Facebook is a marketing giant. In fact, if Facebook was a country it would be the most populated country in the world!
This means using Facebook as part of your school's marketing is simply a good idea. With a population of 1.86 billion users (as of the end of 2016) it is likely the vast majority of your community, the parents currently at or interested in your school, are Facebook users.
We have listed 5 advanced tips to help you get the most out of the marketing behemoth.
 Verify the Page
As a business, your Page is eligible to be verified by Facebook. This means you are officially recognised as an organisation, and parents will be able to find you more effectively. Not only this, but this little tick by your name becomes a badge of security - when people see it they will feel safer about liking and interacting with your Page.
There are a few criteria that should be met before you can attempt to verify your school's Page:
- Have a profile picture (the little, square thumbnail)
- Have a header image (the long, rectangular picture at the top of the Page)
If these are met you should see the option to verify in your Page's Settings.
How to verify your Page
- Click Settings at the top of your Page
- From General, click Page Verification
- Click Verify this Page, then click Get Started
- Enter a publicly listed phone number for your business, your country and language
- Click Call Me Now to allow Facebook to call you with a verification code
- Enter the 4-digit verification code and click Continue
It is also possible to verify using a business document. Simply follow the same steps but click Verify this Page with documents instead, at the bottom-left of the window that appears. You can then upload a picture of an official document (e.g. phone bill / utility bill) showing your school's name and address.
Merging Unofficial Pages
You may have noticed that Facebook has an unofficial / unmanaged Page of your school. These are created when people tag or check-in at your school without using your official account (perhaps your account wasn't set up at the time).
After you have verified your Page it becomes possible to merge the official with the unofficial - nice right! Sometimes, Facebook will do this automatically for you - double nice!
This is nice and simple to do:
- Click Is this your business? below the Page's cover photo (on the unofficial Page)
- Follow the on-screen instructions
- Click Merge [your school's name] into a Verified Page you manage
Please note that:
- People who liked and checked-in on the unofficial Page will be added to your verified one
- Posts, photos, reviews and the username from the unofficial Page are deleted.
 Create a 'Call to Action'
Facebook added the Call to Action button to business Pages towards the end of 2014. A call to action is nothing new to marketing - and having stood the test of time a simple, effective way to get interaction.
As a school you want your community to primarily be using the Contact Us button - driving queries directly to a school email address or phone number.
Adding a Call to Action button to your Page
- Go to your Page’s cover photo and click + Add a Button
- Choose your call-to-action, and enter the URL for your website
- Click Create
- Choose the relevant Call to Action button (i.e. Contact Us)
Once you've created a call-to-action button, you can track the number of people who have clicked on the button. There are two ways to view this information:
Hover over your Page’s Create Call to Action button and then hover over View Insights to see how many clicks it’s received in the past seven days
Go to This week on the right-side of your Page and hover over the box showing the name of your call to action
 Use 'Insights' to get demographic data on parents
Insights are Facebook's term for analytics. By making use of tools such as Insights, you are able to start answering one of the most primary marketing questions: WHO IS YOUR AUDIENCE?
Getting lots of engagement on your posts is great - it's what you are looking for in one sense. But, getting lots of engagement from circles that are outside your community does not necessarily translate to the one thing you want from your school's marketing: enquiries.
Insights gives you the opportunity to start tailoring your content to suit the demographics which match your community.
You should already have a basic idea of which demographics you are aiming your marketing at - i.e. age groups, geographic location, general interests, spending habits - and this is all through analysing the parents that already have their children in your school.
In using Insights, and taking the next step, you can start analysing the individual people who are encountering your brand on Facebook. This allows you to actively curate the content that resonates best with your demographic and thus give you an idea on what your community wants to see.
 Upload native videos
Right now, videos are kicking up a storm in content marketing. Their popularity is so high that Facebook is actively pushing video content up on Newsfeeeds.
This means that utilising video content as part of your marketing strategy is a proven, effective way to get more engagement.
Facebook allows you to upload videos directly, or natively, (in the exact same way you would a photo) - instead of sharing a URL from a channel such as YouTube. There are various benefits for uploading native videos:
- You are creating a gallery of video content on Facebook: In short, this means your community will be able to find your content easily. If you had shared a video via a link the user would have to trawl your Posts looking for it.
- It creates better reach: This means more engagement! Recent studies have shown that natively hosted videos have a 135% increase in organic reach over videos hosted on other platforms and shared by link. This is true even when compared to photos and images.
- Editing tools: Facebook has a basic video editing suite built into the platform. This gives you some customisation on the video itself and how it looks when seen / played from your Newsfeed. Facebook's editing features allow you to:
- Choose a thumbnail
- Choose to have your videos autoplay (if users have this enabled)
- Add subtitles and/or captions
- Add a call-to-action to the end of your video
- Improved analytics: Hosting videos natively means you get to see how people react to it more efficiently - thus moulding your marketing strategy. On Facebook their is a video section within Page Insights. The improved analytics will allow you to see:
- How many views over 3 seconds and
- How many views over 10 seconds
- Most viewed / top videos
- Level of engagement (likes / shares)
 It's not a #hashtag game on Facebook
#Hashtags on Facebook do not have the same effect as they do on channels such as Twitter or Instagram. Understanding the art of what should go into Posts is important, especially when looking to keep your community engaged (which should be all the time 😉).
Research shows that Posts with hashtags get less engagement - so why look to go against this evidence.
Here are a few ideas for creating top, engaging Posts on your Page:
- Questions and Posts with images achieve the highest level of engagement. These are Posts that your community can actively share, comment on and talk about
- Short form Posts (less than 50 characters) are interacted with the most - people want quick to read, easy to digest Posts (preferably with an image) and not to spend their time reading essays
- If you want to use long form then link to it - don't put it all in a post. Blogs are a perfect place to do this
- Touching on the point above - embed videos (i.e. from YouTube) so they auto-play in a user's wall
[BONUS TIP] Use Facebook Live
Live-streaming services are coming thick and fast on social media. We predicted Live-streaming would be a big trend in 2017, and it looks like our prediction is already fulfilled! So, why should you be using it?
- Google searches for "Facebook Live stream" have risen 330% since the Facebook Live rollout
- Facebook Live videos are viewed 3x longer than standard videos
- Live-streaming will continue to dominate this year!
Facebook has a wealth of tools which can help drive your marketing to your community more efficiently. In understanding these tools, and using them correctly, you are giving your school a boost in standing out against your competitors.
Remember, Facebook is massive! This means that while you can reach more people, and it is also likely more of your parents are using Facebook over other channels, there needs to be an effective strategy in place - otherwise your content will be washed away and not seen.
We are here to help! If you have any queries regarding Facebook and social media please do get in touch, or leave a comment below.