Why? Perhaps it's because they are often more social people. Or maybe it's because their working hours are often spent with kids, so they look to connect with adults when they aren't. Either way...if the afterschool market in one you seek; a social media plan is a must! Here is what we've learned to incorporate into our content marketing strategy when communicating with the education field on the National AfterSchool Association's social media channels.
Which Channels are Most Popular?
While Facebook is still the king of social media and cannot be ignored, Twitter is where NAA sees a lot of engagement especially from those we consider "Influencers" (more on that later). Pinterest is also a popular platform. NAA's "Pin of the Week" has been a favorite for years, as afterschool professionals consistently seek ideas for implementing enrichment activities into their programs. Instagram is the fastest growing channel for us and we know that soon we'll need to consider adding Snap Chat, too, as a younger demographic of afterschool professionals join the field. LinkedIn is probably the least effective channel for getting engagement with content, as educators tend to use this platform mostly for job hunting. We typically reserve this channel for content most relevant to career aspirations.
Make Your Content Count
The reality is, if your content doesn't matter in the minds of your audience, they won't see it anyway unless you're paying for it. So, put your time and energy into content that you think your audience will find valuable and relevant. The objective is to drive action, but you just won't sound as self-centered and salesy. This is called Content Marketing and you can find more about that here.
So, what types of content does the afterschool community value? It can vary depending on their role, but know that this is an audience passionate about making a difference. They want the best for the youth they serve, aim to please their families and seek out ways to make their often-challenging jobs easier. These people always appreciate receiving a free tool or resource that does this.
Work the System
Thanks to the recent and more profound changes in Facebook and Instagram your pages are now being ranked, which determines how much you'll make an appearance in your followers' news feed. That's why it's more important than ever to engage with your audience by liking and commenting on their comments, initiating conversations, etc. We also suggest you use special features like Facebook live, Instagram stories, etc. The social platforms like to see that you're using their new stuff and will therefore reward you with a higher ranking.
The work day for many afterschool professionals doesn't start until the afternoon. We post throughout the day but find that content posted after 3:00pm and into the evening gets more engagement.
Partner with Influencers
Educators by nature love to be influential. Not surprising, right? Consider partnering with Social Influencers (people who are very active on social and have lots of followers) or organizations like NAA, who already have an established audience and offer sponsored posts.
Think Video First!
The stats speak for themselves. According to HubSpot, 80% of all internet traffic will be dedicated to video by 2019. Here at NAA we find that content with the video has over 50% greater reach than regular posts. We caution you to consider the length, however. Unless your content is super compelling, keep your videos short. Subtitles will help your engagement, too!
The Art of Retargeting
Behavioral retargeting (also known as behavioral remarketing, or simply, retargeting) is a form of online targeted advertising by which online advertising is targeted to consumers based on their previous Internet actions. You can retarget on Facebook simply by adding a pixel (a piece of code) to your website. You can also retarget by offering additional content you think might be of interest.
Those who work in education LOVE hash tags. Experts suggest using two on Twitter and up to 11 (!) for Instagram. Don't bother using them on Facebook unless it's something you'll be using consistently. For example, NAA posts weekly using #FridayFeelGood .
Want more insight into what makes the afterschool market audience respond and act? I'd be happy to consult with you on your goals and objectives.
Written by Jill Carroll, Marketing & Media Consultant, with The National AfterSchool Association. "AfterSchool of Thought" is a blog series with tips and advice on marketing to the afterschool community.
Have questions or seek assistance on how you can better promote your offerings to the afterschool market? Contact Jill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 866-252-7108.