The opportunity to participate in the Darim Online Social Media Academy is one of the best things to happen to our school. When we started our school Facebook page about a year ago, we used the white paper titled Best Practices for an Admissions-Driven Social Media Strategy as our guide, and had a volunteer help us get started. The postings were sporadic, and did not have much consistency. Since we started the Social Media Academy, we have created an editorial calendar to ensure our posts are consistent with our branding, so that we can tell our story in a fun and compelling way. The result has been amazing. For months, our posts were reaching maybe 100 people, and now with the implementation of the editorial calendar, each post is reaching between 200-500 people.
With the ultimate goal of driving admissions, it can be difficult to measure success through social media marketing, but I believe this process has given our marketing efforts a boost through planting a seed in the mind of audiences that are not so connected to the school. It is difficult to know if potential families are paying attention to posts, or if one’s initial encounter with the school through social media is what will get them through the door for a visit.
That being said, we had one of our greatest feelings of success in the last few months, and I believe it can be directly attributed to our participation in the JDS Academy. I received a message in my email from a family who had seriously considered sending their child to the school a year ago but decided they needed to give free, public school education a try before spending the money on private school.
“I’m checking in again about the application process… This year has been a good one for O. Overall…. I am thrilled for the children at KJDS that their experience is so good, but it honestly pains me when I see your posts about M , and compare it to what O. is doing. The differences are stark. .. Our financial situation hasn’t changed, but there are always choices to be made in life. So, I’m thinking about this again. It’s been lovely to hear about all your adventures through Facebook. I was especially intrigued by your comment about M. evaluating his strengths and weaknesses. Is that something all the students do every year? Thank you, M.”
She was responding this this post:
This experience reinforced to us the power of social media. Now that we have a strong editorial calendar in place, our next goal will be to guide and train parents to be “social media ambassadors” and create more posts that share their children’s experience.
We found another added bonus to our admissions process is keeping connected with families that have applied. It has been interesting to note that as soon as a family tours the school, and is seriously considering enrolling, they often will ‘like’ our school Facebook page.
Miriam Esther Wilhelm is the founding Head of School at the Stanford Eisenberg Knoxville Jewish Day School. She has enjoyed the journey of taking the school from a start up to a growing and thriving Jewish Day School.
The Jewish Day School Social Media Academy is an intensive program designed to help Jewish Day Schools advance their strategic use of social media in areas such as communication, marketing, community building, alumni relations and development. The 2012-13 nationwide cohort of 20 schools was generously supported by The AVI CHAI Foundation. Each of the schools will be sharing insights from their experience through blog posts here this spring with the tag #jdsacademy
The 2013-14 cohort is currently in formation. If your school or community is interested in more information, please contact Lisa Colton.