seattle Academy; Beth Pride, Director of Communication and Marketing, The Lexington School; and Flo Farrell, Director of Stewardship/Communications Associate for Social Media, The Park School
Brendan starts: “First, don’t panic. Take a breath. Facebook is pay to play, and they expect you to spend ad dollars to guarantee your content is placed in front of people...”
Q. When we think about all the messaging our parents and our market are receiving, how can we be more focused and purposeful while still being flexible? How does inbound marketing change the roles we play? Sometimes we will cover some bit of school life and I will question its value and where we should be investing our energy. How will this really help our enrollment, for example? We need to “work smarter.”
Submitted by Rebecca Moore, Director of Communications, Randolf School
Brendan starts: “Huge question! We think of social media in two ways: recruitment and retention. It’s like 21st-century word-of-mouth…”
Q. I think we've developed lots of strategies for those who want information and make themselves known to us, but there is a growing number of parents who want to remain stealthy and aloof during the admission process. I'd love to hear thoughts on how we could be better communicating with those families.
Submitted by Heather McCall, Admission Marketing & Communications Manager, Upper Canada College
Brendan starts: “I have terrible news for you. It’s only going to get worse...This is where inbound marketing can really help…Lead with all of your best information on the web…Use ebooks and guides…”
Q. Can you tell us about Hubspot and getting started with Inbound Marketing. Also, does Hubspot integrate with Blackbaud?
Submitted by Ashley Vogelsang, Director of Marketing and Communications, Calvert School; and Candi Wagler Schmieder, Director of Enrollment, Iowa Mennonite School
Brendan starts: “Buy copies of Inbound Marketing by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, the founders of Hubspot and give them to the decision makers at your school….”
Q. I would be interested in knowing what Brendan's reporting for marketing looks like such as frequency. Is it monthly? What metrics does he focus on? What does he share and with whom?
Submitted by Michael A. Hatfield, Director of Admission, Powhatan School
Brendan starts: “Thanks for the big question that exposes a weakness of mine...haha...."
Q. If you receive an inquiry from your website, what should the time frame be to reply to them? Right after you get the inquiry? Within 24 hours?
Submitted by Becky Roberge Wetzel, Saint Francis Xavier School
Brendan starts: “Two minutes ago…”
Q. How do you effectively communicate the value of an independent school education, specifically, in a competitive market that has not bounced back financially?
Submitted by Susan Martin Davis, Director of Communication and Marketing, Greensboro Day School
Brendan starts: “This could be a whole podcast. David Ogilvy said, ‘Great marketing only makes a product fail faster…’”
Q. Is it possible to manage SEO in-house? Do outside agencies/companies really deliver the ROI?
Submitted by Jeff Barnosky, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Chapin School
Brendan starts: “Yes. But do you have the knowledge and expertise in-house?”
Q. I would be really interested to find out more about the structure and role of the marketing department within schools in the context of a changing digital environment and greater visual content. Are we seeing more outsourcing of specialist roles like design, photography/ videography, social media and content writing with a generalist full time and if so, what are the key skills needed by that generalist?
Submitted by Keryn House, Managing Director, Houseway Consulting, South Africa
Brendan starts: “It depends. Hire where you have blind spots."
Q. Do you envision any dramatic marketing shifts for independent schools in the next few years? Should we all jump on the podcast bandwagon?
Submitted by Laura Berne Korotkin, Communications and Social Media Manager, Detroit Country Day School
Brendan starts: “Yes. There are going to be shifts and I’m surprised more folks aren’t doing inbound marketing. The sophistication of our marketing lags other industries….”
Listen to the podcast for full answers to these questions and lots more to make your job easier.
Where To Follow Brendan
Books Mentioned By Brendan
Inbound Marketing by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah
Virtual Freedom by Chris Ducker
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