Educate Plus SIG

Community Engagement Through Technology | EducatePlus SIG Notes

It was great to see everyone again (and a lot of new faces) at the Educate Plus special interest group meetup today. After my recent family vacation, I’m revitalised and keen to dive back in. I have a heap of cool stuff to share in the coming months.

There were a lot of great ideas and stories shared today from various people about what has worked for them in the past and what they have seen work for other schools.

Here’s a quick rundown of my notes from today and some of the hot points I thought were quite interesting:

  • Niki Dowding from John Paul College shared a great little strategy they have just implemented that worked really well to boost their Facebook page engagement. I didn’t catch the whole story but It had something to do with animal cards. (*Note – I’ll have to interview Niki about that sometime to find out the details)
  • Frustration – Using multiple different software applications within the school to manage student data. Problem being they don’t integrate together or sync the student data and therefore requiring double handling by staff. My thoughts – This is likely always going to be an issue (but I am working on a solution). New software comes out that has great features and does the job better than previous software. My approach is to develop plugins for our upcoming software that sync’s data with the major student management systems.
  • SMS – seemed to work well for reminding users about upcoming reunions or special events. Cuts through the noise and the numerous emails people get.
  • Campaign planning. Using Hootsuite. Angela said she is looking for a new platform. I would suspect most schools aren’t even at this level of social media posting yet. This is still somewhat new in the corporate world. There is a lot of confusion and debate around posting duplicate content and what will actually get your content seen or filtered out. *More to follow about this topic.
  • Boosting Facebook engagement. I shared some details about our campaign for NCC that took “Likes” from 300 up to 800 in a few weeks. *Would you like to know more about this?
  • Quite a big discussion about Printed vs Digital. Which is better. What do Parents prefer. I think the majority of people realise that digital is where it’s at and going, but we explored the value of printed material and the fact that hard copy material can sometimes make more of an impact on a parent.
  • Making print material more engaging. One idea explored was putting links or a QR code in printed material that encourages people to scan it or go to the website to find a special audio/video presentation from the Principal etc.
  • Fundraising ideas – Buying keys on a piano, buying elements in the periodic table, buying seats in the auditorium, buying car park spaces. These are all quirky ways that donors feel they are actually buying something tangible and also contributing.
  • Email Newsletter. John said a strategy working really well for them is a weekly newsletter that contains just a couple lines of text and then bullet points of various events/stories parents might be interested in clicking on to find out more.
  • How to get parents to remember their parent portal username and password. There were a couple different ideas shared here, but my argument was that this is all heading backwards. New technology is all about “Single Sign-On” where users can simply authenticate to services using their Facebook login, Twitter Login, Google login etc. *I will share more about this when we release our upcoming software.

There was quite a lot more discussed in the meeting and I’m sure everyone got a lot of value from attending. I got a ton of ideas and insight into how to make community engagement through technology easier for school marketing executives.

Please let me know if there is anything here you would like to know more about and what you think are some of the big challenges schools are facing with engagement through technology?


Using Personality In Your Marketing

Using personality in your marketing will have a dramatic effect on how many conversions  your website receives.

Most school websites lack personality and come across as very institutional. It’s the way things have always been done but it doesn’t do much to connect and engage with the website viewer.

In this video I talk about what I’m currently doing to enhance the websites of the various schools I’m working with by putting faces to names, and names to positions. Specifically for the enrolment process. This is a crucial part of every schools marketing efforts. The better a job you can do to get enrolment enquiries, expressions of interest, and paid applications, the better chance a school has of growing.


5 Tips For Schools Marketing Online

Welcome to the first episode in my new podcast series titled “Online Marketing For Schools”. In this video I give you my top 5 tips on what you should be thinking about when it comes to your online marketing campaign and your school website.

  1. Purpose:
    1. Think about what action you want visitors to take when they land on your school website. This could be primarily to enrol their students or at least input their name and email address so you have an opportunity to connect with them in the future.
  2. Target Audience:
    1. Who are you targeting? Identify the different audiences that your website will attract or serve. This could be parents looking for a school for their children,  current students, alumni, and parents of the current students to name a few. 
  3. Channels/Funnels:
    1. Plan out a specific action step for each target audience. What do you want them to do when they reach your home page? Make it easy for them to find what they are looking for and also reach an end goal you have designed for them. This could involve a number of different pages they click through or something as simple as clicking a button to RSVP for an upcoming event.
  4. Engagement:
    1. Do you know how long visitors stay on your pages? Is your content engaging enough for them to read through the whole page or click through all your action steps. Social media is also a hot point when it comes to engaging your audiences because it is so effective. A lot of schools are finally jumping on this bandwagon and seeing excellent results.
  5. Tracking:
    1. To improve upon anything you must track current results right? Try Google Analytics if you are not using it already. It’s free and gives you a nice graphical view of how many visitors are coming to your website, which pages they are viewing, and we can also setup advanced funnel tracking to improve conversions and identify weak spots in your action sequences.

Thanks for checking out this website and video series. My aim for this podcast series is to give you great information and be able to connect with you on a regular basis through online video.

I have lots of techniques and strategies I can share with you. Please leave me your feedback below, and your questions or suggestions on what you would like me to talk about in future episodes?

Talk soon,

Mike Leembruggen