How to use Twitter’s #OwnTheMoment planner to engage with your followers

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Twitter have just released a very useful calendar that shows key dates in the month. The idea is that you can plan your tweets around popular events, which can increase engagement with your followers. We think schools can really harness this to help prosper interactions.

The reason why this calendar is so useful is that you can plan and schedule in tweets. These are events that could be interesting to your followers. Not every event will be relevant, but there will be some that can be.

Some events will have content that is easily shareable. For example, London Book Fair and Shakespeare’s 450th birthday - this is clearly relevant for schools.

Others are not as relevant, but good content can be driven around it. For example, schools can share their latest football results / cup wins during the FA Cup and Champions League. Rugby related tweets can be sent during the Heineken Cup Final. This is harnessing the popularity of real life events to market your school.

International Jazz Day could feature great content from your school’s musicians.

Maybe you have a pupil who has found success with snooker. Therefore, the World Snooker Championships will be a great time for your school to share those stories.

The Chelsea Flower Show could be a great day to share photos of your school’s scenery.

Successful tweets using this calendar will be based on relevancy and creativity.

Take a look at the #OwnTheMoment planner.

6 Vines To Create Over The Next 6 Weeks

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Vine is a channel that is under utilised by schools. It is a great tool for schools to use to tell stories, quickly and creatively.

You’ve only got 6 seconds, so make it short and sweet! The most successful Vines are those that are either entertaining or useful.

To help get you started with Vine, here are 6 Vines that you can share over the next 6 weeks.

  1. Get your pupils to sell your school
  2. Overview of a sports match
  3. Ask your pupils to share their favourite books
  4. Share some art work
  5. Music performance
  6. Come up with something creative!

Hopefully, these 6 Vines will give you a great introduction to the social channel.

Share your entries with #SchoolsOnVine.

PS: Need some inspiration? Take a look at 2013’s best branded Vines. Wow.

How your school can use #ThrowbackThursday

Throwback Thursday is a weekly trend that is observed on a Thursday, obviously. The popularity of Throwback Thursday has increased recently with celebrities participating.

The idea behind it is that you share old photos, and share memories.

It is most popular on Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram - where hashtags are the slang of those channels.

@HMSG_senior offer an excellent way of using #ThrowbackThursday.

Schools can introduce #ThrowbackThursday into their Twitter strategy, by tweeting photos from the past. This can help engage your current community and also former pupils.

Give it a try and let us know how you use it!

Improving your school’s content with #SocialScore

Our #SocialScore has become the go-to metric for schools to understand how well their tweets resonate with people. We want to show how you can use your score to help improve the content that you share.

Here are four ways that you can better your content using #SocialScore:

1. You are communicating to people

It sounds simple, but it is often overlooked. There are people at the end of a screen looking consuming your content. By remembering this, you tailor your content for real people to share.

#SocialScore is designed to show how people share your tweets.

2. Amplify your content

By not limiting yourself to a single social media channel, but also others, will help Increase visibility.

We’re also seeing schools using sub-accounts that are more focussed on specific sides of the school. If your school does have multiple Twitter accounts, then make full use of it.

We find that sub-accounts often have more engagement. This is because the content is tailored, and specific to an interest. If somebody is following the school’s sports account, then they are interested in sports and much more likely to retweet and share the content.

The other school’s accounts should be used to amplify your content and increase the reach. The key is to ensure relevancy - only retweet content that is relevant to the specific account’s audience.

3. Quality over quantity

If you only have time to share good quality content once a week, then tweet once a week. Don’t tweet because you have to; tweet because you have exciting stories to tell.

By tweeting ‘average’ content, you will dilute the experience and lower expectations. Most of the content you share will be hidden behind a link, and so you want your followers to feel confident that the content behind the link will interest them.

4. Tell stories

People relate to stories, and there are so many stories happening at your school. Share these stories because people emotionally connect to stories. And when there is an emotional connection to a piece of content, people are much more likely to share it.

If you want to find out your current #SocialScore, tweet us @intSchools using the hashtag and we will give you your latest score!

What the WhatsApp acquisition by Facebook means for schools’ marketing

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Hey, what’s up? I’m sure you have heard all about Facebook’s recent purchase of WhatsApp for $19 billion (£11.4bn). It sounds a little crazy, right?

WhatsApp is a free (for the first year, $0.99 per year after that) messaging service. It is a mobile only service, that replaces the need for SMS. So really, WhatsApp doesn’t make much money, if any at all. Why then would Facebook pay $19 billion for it? That’s $42 for each of the app’s 450 million users. And the cost of running this service isn’t cheap.

The reason Facebook has bought it is primarily for two reasons:

  1. It has a huge number of young users
  2. It is mobile only

With Facebook’s recent pursue of Snapchat for $3 billion, it is clear that they are trying to own young people’s smartphone usage.

Facebook know that can’t be the number one social utility on people’s smartphones, without the help from other startups. It isn’t like Facebook cannot develop WhatsApp, or Snapchat, or Instagram - they can (and have tried!).

The problem Facebook has is that people, and in particular young people, will always be on the look out for new, cooler ways to socialise with their friends.

Another problem Facebook has is that adults tend to follow young people. Often, teens are often the early adopters, and adults are the late adopters.

This means that there is almost a cycle with social media usage:

  1. Young people adopt
  2. Adults adopt
  3. Young people find something new
  4. Adult usage plateaus
  5. Overall usage declines

What does this all mean for schools and their marketing?

Simply put, schools need to think similar to Facebook when it comes to their marketing. This means being alert to new social channels, and reacting quickly to trends.

It also means to always look to the future. Facebook has a huge number of users - bigger than any other social media platform, by far. But that doesn’t mean it will always be the case.

Kids move rapidly when it comes to social utilities. That will never change. And we also know that adults will often follow teens when it comes to social channels.

What kids use today, adults will use tomorrow.

Are you using it as part of your schools’ communication strategy? Let us know in the comments. Or tweet us @intSchools.

Getting Started with SEO - The Basics

SEO has become a very important part of many school’s marketing strategies. However, there seems to be a lack of basic understanding of how search engines work. In this blog post, we hope to better explain SEO and search engines.

Interesting Facts

Top 5 Search Engines in United Kingdom (Jan 2013 to Jan 2014)

  • Google – 90.25%
  • Bing – 5.09%
  • Yahoo! – 3.19%
  • Ask Jeeves – 0.41%
  • AOL – 0.33%
  • Other - 0.74%

Click Through Rates for Rankings on Google

  • #1 position on Google receives 32.5% of all click-through traffic.
  • #2 – 17.6%
  • #3 – 11.4%
  • #4 – 8.1%
  • #5 – 6.1%
  • #6 – 4.4%
  • #7 – 3.5%
  • #8 – 3.1%
  • #9 – 2.6%
  • #10 – 2.4%

All other results receive fewer than 2% each.

What is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?

SEO is the process of increasing relevant traffic from search engines. The key is that the search traffic must be relevant. It may look good to rank for ‘independent schools’ but a lot of the traffic will be irrelevant. There will be people looking for schools in Scotland, or for a definition of independent schools. It is much better to target niche, long-tail keywords that are relevant to your school - ‘independent prep school London’.

Why do I need SEO?

Although social media and other types of referrals can generate visits to your website, search engines drive the majority of traffic on the web. This is because they are the primary method of navigation for internet users.

Search engines are so popular because they provide users with exactly what they want to find. They are popular with marketers because they provide targeted traffic – they send people looking for what you offer. 

We typically find that over 70% of school website traffic comes from search engines. And with Google serving over 90% of search traffic, schools are heavily reliant on one company.

How do search engines work?

In order to understand SEO you must first understand the basics of how search engines operate.

Search engines have two primary functions:

Crawling and Indexing - to provide users with fresh, relevant results, search engines must crawl all pages, documents, images, videos, news etc. that the World Wide Web has to offer. They must then decipher and store this information within their huge datacenters ready to serve to searchers.

Answering Queries - inorder to retain users, search engines must provide people with the most relevant content. Through retrieval and ranking algorithms, search engines provide answers to user queries.

How Users Use Search Engines

Whenever we do SEO we always think about the end user and not the search engine. The reason for this is that the overall goal of the website is to convert real person, not a search engine. Also, search engine’s are always changing their algorithm and service to provide a better service to people. If your website is good for the user, then search engines will provide it with ‘brownie points’. 

There are three types of search queries that users usually perform:

Transactional Queries – queries that result in an action such as buying a train ticket or purchasing a song. For a school this could be requesting a prospectus, or arranging a visit.

Informational Queries – when a user is looking for information such as the latest hockey fixtures, or the next open day. 

Navigational Queries – when a user seeks a specific destination online, such as the school website, parent area, or Twitter account.

This should provide you with a good basic understanding of SEO. If you would like more help with your school’s SEO, just get in touch.

3 of our Favourite Videos about Social Media

Video can be a great medium to learn more about social media. There are a ton of videos on YouTube that can be very useful for you. Here are 3 of our favourite videos that you can learn more from. Take a look at some of the related videos too.

Investing in Non Measurable Serendipitous Marketing

 

Why we love it: this video shows exactly how, although social media can sometimes be immeasurable, there is huge value in it. Making an investment (effort, or cost) in social media marketing can lead to random returns, you cannot predict what value will come out of it.

Alexis Ohanian: How to make a splash in social media

Why we love it: this is very much an oldie but goodie. It is almost 5 years old, but this video is still very relevant - it shows how far behind many businesses (especially schools) are. There are real people behind social media and sometimes we forget that. There are fun, interesting stories coming out of schools everyday that should be shared. Social media doesn’t have to be so serious. This is great story about communities, being human, and whales…

The Future of Social Media Marketing w/ Gary Vaynerchuk

Why we love it: Gary Vaynerchuk is a great speaker and advocate on social media. He gets it. There are a lot of lessons to be learnt from this video. A part of this video that we love is when Gary talks about the different types of content for each social channel. Pinterest is for pretty pictures. Tumblr is for more fun, light hearted GIFs. The demographics can be very different for social media channels and it is important that schools choose the right kind of content and voice for each channel.

4 Social Media Predictions for 2014

2013 was a huge year for social media. Twitter went publicYahoo bought Tumblr for $1.1 billion, Vine was launched and Snapchat’s 23 year old founder turned down $3 billion from Facebook (yep, we still don’t quite get that either).

So what can you learn about social media from the last 12 months? Well, social media is certainly making a lot of young people very rich! But 2013 is over. It is finished. Let us look forward to 2014 - the year of social media…again.

These 4 trends are predictions we are making. We’re not being too risky. The first 3 are safe assumptions that you can use to plan a great year for your school’s marketing. The 4th prediction is the wild card. 

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