Creating Unique Social Media Content: 5 TipsMay 22, 2019
A note from Digistorm: This post was originally published in March 2018. We've updated it to include more valuable, relevant content.
Social media has become such a significant way to connect with your community, to the point where practically every school has an Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn — at the very least! School communities have also come to rely on social media as a source of updates and information about their children.
As a result, there’s a whole lot of newfound pressure on school marketers, who must keep their fingers on the pulse of the newest trends whilst creating quality, engaging social media content. If this is something you find challenging, we don’t blame you one bit — it’s incredibly easy for social media to get lost in the crowd of other imperative daily tasks! To help you out, we’ve compiled five must-know tips to keep your content fresh, that you can refer to whenever you feel a little slump coming on.
1. Student involvement
Students at the school shouldn’t just feature in your content — they should come up with ideas for it, too! They’re digital natives who think in likes, comments and shares, so why not give them the chance to provide their valuable insight? Some of your most creative social media content could arise from brainstorming sessions with students. Be sure to get their input not just on the essence of the post, but what the image should include, what the caption should say and whether you should use tags or hashtags. We guarantee they’ll have a lot to say!
Another way to really include students in your social media strategy is to hand them the reins. They know exactly what they’re doing, so with a little supervision, could create some really cool stuff. Find some trustworthy and dedicated students (school captains are always a good bet) and give them the task of coming up with a completed post each. Or, you could even execute an ‘Instagram takeover’ where your captains post using Stories throughout the day, sharing what they get up to.
Want to get students involved in your social strategy?
Check out our post on Encouraging School Leaders to Connect Using Social Media
2. Weekly themes
Think about starting a weekly post that your school community can come to expect. This is great for consistency, and also encourages regular engagement in a really natural way. We’ve seen weekly themes like Throwback Thursday perform incredibly well in the mainstream, so take a leaf out of this book and see how it could encourage uplift on your school’s channels.
Just like parents know to check for the school newsletter on a Monday afternoon, they’ll soon come to visit your Instagram or Facebook at the allotted time so that they can engage with your weekly themed posts. You could even try and encourage them to post something themselves using a hashtag created for your weekly event.
For instance, say you decide to invent a themed post called ‘Wise Wednesdays’, where you post a quote from someone inspirational (within the school community or not) every Wednesday, accompanied with the hashtag #wisewednesdays. You’ll want to make sure your caption includes a call to action asking parents to share their own Wise Wednesdays post — hey, it might even go viral!
3. Using motion
Did you know that most social media algorithms actually favour video? We’ve seen it in action on Facebook — video posts are far more likely to show up in the average newsfeed than text posts, shares or even photos. Plus, it’s way more interesting to consume than a regular article, as it requires less concentration but fosters more engagement.
So, it may be worth considering whether you could feasibly create some video content for your school. You can start small here—no videographers necessary—by focusing on short videos shot on a smartphone or digital camera. Be as creative as you can, and don’t forget to think about your target audience and what they enjoy. Maybe you could start with a mini interview with a student or staff member, or a visual tour of a certain classroom. See how your engagement looks and go from there!
It’s also important to consider the tools you have at your disposal through Instagram and the iPhone camera app in particular. There are a ton of options for diversifying your video content, including slowmo, time-lapse, Boomerangs and more. Have a play around and don’t be afraid to test what works.
4. Creating incentive
Competitions have quickly become a tried-and-true method for gaining genuine, quality engagement from your followers. It’s a no brainer — is there anyone in the world who doesn’t want free stuff? We didn’t think so… So, the next time you have a ticketed event, raffle or giveaway coming up, try running this competition via social media.
This will accomplish two things for your online profile, the first being better engagement. When people want to win, they’ll pull out all the stops, so ask them to complete a few tasks for their entry to be considered — this may be following, liking your post, commenting on it, sharing or a combination of all four. By creating this small yet surmountable gateway, you’re guaranteeing better engagement from your followers. It’s just a simple click of a button to like a photo, after all!
The second benefit of running a social comp is an improvement in ongoing engagement and follower retention. Once you’ve established yourself as someone who runs competitions, the likelihood of your new followers sticking around (and giving you props every once in a while) is much higher. Incentivising engagement is a must any time you’ve got a few extra bits and bobs to give away.
5. User generated content
Finally, let’s chat UCG — also known as user generated content. This is content that your social media audience has created themselves...sounds crazy, right? It’s actually super common, and a very effective way of showing prospective followers that your engagement is authentic. So, how do you actually drum up UCG?
Start off by simply reaching out to your school community, via whatever method you prefer, and asking them to share relevant images on social media using a hashtag or by tagging you. Let them know that in turn, you’ll share your top picks of the bunch on your own accounts or your website. After a little while, you’ll probably notice you don’t have to prompt them anymore, but instead, they’re willing to publish their photos on their own accord.
Not only will encouraging UCG create a spike in engagement, but it will also give you the opportunity to build a library of valuable and relevant social media content. Make sure everyone that submits their posts knows that you may use their images for other types of content, such as in blog posts or emails.
Here are a couple of examples from our schools of unique and engaging social media content!
We hope these tips have sparked your imagination and that you’re ready (and excited!) to start creating unique social media content for all your channels. Need help planning your social media content? Check out our posts:
- How to Build the Ultimate Content Calendar for Your School
- Social Media Management Tools For Your School
- How to Plan and Run a Successful Social Media Campaign
- Setting Goals for Your Social Media Presence
If you're looking at incorporating social media into your marketing strategy, we recommend checking out our inbound marketing for schools resource.