Growing your school’s online presence with social media

Jarrod Brown
Jarrod Brown

Most Australian schools already have some form of social media marketing presence. Whether it’s a Facebook Page, Instagram account, Linkedin profile or Twitter account, these platforms are essential to promoting your school events and increasing the brand awareness of your school. 

In 2023, social media has overtaken Google as the highest-earning advertising channel, with global ad spending reaching more than US$137 billion.

However, with more than  2.9 billion monthly users on Facebook, one billion on Instagram and 556 million on Twitter, worldwide, it’s easy to have your school’s voice lost among the sea of accounts.

While growing your social media presence takes time, effort and consistency, there are a few tricks Australian schools are using to boost their engagement and grow their digital audience. 

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Posting timely and seasonal content

Showcasing your schools seasonal activities online can pique the interest of teachers, educators, families and students. By creating a virtual buzz, your school can foster a sense of community with your audience before they step foot in the classroom.

Try sharing student case studies, showcase artistic school experiences, promote extra-curricular activities and post themed events around the Australian seasonal calendar.

Macquarie University has used this tactic to become Australia’s most-followed education institute on Facebook (733,000 followers). Regularly posting student achievements, seasonal events, topical articles and more, their digital content finds success as it’s shared between alums, past and present. 

Get creative

Your audience expects a constant flow of fresh, creative content – so don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Get creative with your social media posts and stand out with branding unique to your school. 

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Avoid chasing trends and plan your social media publishing schedule with a content planning calendar. This will give you the time to think about how you want your school’s digital marketing campaign to evolve, helping you stay ahead of the competition and create uniquely fresh content.   

Use relevant keywords

Include relevant keywords in your social media posts to improve your search engine results. According to a 2022 survey, 71 per cent of digital marketers say using keywords is their top strategy for improving their SEO (search engine optimisation). 

Add keywords related to your school in your profile name, description and the content you share. These keywords should include unique identifiers like your school name, sports teams, location, and related words. 

Use SEO tools like Google Keyword Planner, Keyword Surfer and Semrush Keyword Checker to optimise your keywords. 

End your content with a call-to-action

CTA’s (call to action) are a great way to organically increase your school’s social media engagement with your audience. Adding a prompt to like, share, comment or visit your website on your content will generate more activity and reach a wider audience. 

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When sharing your next school event, posting a new blog post or promoting new merchandise, try including a CTA that prompts your audience to visit your website or affiliated social media pages. For example, include sharing buttons on your posts, landing pages and sales pages (for school merchandise) to prompt your readers to share to their digital network.

Follow the 80/20 rule 

On average, brands on social media aim to post 80 per cent “useful” content and 20 per cent promotional content. This approach allows your audience to engage with your school’s branding without being bombarded with promotional material, helping your school build trust and grow your online community.

While still including a CTA, useful content should educate, entertain and solve problems for your audience. These posts could include school blogs, timely school news or inspiring school imagery. 

Use geotagging

Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow you to tag your content with a location. Doing so allows your content to appear for people searching for a school in the area, making it easier for potential students to discover your campus.

A 2021 study showed that 82 per cent of all digital data generated today contain some form of geotagging.

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You can also use this feature to promote sponsors, partners or other stakeholders to get them more exposure and fulfil more of the sponsorship or partnership agreement.

Promote visual content

With the popularity of social media platforms like Instagram and Tik Tok, visual content has become massively popular online. According to the latest 2023 digital marketing statistics, 84 per cent of all digital communication is visual, with 79 per cent of all digital traffic to be related to visual content by the end of the year. 

Your school can ride this wave of popularity by sharing school photos, short videos or light-hearted cartoons aimed towards your audience.

The University of Melbourne is a shining example of what visual content can look like for social media marketing in the education industry. Posting engaging visual content of its unique campus and entertaining video reels on its Instagram account, the University regularly updates the page with relevant seasonal content targeted towards current and future alums. 

With more than 170,000 current followers on Instagram, the University is the most-followed Australian institute on the platform, with The University of Sydney currently second-place at 124,000 followers.

If boosting your school’s social media presence is a pivotal part of your school’s marketing strategy, take inspiration from other leading schools – both in Australia and internationally. Then, engage your own community. By connecting your own students and families to social media posts they’ll love to look at, it’s a positive start.

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Jarrod Brown combines his background in journalism, copywriting and digital marketing with a lifelong passion for storytelling. Jarrod established his journalism career working on the education news and information site The Bursar. He lives on the Sunshine Coast - usually found glued to the deck of a surfboard.