Grow your school enrollment, increase your school population, get more students, are subjects top of mind for every school owner or proprietor. The number of students a school has, or the school’s population determines to a large extent the type of staff the school attracts, the facilities that the school can afford and how much capital the school will have for expansions and other projects.
Also with the COVID-19 pandemic and attendant economic effects, piling bills and dwindling numbers of students in the classroom has become the reality for most schools. Therefore, school owners are always on the lookout for innovative ways to grow their school. For now, the best methods seem to be traditional advertising and word of mouth, with the latter being a more guaranteed format.
In this article, we will explain what we call the Digital Media Referral 2.0 Campaign – using digital media and, more specifically, social media to increase school enrollment. The methods we share in this article work to increase the school population because they are data-driven and tested in the Nigerian market and seen to produce results. Read on to learn how you can implement the Digital Media Referral 2.0 Campaign in your school to increase school enrollment.
What is the Digital Media Referral 2.0 Campaign
Referral Marketing is a method of getting new customers for your business by promoting your products or services to them, usually using word of mouth. Or, to put it more plainly, getting people who are acquainted with your product or service to convince people within their network to buy from you. As you may have imagined, the entire network marketing system, which has proved to be so successful, is based on referral marketing.
When a parent who has a child in your school talks to her neighbour and convinces her to register her child in your school, referrals are at work. Your school may already be using this method to attract new students, but the results are often slow and painstaking. And often, you are unable to summon a large group of parents to engage in the promotion or the parents in your school are not incentivised enough to engage in it. This is why you need the Digital Media Referral 2.0 Campaign to grow your school enrollment.
The referral 2.0 campaign involves the use of digital media to get referrals to your school. It is about creating a community of brand advocates and ambassadors who will promote your school to their network. They will do this at no further costs to you. But first, you must give them a reason. Before we talk about how you will incentivise them, let us discuss why the referral system works.
Why the Digital Media Referral 2.0 Campaign Works to Grow Your School Enrollment
Social media and technology have become an integral part of our everyday lives. In fact, traditional media is getting replaced quickly by social media. One of the reasons is that people on various social media platforms see themselves as communities. You have Facebook friends, Twitter and Instagram followers and LinkedIn connections. The way communications are couched on these platforms makes people feel like they know each other, and many have been on the platforms for several years, so they have a lot in common.
For example, the young Nigerians who joined social media 7-10 years ago as early adopters are today’s parents. They have had shared experiences on these platforms, and some have formed relationships that have gone beyond these platforms. As of January 2021, there were 33 million social media users in Nigeria. That is more than a quarter of the Nigerian population aged 16-65. These are people who are either making decisions about where they will go to school or influencing those decisions.
Therefore, the prime reason why the Digital Media Referral 2.0 Campaign works to grow your school enrollment is that the target audience is on social media. What are they doing on social media? They are sharing, reading and swapping stories. They know that the people on social media have a way of finding the truth about matters. Even with the prevalence of fake news,many Nigerians still believe something they read on social media.
So if there is a prevalent perception about your school on social media, it will positively or negatively affect your school enrollment. Your job is to ensure that the sentiment remains positive. How will you do that? First, you have to be on social media, and then secondly, you must be deliberate about creating a positive perception of your school on social media. When 82.9% of Nigerian internet users who use search engines to search for brands run a search, your school will come up for all the right reasons.
We can conclude that the Digital Media Referral 2.0 Campaign works to grow your school enrollment because we have the right audience for your service on social media. This audience is making suggestions on which consumers base their decisions. You can harness this audience into communities that will share your stories and create referrals for you.
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How the Digital Media Referral 2.0 Campaign System Works to Grow Your School Enrollment
Remember why parents/guardians promote your school to their peers? There could be many reasons. But you will agree that foremost among these reasons would be that you have added value to their lives, and so their mouths speak of the things they have seen and heard. A key factor in making the Digital Media Referral 2.0 Campaign work is how you use content marketing to grow your school enrollment.
You must create the type of content that your target audience loves, and you must create them in ways that are engaging and shareable. Your content does not have to be direct promotions. They cannot be salesy. They should be valuable and entertaining while at the same time demonstrating your authority over the subject matter.
For example, a fantastic idea for schools who want to show subject matter mastery by their teachers would be having their teachers create quick shareable videos where they explain complex topics in three to five minutes. You could focus on any subject but make the videos easy to understand, fun and engaging. So, the key to the success of the Digital Media Referral 2.0 Campaign is the ability to create quick shareable content in various formats that demonstrate subject matter mastery.
These types of videos will have parents enquiring about how they can register their children in your school. And when they enquire, be sure that you are there to respond. And where will they be enquiring? As we learnt earlier, they are making enquiries on social media. So now, let’s do a deep dive into social media and show why you should have created a social media account and what you need to be doing with your accounts now.
Benefits of Creating Social Media Accounts for Schools
- Smoother and effective communication: With social media, schools can communicate faster with many people, including parents, students and prospective parents. Parents and students can also find out information about the school more quickly without physically coming into the school.
- More parental/guardian involvement: Schools that are active on social media help parents/guardians stay informed about what is going on in the academic life of their child/ward. If they need to find out about projects and events taking place, parents/guardians will know that they can visit the school’s social media platforms to retrieve the information. There can also be a group specifically for them either on WhatsApp or Facebook to keep them up to date with activities. It will help parents/guardians to offer performance-enhancing support to their child/ward at home.
- Distance learning: The pandemic has shown that students can learn from anywhere because of social media. Schools that are active on social media could use their platforms to continue educating their students from the comfort of their homes. Although schools have resumed physically in Nigeria, they can still use social media to teach extra classes or weekend classes. Also, as remote jobs and learning are becoming increasingly popular, schools must start training students early for this future.
Social Media Platforms that Nigerian Schools can Use
This is the second most popular social media platform in Nigeria. With 86.2% of Nigerian internet users on it, schools using Facebook have the opportunity to reach a larger audience at the same time than any other platform. You can also use it to share different content formats, including text, videos, audio and pictures.
Instagram is a highly visual platform; it is all about aesthetics. It has about 8.5 million Nigerian users. You can post pictures, videos, infographics about your school activities, show off your school environment or get teachers to explain a complex topic with a short video. Schools can also collaborate with other schools to discuss issues relating to the education sector using Instagram Live.
Nigeria has over 39.6 million users on Twitter. Therefore, your social media marketing strategy is only complete when it includes plans to be active on Twitter. “Active”, because from our research, many schools have a Twitter account, but it is either dormant or monotonous. Many schools find it challenging to consistently post relevant content and attend to enquiries, so their Twitter interaction is all about self-promotion.
If all you do on your Twitter platform is promote your school and its activities, you’re using Twitter all wrong and wasting a genuine opportunity to build a community, persuade potential customers and enrol students. Consequently, operating Twitter without a fail-proof strategy can be as unsuccessful as not having a Twitter presence at all.
It is the most popular social media platform in Nigeria. 93% of Nigerian internet users have a WhatsApp account. Schools can use this platform to reach parents and students. WhatsApp can be used as a stand-alone platform to teach, or you can use it to support traditional learning environments.
If you want to teach on WhatsApp without any interruptions, there is an option to lock the group so that only the administrator(s) of the group can send messages. Students can send in questions after the class when you open the group. Teachers can communicate assignments, project topics through this platform. Students can also submit completed work on the platform.
Like WhatsApp, Telegram is an instant messaging app that schools can use to teach students. The security of data on Telegram is high compared to other similar applications. You can send texts, files, voice messages and also make both voice and video calls. Teachers and students can communicate using any of these features by creating a group or channel on the platform to hold classes and submit assignments and projects without much hassle.
Who can Schools Target on Social Media Platforms?
As mentioned before, 8 out of 10 Nigerian internet users research brands on social media. Various social media platforms also have more defined targeting parameters. So, unlike traditional media, where when you place an advert on radio or TV you hope that your target audience is listening at the time your advert is relayed, on social media, you can target the type of people who you want to see your adverts/promotions based on their demographics, lifestyle, interests and more.
Such paid adverts have been shown to work even better than influencer marketing. Paid social media adverts are one of the top four ways people find products and services on the internet. To be precise, 28% of internet users say they discover new products and brands through social media advertising.
How to Implement the Digital Media Referral 2.0 Campaign in Your School Using Social Media
The principle behind the Digital Media Referral 2.0 Campaign is creating content that internet users will be willing to share because of their entertainment value. While education is usually seen as serious business, 40% of consumers follow brands for entertainment, So how can you put an entertaining spin on your school’s content? Here are a few practical ideas you can use on various platforms to grow your school enrollment.
Facebook: Host your Open Day on Facebook.
Open day is for parents to see the learning environment of their students. But it is also a day to show off what your school has to offer. So why not host your next open day on Facebook and invite the general public to attend. Facebook live videos generate 10x more engagement than regular videos. More engagement will increase the buzz around your school, which will most likely translate into population growth. If you want to learn more about how to use your open day to grow your school enrollment, contact the Slvr Wlf Team.
Instagram: Show off your Teachers’ Fun Sides on Instagram.
You claim learning is fun in your school, right? Then show it on Instagram. You can create fun trivia, puzzles and quizzes that will interest students and parents alike. The thing to note about Instagram is that you just don’t post and leave your audience to themselves. You must engage with their comments because social media is a never-ending conversation. This is why you need a dedicated social media handler. If you need help with showing off the fun side of your school to grow your school enrollment or handling your school’s social media, Slvr Wlf is here to help.
Twitter: Consistently Host Tweet Chats on Twitter
Tweet chats are a great way to establish authority over subject matters. Many educational issues can be the subject of tweet chats. For example, every week, you can have one of your parents answer questions on Twitter regarding their choice of career and how other people can get into the same career. This will create a buzz around your school and in turn help to grow your school enrollment.
There are, of course, other social media platforms that schools can leverage for growth. We will be happy to share these different platforms and practical ways to use them when you book a free consultation with us. But let’s talk about an essential platform that can make or mar your digital presence – your school website.
Your website is pivotal to your Digital Media Referral 2.0 Campaign
Your website is similar to the front desk of your physical school. Imagine if a visitor gets to your school and there’s no administrative office for making enquiries and getting directions! With a website, you’re able to attract clients from any part of the country or the world, especially if your school has boarding facilities.
By the way, your Google My Business page is not a website. Too many schools in Nigeria regard it as such, but it only provides limited answers to some of the questions your prospects have. Although a lot of schools turn up in the local SERP search due to their optimised Google My Business Pages, they still lose out on leads when there is no ‘Visit Website’ tab on their entries. Only a well-designed website can be utilised to persuade visitors into paying customers. A great user experience on your website can help grow your school enrollment.
Your website will help to increase your admission rate when it is optimised for search engines, responsive, organised, reflects your brand and the pages load quickly. If your website is not delivering the desired results, it’s not because websites don’t matter, you simply need to redesign it.
Are you ready to grow your school with the Digital Media Referral 2.0 Campaign?
We know that was a lot to take in. That is why we have created a short presentation with all the highlights. The video will be available for download on Tuesday April 27, so do check back to get it. Rest assured that these methods have been tested and they work.
Every day, more and more brands are buying into the Digital Media Referral 2.0 Campaign and using the methods we outlined to grow their school enrollment. If you have not started using these powerful digital media tools to increase your school enrollment, now is the time to start. If you get stuck or confused on your journey, Slv Wlf is always here to help.