In our work with schools all across the country, it’s rare we’ve seen one that doesn’t use Facebook as a big part of their marketing strategy. Whether you post to your page, run paid ads or engage with your target market via Facebook groups, there are many different ways to get great results from the platform.
Although, school marketers that have been in the game for a while will have seen Facebook’s effectiveness diminish in recent years. Rising ad costs, declining organic reach, decreasing user engagement levels: all of these issues suggest that Facebook’s day in the school marketing sun could be coming to an end.
With this in mind, there’s one question every school marketer needs to find an answer to… Is Facebook still relevant for your school’s marketing?
The Case For Facebook
- Facebook still offers unparalleled access to many parts of your target audience (i.e. prospective parents, the families of current pupils and the school community). With 88% of 18-29 year olds and 83% of 30-49 year olds using the site, it’s almost a guarantee you’ll reach the people you’re seeking.
- Facebook is a very effective platform for brand awareness campaigns. Getting your school to occupy a prime position in the mind of your target market is no easy feat. But if multi-million pound businesses trust Facebook for this, perhaps your school should too.
- Despite recent privacy scandals and competitive pressures from other platforms, Facebook remains a juggernaut in the social media space. Neglecting it entirely would mean cutting off a significant part of your audience.
- Facebook groups are highly customisable. They’re a convenient avenue to share urgent news (e.g. snow day closures, rescheduling of school events) and offer you the privacy to share updates exclusively with your school community. Facebook groups are a powerful asset when used right, so don’t discount them.
- Facebook’s data targeting is far better than any other social media platform around today. The fact you can target your data by a number of metrics such as job title and location, means you highly target the audience you’re looking to reach.
All of the above points are valid positives to using Facebook. But what about the negatives?
The Case Against Facebook
- The recent data & privacy scandals surrounding Facebook has asked tough questions of the site’s conduct, many of which haven’t been met with a satisfactory answer.
- Facebook has proven to be a less-than-reliable ally in recent years. Algorithm changes have led to declining organic reach as well as increased advertising costs – two negative effects that make your marketing increasingly difficult.
- Facebook isn’t a very effective platform for reaching prospective students themselves. Other platforms, such as Snapchat and Instagram, skew towards these younger demographics in terms of both usage and engagement. Approximately 51% of teens use Facebook regularly, compared to 69% on Snapchat and 72% on Instagram.
As you can see from the points above, there are pros and cons to using Facebook. Two things are for certain, though:
- Facebook is still effective for school marketers, particularly if you employ more nuanced strategies.
- How effective it will be for your school is dependent on your circumstances.
At the end of the day, it’s not a question of if it’s still relevant, but how relevant it is… And the best way to figure out that?
Examine your own results. Look at metrics like your advertising costs and average reach to figure out if you’re still getting good results from the platform. By doing this, you’ll figure out if Facebook is working for you or if you need to start incorporating other platforms as part of your outreach strategy.