How to Promote Your School Online
Update Your Website Content.
Investigate what families see when they search for your school on Google. Likely, they are viewing your school’s individual webpage and your school’s GreatPhillySchools page. Make sure all information is current and relevant.
Your school’s web page should include important information such as a mission statement, admissions information, and deadlines. Most importantly, have a reliable phone number and email for families to ask questions or contact the admissions counselor. We recommend creating a FAQ page or document to feature all relevant admissions information in one place.
TIP: Be sure to view your school’s website on a desktop computer and a mobile phone to make sure users are able to easily see all information on both devices.
Create Virtual Opportunities to Showcase Your School with Prospective Families and Students.
There are multiple ways to do this, ranging from open houses to info sessions, all of which require strong content and a bit of creativity.
Virtual open houses are a great way to engage with families who want a better look into your school, but can’t be there in person. Ideally, these would be live events with deliberate communications to promote the event to prospective families. In your open house event, we recommend hosting a virtual tour of your school and an information session in which families can interact with school representatives.
Virtual tours give prospective students and families a better look into your school’s atmosphere. Virtual tours can be pre-recorded videos or live interactive events, all of which can be posted to your school’s website. TIP: Videos should be short and sweet – you do not have the viewer’s attention for very long, so keep the material concise and engaging. Also, be sure to smile when you’re not speaking! Here are some ideas on how to host a virtual tour:
- Zoom Virtual Tour: If you have access to photos of your school, you can use these to your advantage. Hold a Virtual Tour on Zoom, and simply change your Zoom background according to which area you are speaking about. For example, if you were discussing your school’s sports program, you could showcase yourself in front of the football field.
- Panorama Virtual Tour: If you have an iPhone, your camera has a panoramic option, which allows you to take 360 degree photos. If you have an Android, there is an app you can download that allows you to take panoramic photos. With this feature, you are able to capture photos of an entire room – which is perfect for a Virtual Tour. See an example here where the images move – but, still-images work as well.
- Produce a Pre-Filmed Video: You could film a guided tour through the school’s building on an iPhone (or a professional camera, if available). Many universities across the country have implemented Virtual Tours, so we encourage you to search for ideas. Remember, your video does not have to be this advanced or complicated. You could film your video all at once, or just combine all of the clips together without adding any extra footage. To compile and edit your video, you can use iMovie, Vimeo, Windows Movie Maker or VideoPad. Please contact us if you need support or additional tips on how to create a video.
- It is important to consider the security factor when hosting live video events. While it is easy to livestream on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, you are unable to control who can join the meeting, and there is no screening process before they join.
- For Zoom and Google Meet, you should only share meeting links to those you intend to invite. We do not recommend posting these links publicly. On Zoom, take advantage of the Waiting Room feature, or remove an unwanted guest from a meeting. On Google Meet, you are able to remove participants as well.
Keep an Active Social Media Presence.
Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are free marketing tools to easily connect with your community. Many schools use primarily Facebook and Instagram to keep in contact with current and prospective families. Start an account for your school, if you don’t already have one, and make sure to post consistently, at least two to three times per week, with relevant information. Then, gain followers by asking your school community to follow these accounts.
It’s easy to create a post, but it is important to make sure that the content is relevant, clear and concise. Add more value with links to learn more and eye-catching images. People are frequently drawn to high-quality photos of students, staff, your school, or even a graphic created with Canva, a site where you can create your own social media templates. Here are some best practices for what to include for each social media platform:
- Facebook posts should contain a clear message, helpful resource/link, and an image (if applicable). See a model Facebook post example.
- Instagram posts should focus on a high-quality and relevant image, as well as an informative caption. Add extra visibility by including up to 30 hashtags and tagging users within the post. See a model Instagram post example.
- Twitter posts should be straightforward and to-the-point, and only gives the most important information. is meant for very short messaging, as there is a 280 character limit. See a model Twitter post example.
TIP: Create Your Posts in Advance Using a Social Media Calendar. Balancing the regular messaging on these social platforms can require a lot of effort. Save time by using an online social calendar that will allow you to create and schedule posts in advance. Buffer is a great option, but it does cost a monthly fee. Free alternatives exist that will help you with the basics of scheduling.
Maintain Contact With Your Community.
Communication is key in finding and engaging prospective families, whether directly through personal conversation or indirectly with the help of your current families.
It is extremely important to have an established method to maintain communication with your prospective families. Through your publicly communicated email or phone number, develop a protocol to respond or call back within a set amount of time. You can set up an automatic reply or voicemail acknowledging the message was received and set the expectation for when you will reply. It may be helpful to track communications and follow up attempts through a spreadsheet.
With an active social media presence, you may find families also reach out through those platforms. Develop a system to ensure messages and post comments are checked and responded to.
Also, use your biggest supporters to promote your school: your existing families and former students. Another way to spread the word about events and updated information is through email newsletters. Ask your families to share news with their community, either through forwarding messages, sharing social media posts, or posting on neighborhood forums. Send similar messages to your alumni mailing lists.
For an Additional Cost, Gain More Visibility through Paid Advertising.
You have the option to promote posts or your school’s website that you would like to get a bit more traction online. For instance, it would be most beneficial to promote a post about an application deadline or admissions event that is time-sensitive. These options are not free, however – but can be helpful if you have the budget to do so.
Through Facebook, you can easily boost an existing post easily to reach more people and identify your target audience. Learn how to boost a post here. Also through Facebook is the option to create a targeted advertisement, or a sponsored post, through Ads Manager which spans across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and/or Audience Network. Though it requires more set up, Ads Manager allows for even more detailed targeting of advertisements and tracks advanced performance metrics. Learn more about Ads Manager here.
Another option is to boost your website through Google Ads, which works to move your ad to the top of organic Google searches. Essentially, it allows you to boost traffic to your website by linking to targeted key terms a user may be searching for. Learn more about Google Ads here.