How To Build Up Your School’s Online Potential
Make your website an engagement hook
When someone searches the name of your school, you want to be in the first results, right? And that is a fair ambition since a report conducted among fresh graduates found that 65% of them ended up on a college’s homepage, while searching for admission data.
Still, setting up a website isn’t enough. If you aren’t exposing it in the right way, your reach will be significantly reduced. Design a worthwhile website experience by considering several elements to integrate when shaping the overall structure.
- Make it easy to access. Tweak the usability and think of the natural flow your audience would have for information searching. Create content categories according to this flow.
- Develop relevant content and post frequently. Showcase your school culture in a friendly way while keeping your professional tone of voice. Post materials that students and parents could have access to. Try to differentiate your story angle and give them the specific infos to make an informed choice.
- Drive participation and offer access to register for different school events and other programs through online registration forms.
- Seek to incorporate creative, interactive tools that drive parents and students to your site frequently and improve community involvement.
Turn your blog into a conversation
Having a blog for your school these days is a no-brainer. But let’s get down to what you want to accomplish with it. Communicating important news to the community? Gathering feedback from students and parents on important issues? Maybe educating potential students and parents on the strengths of your school?
Some of the leading online schools and colleges use it as an effective recruiting tool. In order to make your blog engaging and worth visiting, make sure the tone of voice and point of view are approachable for all your readers – talk with them not at them. Make your content more insightful by conducting periodical surveys on what their subjects of interest might be.
Offer added value with mobile apps
Developing a school app just for the fun of it can be an appealing experiment. Though, you want it to have a positive effect on your online visibility. So, simply repacking your website content won’t play magic tricks. Nevertheless, if integrated within a well structured communication plan, with an original and helpful concept behind, will surely payoff.
Crisp news that students and parents can have access to, school happenings or other extracurricular activities, short videos with tips and tricks for students or parent advice, choose anything that can improve the overall experience. You can even consider linking your school app to maps or bus routes. So before everything, start asking yourself this – what extra value can our school app offer to our audience? Clarifying this will make the difference.
Create a video experience with YouTube
Watching videos has turned into an international sport, and if you’re not using this medium to share at least part of your message, you’re not effectively reaching your prospects. Showcase everything that’s attractive about your school – clips of school events, sporting events, testimonials – in order to create a real viewer experience. Stick to around 5 minutes clips since the attention span of your prospects might not last longer. You can also sign up for YouTube for Schools and let your students access thousands of free high quality educational videos.
Extend your school topics with Pinterest
A picture is worth a thousand words and Pinterest knows how to turn that to your advantage. When setting your school Pinterest account consider making it a valuable resource for your audience – an experience that also offers the flavor of being part of your school’s community.
Make it informative while keeping it entertaining. Try to balance the photo content by uploading pictures related to your school and some other matters that might be of interest and extend your school brand – places to visit, recommended books or movies, parenting tips or DIY project ideas. Once everything is set up right don’t forget to link your account to your email signature, website and Facebook page.
Foster parent relationships with Google Hangouts
Since parents are part of the decision making when choosing a school, you definitely want to have them on the same page. And Google Hangouts is just the proper tool to create a meaningful connection with them, gather insights and clarify their possible dilemmas on the curriculum.
From one-on-one connections to bigger virtual chats, Google Hangouts offers you the chance to have a deeper conversation about various topics as social development, peer relationships, homework situation or future career recommendations. Make that connection count!
Turn your data into a story, with infographics
Besides your inspiring school presentation, your prospective and current parents also want to know your school’s stats. Handing them white papers with reports and numbers could be overwhelming. You have to make them understand the return of their investment in an easy way.
Effective and visually compelling, an infographic can showcase your key statistics that can make a difference in choosing a school over another. If designed in an original way and with an interesting approach and interpretation of numbers, an infographic has the potential of going viral and become a tool that can be used by current parents to share positive word of mouth in the community. Give it a try!
Of course there are several other tools out there that you can use to enhance your online presence. The mighty Facebook and the chirpy Twitter aren’t a mystery anymore, even though harnessing their power to the fullest is still work in progress.
But with all things considered the main takeaway is this – simply being present online won’t differentiate your school. Make that presence count by appealing to parents, students and the whole community by encouraging involvement in order to foster loyalty.
This post was first published on eLearning Industry.