We knew before joining the Academy that Facebook could be a great way to reach our parent body, but we just weren’t getting the response we knew was possible! Our first step after joining the Academy was to switch our Facebook profile to a page so that we could garner more likes from our parents and the broader community. Then we started thinking about what content would create the most buzz…
It was obvious after a few weeks that posting pictures was a primary way to go – everyone loves to look at pictures of their kids! But in addition to drawing more traffic to our page from parents who want to see pictures of kids, pictures that capture kids also gave us the opportunity to showcase the program and events going on in school. We were able to choose the pictures that showed our beautiful campus in the background, or a Zionistic program, or an academic achievement or some other message we wanted to be projecting to our current and prospective parents. With catchy titles and questions to go along with the pictures, we were able to illicit responses from our Facebook friends. And by including current students in the pictures, we gave parents a reason to visit our Facebook page, and even more beneficial for us, we gave them a reason to share our posts on their personal pages. Allowing us to be seen by their Facebook friends as well meant that the messages we were transmitting about our school were able to reach a wider audience, and could entice prospective parents that we didn’t know were even out there.
Pictures also helped us reconnect to our alumni (we switched our alumni profile to a page as well shortly after joining the Academy). Once a week, on “Way Back Wednesday,” we posted archival pictures that alumni got excited about – and they not only reconnected with Westchester Day School, but also with classmates with whom they may have lost touch over the years. The feelings of nostalgia – “Can you believe how young we were?!” – put positive thoughts about Westchester Day School in the front of their minds. We also were able to re-post Westchester Day School pictures on our Alumni page. We learned that alumni were excited to see pictures of current-year performances and events that have been going on annually for years, and could comment on how well they remember their own “insert performance here.” It also allowed them a chance to see how much things in the school have changed and evolved since their time as a student.
Allison Lyons is the Director of Admissions at Westchester Day School. Allison enjoys working on a beautiful 26 acre campus on the Long Island Sound.
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.