LinkedIn for schools: how to grow and engage your communityJuly 4, 2019
LinkedIn, it’s the social media platform for professionals. Known for its ability to enable networking, drive career opportunities, and connect like-minded professionals from around the globe, LinkedIn is an invaluable tool for any professional looking to expand their network. However, it’s usually for these very reasons the platform is overlooked by those who work outside the corporate world.
As we’ll explore throughout this post, LinkedIn can play a valuable role in your school’s social media strategy. Consider for a moment the diverse audiences that make up your school community. How many of these people could you potentially engage with through LinkedIn? Chances are, there’s quite a few. If your school has a LinkedIn profile set up, but it’s not getting the attention it deserves, you’re missing a huge opportunity to engage with your parents, staff and alumni. So, let’s look at how you can leverage LinkedIn to grow your school community.
Update your information
If your aim is to attract more visitors to your school’s LinkedIn profile, ensure that your profile information is accurate and up to date when they land on it. Head over to the ‘About’ section on your profile and make sure everything from your school size to your contact information is current. While you’re there, you’ll also want to check that your profile image is a recent, high-resolution image of your logo and that you’ve added an engaging header image — just like Brisbane Grammar School have done in our example below.
Post content regularly
Like any other social media platform, LinkedIn allows you to create and share content with your network connections. The goal here is to curate engaging content that your followers will want to click on, read, and share. Keeping your audience in mind (parents, staff, and alumni), you’ll need to tailor your content to match their interests. This means that you won’t be able to do a quick cut and paste job of content you’ve already shared on Facebook or Instagram.
Instead, you’ll need to craft your content to be informative and professional. In recent years, Linkedin has expanded its offering to various formats and features for you to post your content. Let’s walk through the kind of posts that can perform well for schools on Linkedin.
Source: Sheldon College LinkedIn account
Engaging text accompanied by an appealing image is the most classic type of LinkedIn post, and it’s popular for a reason. But if your goal is to enhance exposure and engagement, you also need to think outside the box. Just because LinkedIn is a professional platform doesn’t mean you can’t get a little creative when it comes to the content you post and how you format it. Here are a few ideas to maximise the potential of your LinkedIn posts.
A LinkedIn poll is a single question survey you can create and share for your network to respond to. To set up, simply select ‘start a post’ and tap the graph icon named ‘create a poll’ on the bottom right of the box. Your connections will receive a notification when you publish a poll to help you generate some initial attention.
People can’t see the poll results until they first submit their own answer, so make sure your question will spark curiosity, and you’ll be sure to have plenty of takers. This is a fantastic way to compel authentic engagement with your profile, particularly if you encourage people to elaborate on their answers in the comments.
Not only can a poll provide you with useful marketing insights, as the owner of the poll, but you can also see all the users that voted on an answer, which may help you generate some warm leads for enrolments.
Documents and Podcasts
Users on LinkedIn can now upload documents, presentations and podcasts directly to their feed. This is a great way to offer a deeper dive into a topic you’re posting about. You could share a PowerPoint slide deck from a recent guest’s presentation or a PDF of your School Values.
If your school has a podcast, you can publish it as a post on your feed or share an episode of another relevant podcast you’ve heard recently. Think of LinkedIn as a networking event with all the brightest minds in your industry — what are you bringing to the table?
Breaking news in the education sector? Major announcements that will affect your school? Join the conversation by posting about the news on LinkedIn. Be sure to keep the tone positive by avoiding anything too divisive or political. If there is news specific to your school such as a major staff change or the launch of a new initiative, definitely share an announcement on your feed. It’s a great way to get the word out to your existing school community, plus it helps promote your school as an active, exciting place to prospective parents.
Blog posts aren’t just for trendy influencers and Silicon Valley tech gurus they’re the perfect format to explore ideas with just the right amount of weight. Consider it the Goldilocks of online content; longer and more in-depth than a social media caption, but shorter and more relaxed than a full-blown feature article. The key is to be informative and thoughtful whilst keeping the tone personable, so it helps if there is a distinct voice to put to each post. For example, you could have a faculty member weigh in on a hot topic, or even a guest post from a student who embodies your school’s culture.
Encourage employee advocacy
It’s no secret that engaged employees are the lifeblood of every successful business, so it stands to reason that employee advocacy should be a part of your LinkedIn strategy. By leveraging your current staff members as brand ambassadors and encouraging them to like and share your content, you’ll be able to increase your reach and engagement while fostering a sense of community. What better way is there to boost brand awareness and attract new talented teachers to your school than by having your staff as brand advocates?
Position your staff as thought leaders
Thought leadership is all about building a professional brand, and LinkedIn provides the perfect platform to do just that. You don't need to be the smartest person in the room to be a thought leader, but you do need to be engaged with your industry, enthusiastic, and ready to share insightful information with your network.
Encourage your staff to become thought leaders and build their professional brand by leveraging LinkedIn to publish articles, share key insights from industry events, post relevant news, and engage with other leading thinkers. Of course, with all things, it's important to remember that consistency is key! You're not necessarily going to become a thought leader overnight, but if you commit to posting frequently, your content will reach your audience.
Rules of engagement here are the same as in real life; nobody likes a know-it-all! The finest experts in any field are always committed to continually learning. LinkedIn is the perfect place to help facilitate this growth, and asking thought-provoking questions can be just as compelling for your network then presenting your ideas as gospel.
Celebrate your Alumni
LinkedIn is the ideal platform to keep in touch with your alumni members and encourage the next generation to enrol at your school. A great way to engage with your alumni is to post regular content celebrating past students’ achievements. Take the post from Clayfield College below, for example, this past student’s scholarship award is a brilliant way to demonstrate that Clayfield College produces academic excellence.
Reach out to your alumni members to learn where they are now and ask them to share their achievements. The more noteworthy or newsworthy the story, the more traction it is likely to gain. By tagging the alumni member you’re creating shareable content that will maximise the post’s visibility on other news feeds.
Source: Clayfield College LinkedIn account
Don’t forget the visuals
Even if you’re posting a well-researched long-form article, make sure you always include at least one photo. Research shows that LinkedIn articles with images get 94% more total views. It will help your post catch people’s eyes as they scroll through their feed and is more likely to draw them in to read the rest of your post. Sharing about a recently renovated facility? Don’t forget the before and after shots — everyone loves a makeover! Or how about a video of highlights from a recent event?
If you have a block of text to post, consider formatting it into a series of images with a quote on each tile. These can be posted as an image carousel, with users swiping through to the next image to continue reading. This is a great way to share information whilst maintaining visual interest.
Review content performance
Now that you’re in the zone and posting up a storm don’t forget to look back and check how your content is performing. This is more than just reviewing the number of likes; LinkedIn offers a range of analytics about your visitors, updates, and followers to help inform how your page is performing.
You’ll want to pay special attention to the analytics around your updates, as this tells you everything you need to know about how people are engaging with your content. Some key metrics to review include; clicks, click-through rate (CTR), comments, likes, and shares. Understanding the analytics behind your content will enable you to better gauge which posts are resonating with your audience and which posts need to be altered to maximise engagement. As with all social media, the aim of the game is getting the right kind of content in front of the right kind of people, and LinkedIn analytics is the perfect tool to help you achieve just that.
Want to learn more about how you can use social media to grow your community? It all starts with learning which social media platforms are right for your school.