by Joe Faulkner, Schools Marketing Specialist
It seems that a number of independent schools’ marketing teams are coming of age: school websites are beginning to reflect the quality and value of the offering, rigorous record keeping measures are being put in place, and new and innovative ways of reaching out to new parents and markets are being established. With this in mind, should schools be using social networking sites: Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Bebo, YouTube et al to a greater advantage? What opportunities might be grasped by the canny independent school marketing specialist?
Of course, the social networking revolution is still very much in its infancy. Let’s remember that while Twitter seems ubiquitous (passing the 50million registered users mark last August, according to comscore figures, and was growing at a rate of 16% per month), the site’s owners have – to date – failed to capitalise on its market share, with no core revenue stream for the site.
However, social networking is a huge opportunity for school marketers and business leaders to communicate directly to their marketplace - parents and pupils alike. A recent Facebook browsing session revealed that one particular school had an unofficial group with over 800 members, the majority of whom were alumni and sharing particularly positive notes, memories and photographs.
One particular client of mtm’s is now looking to utilise this potential to its advantage. This large indepedent school is planning a significant project to mark its forthcoming anniversary, and is looking to its students and alumni to share memories, photos, experiences and news. Facebook, of course, is an ideal platform for this, offering cost-effective, monitorable, and intuitive opportunities for schools. Equally the campaign is likely to see a range of videos uploaded to YouTube, photos to Flickr and so on.
All school marketing teams should, at the least, have a clear awareness of social media. Monitoring communications amongst all stakeholders is a fantastic opportunity to understand what people really think of a school, and these sites offer a valuable – and free – means of doing this.
Other opportunities abound, from ’tweeting’ updates on sports matches, school events etc to posting recordings of school concerts onto MySpace. For a candid and free discussion about how mtmconsulting might boost your school’s website success and e-marketing strategy, please contact us.
And of course, follow us on Twitter : @mtmconsultinguk and visit the mtmconsulting page on Facebook