Did you know that 54 percent of social browsers use social media to research products? Social media is slowly becoming a reliable go-to for more than just entertainment. It’s where brands and consumers can find one another. And given that people are so engaged on social platforms, social is a great channel to capture attention and build advocacy.

But the marketing and branding benefits social media offers aren’t just exclusive to companies and products. Having a social media strategy is especially crucial for educational institutions. Yet, so many K-12 schools find it hard to adopt a social strategy that they can stick with and benefit from. 

As BenchmarkONE prepares to release its email newsletter software built for schools, we’re thinking a lot about the other various ways school communicators can create transparency, communicate with parents and students, and build awareness. Let’s dive deeper into some of the most compelling benefits K12 schools can see by having a social media strategy. 

1. Helps Establish School Brand

Each school, whether they fully realize it or not, has a specific brand. They all have a logo and school colors, as well as other brand-defining elements. When schools build up their social media presence, they can reinforce not only their visual brand but also the feelings and impressions they’d like their brands to evoke. In essence, social media allows for schools to build out their emotional brands, too. 

By sharing footage from pep rallies, the school outreach program, or rehearsal for the spring musical, schools can define their brand and show, instead of tell, what they’re really about. 

2. Provides Brand Awareness 

Schools thrive on enrollment numbers. The higher the enrollment, the more needed and desired the school is. This is why they need to make sure that their key demographics are aware that they’re out there and that they’re a solid institution for consideration. 

Social media is an excellent channel for expanding reach because it puts schools on a platform where tons of people are already engaged. Ninety percent of Millennials, 77 percent of Gen X’ers, and 48 percent of Baby Boomers are active social media users. By using a platform that taps into a substantial amount of people from three generations, schools will be able to make their presence more known to parents and students alike. 

3. Provides Another Channel for Communication

For school communicators, keeping parents, students, and their community in the know is their most important job. But it isn’t always easy. They don’t want to inundate parents by emailing too much, which can be tiresome and annoying. What’s more, email newsletters and other traditional outreach tactics can get lost in the shuffle, leaving crucial information missed. This is why having another channel to communicate any important updates or details is key. 

Obviously, not all updates make sense for social media, so judgment will have to be used. But at least by being present on social, schools can use another way to be available and transparent to their followers, which are both essential for effective communication. 

4. Instills School Pride 

Everyone wants to look back on their educational institutions with pride. Social media can help schools build that pride by keeping alumni and current students up to speed on the fun and creative programs they’re offering. 

Videos that highlight how schools give back, show graduation ceremonies, or a glimpse into the students’ artistic talent will tap into the heart of what schools are all about. It showcases the wonderful things they’re able to do for their students, and how their students are benefitting from it all. Seeing those kinds of candid and real experiences are great for instilling school pride among students, teachers, alumni, and parents. 

5. Can Help with Enrollment Numbers 

There’s a domino effect when schools take the initiative to give people a deeper view of what is happening behind closed doors. And when doing so also allows them to build more brand awareness and school pride, naturally, enrollment numbers could be positively affected.  After all, a social media strategy is part of a marketing strategy, and when implemented well, schools are sure to see an uptick of interest, and enrollment will eventually follow. 

6. Can Help Attract Quality Educators 

Schools are only as good as educators and staff that run them. And most people want to work for institutions that reflect their values, are a fun and enjoyable place to be, and that offer the right kinds of challenges. Having a social media strategy that highlights the educators within the school walls is a great way to attract other quality educators when job openings become available.  

Some ideas are to have teachers do “account takeovers” where they show followers a day in their lives, peaking into lesson plans, classes, and any other school-related activities they’re involved in. Or schools can highlight one teacher a month, and share fun facts about them and what makes them special. Either way, highlighting what staff life is like is a great way to attract quality talent. 

These are just some reasons why k12 schools should have a social media strategy. While it can be hard to implement, the effort is totally worth the outcome and can lead to improved communication and advocacy among students, teachers, and parents alike.