4 Tips for Monitoring Your School’s Messages
Vol. 15 No. 1
Paid advertising, social media sites, newsletters (emailed or printed), admission packets, banners hung around campus, posters throughout your hallways, your marquee—all of these are just a few examples of how your school communicates with its families and community as a whole. Your school’s story—what truly makes your school special—should be incorporated into most, if not all, of your school’s communications.
For most schools, it’s a hybrid effort to distribute messages. Typically, traditional advertising is outsourced to local firms, social media efforts are managed by tech-savvy faculty or staff (sometimes even students), and newsletters are handled by either the Admissions Office or the Head’s secretary. This type of blended effort can be highly effective and time saving for the busy school with limited administration. However, your school’s message can easily be jumbled in the array of materials.
Even the most focused marketing groups and advertising agencies can lose vision of product stories. It is up to the brand, or in this case your school, to monitor your communications. And, there really isn’t any excuse good enough for why your not actively managing efforts to ensure your school’s story is delivered with the excellence it deserves.
So, how do you go about monitoring efforts when you’re not a professional marketing guru and you’re wearing twelve other hats that are all equally as—if not more so—important? We have a few suggestions to get you started.
- Know your school’s story. Your school’s story isn’t the bundle of statistics included in your admissions packets. It’s not how many of your graduates go to Harvard, how many alumni remain engaged, or how diverse your campus is. Your school’s story is why your students go onto Harvard, your alumni continue to support, and there’s a diverse interest in your campus. It’s what happens on your grounds day in and day out that truly makes it unique—it’s your student’s passions and successes.
- Identify key personnel responsible for creating content. Content is a broad term but don’t allow it to overwhelm you. Different faculty and staff—perhaps even students—will have different strengths as far as content creation. Look for those who are sharing on their personal sites and invite them to be part of your Content Team. This might be a teacher who publishes a weekly podcast from his/her classroom, a staff member with an impressively solid Twitter following, or a student with a photographer’s eye and a popular Instagram account. If these savvy sharers have a strong understanding of your school’s mission, even better! Not only can these key personnel help generate and distribute fresh content showcasing your school’s story, but they can also help monitor sites for mentions.
- Utilize free social media tracking software. Trying to monitor all the sites your school might be mentioned on is impossible without the assistance of software. We found over sixty resources that will not only help you monitor who’s talking about your school—analytics are amazing!—but will also help to organize your Content Team and deliver your school’s story across platforms (1).
- Schedule Content Meetings. Social isn’t the only type of messaging you’ll want to monitor—especially if you’re outsourcing advertising. Call a monthly meeting with key contributors and stakeholders to review efforts recently concluded and discuss what’s next. Getting everyone on the same page about major advertising efforts will help solidify content moving forward—and make your story that much stronger.
Additional ISM resources:
The Source for Private School News Vol. 13 No. 9 School Spotlight: Valley Christian’s “I am a Warrior” Campaign
Additional ISM resources for Consortium Gold members:
I&P Vol. 47 No. 7 The Marketing Communications Director: The School’s Bridge
- See Dreamglow's "69 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools"