Ask any marketer and they’ll tell you that social media is a key player in their digital marketing strategy. While it's one of the most common channels brands use to communicate with their target audiences, it’s also one that experiences the most change. Take Facebook, for example, earlier this year it made some significant changes to the platform’s algorithm to prioritise more ‘meaningful connections.’

What does this mean? Essentially, it's going to become increasingly difficult for brands to get their content in front of audiences without buying into paid social media. In this post, we’re going to cover some tips on how your school can tackle paid social media — from how to best leverage targeting capabilities to what metrics really matter when measuring ROI. 

Ready? Let’s get into it.

Facebook's still on top

The fact that Facebook has the highest number of visitors out of any social media platform doesn’t come as much of a surprise. But, what you might be surprised to know is that according to Roy Morgan’s recent report on Australia’s social media usage, image-sharing platforms have seen the most growth in the past year than any other platform category. 

If you’re wondering why Facebook’s visitor average is so high compared to other platforms, it can largely be contributed to its vast age distribution. We know younger generations are all about social media, but Sprout Social found also found that 65% of people aged 50-64 use Facebook and 41% of those over 65. So, if you’re looking for a platform that enables you to target a wide variety of age groups, Facebook might be the platform for you.

Always set clear objectives

It goes without saying, setting clear objectives for paid social media is marketing 101. Without them, it’s going to be hard to measure success or prove ROI (an area many digital marketers often struggle with). 

A key thing to remember when setting goals for your paid social media is to focus on what really matters — what are you trying to achieve with this content? Is your goal to attract prospective parents to book a school tour or download a copy of your prospectus? If so, your focus should be on the number of conversions (tours booked and content downloads) rather than click-through rates (CTR) for example.

Practice ‘Goldilocks’ targeting

Don’t let the cute name fool you, the Goldilocks methodology is essential to your targeting strategy. Just like the classic fable, Goldilocks targeting is built on the concept that in order to maximise reach, you need to ensure that when setting up your audiences, the targeting criteria aren’t too broad or too tight (it needs to be just right — sorry, we had to do it). 

Targeting has come a long way in the past couple of years with social platforms really letting you drill down on specific demographics, psychographics, interests, and life events just to name a few. While this might seem like a data-driven marketer's dream, many find themselves taking targeting a little too far in that by the time they narrow down the ideal target audience, hardly anyone fits the criteria. 

So, if the objective of your ad is to reach a lot of people who might be interested in your school, follow the Goldilocks method to ensure you’re not over-targeting your audience. 

Don’t forget about organic

Finally, it’s important to note that if you’re focusing on paid social media, that doesn’t mean that you should completely forget about organic. Ideally, it’s best to have your paid and organic social media working in tandem. While paid social media is undeniably essential to building your school’s brand awareness and reaching prospective families, organic still plays an important role in building trust and authenticity. 

Sprout Social provides an array of tips on how to build hybrid campaigns that incorporate both paid and organic social media. One example is to ‘boost’ (put a monetary budget behind) high-performing organic content to reach even more people. 

Key takeaways 

  • Consider which social media platform is going to target your key demographic
  • Set clear objectives for your paid social so that which metrics to measure.
  • Over-targeting your audience will significantly reduce your reach — apply the Goldilocks method.
  • Don’t neglect your organic social media — it’s essential in building credibility for your school’s brand.
Published 26 May 2020