Okay, Facebook has been in the news in the last few months and the company’s PR team is probably in overdrive and if you believe the news then no one under 25 is using it because they are all now using Instagram or Snapchat. We just thought it might be helpful to remind colleges and training providers to not fully believe the hype and to remember that there 40 million Facebook users in the UK – that is over half the population. Facebook remains a fantastic way for colleges and providers to spread their message and engage with learners, employers and parents.
Understanding Status Updates
The first thing to remember is the importance of status updates. A Facebook status is a post that appears for your contacts to read. Whereas before, Facebook statuses were immediately
broadcast for everyone, now there are plenty of privacy settings to protect the person by letting them choose who can actually read their messages. You can also interact through your Facebook status. Followers and other contacts are allowed to comment on the Facebook status or simply Like the status. Recently, Facebook has added a tagging feature to Facebook statuses. Put @ in the beginning and you are allowed to tag as many as 6 people in a post. Friends and contacts that are tagged will be notified in the same way that they are also notified when somebody else or the status owner has replied a status he commented on.
But why is this important to a college or training provider?
Facebook statuses are what many consider as the very essence of Facebook. Here, learners, employers, parents and other interested parties can interact on a particular piece of information in a casual manner that is way more convenient and conversational than email or even Twitter actually will.
With Facebook statuses also, almost everyone can join in the conversation (that is if you want them to) which makes for a casual promotion of your courses, apprenticeship or your organisation. The Facebook status is a powerful part of using Facebook for your business. The number of Likes and comments for every Facebook status will help your page climb up in its search engine position.
Facebook statuses can also help you with branding efforts. For your Facebook marketing to be successful it is important that you monitor your page carefully, that you keep your status posts enthusiastic and professional at the same time.
It is important to optimise Facebook statuses in order to make them more searchable for potential customers. A good feature to use is Facebook status tagging. What makes this so advantageous for colleges and training providers is that when you tag affiliated employers in the post, it will also appear on their page. Therefore exposing your organisation to employers who may be looking at a related site. You can also do this with community pages. When you tag a community page, you will gain access to millions of potential customers who may have the same
interests as your business.
Facebook Business Basics for Colleges and Training Providers
Some organisations still don’t understand the power of digital marketing and just rely on their websites, which are sometimes shockingly out of date. The benefit of using a social media platform such Facebook is that it is more accessible and to most, more user-friendly than any traditional website will ever be. It gives a sense of friendliness to college or training provider that puts prospects at ease and lends a sense of credibility to organisations who have no website to speak of.
Aside from this, a Facebook page allows colleges and training providers to be more interactive with present and potential customers, getting their feedback for everything from course reviews to testimonials. While it may seem scary because you can be given both positive and negative feedback, organisations should not be afraid because with Facebook it can be
Furthermore, customers who are tired of traditional online marketing such as email, newsletters and online ads will look to the Facebook page to have their questions answered. Having a Facebook page will give your business access to the 40 million UK and 2 billion worldwide users without even having to buy e-mail addresses like what traditional email marketing resort to.
Interaction isn’t limited to Facebook updates and wall posts though. You can also use Apps to provide photos, notes and videos. When using a Fanpage which is the recommended page for businesses (instead of the more personal profile page), you can change the posting ability of fans which allow them to post photos, videos and links to the page. This way, potential customers will be able to see how other customers use the product or service.
Targetting your audience
Through Facebook, you can actually choose who to target just as easily as a paid system such as Google Ads does. Through Facebook, you can choose the location, interests, relationship status, gender, age and location of your target market. Just consider how you can use Facebook to promote your services to potential learners and employers based on the demographic filters.
When demographic data is used with Facebook’s paid advertising features it becomes a hugely powerful system. We do though encourage people to be careful about just advertising for advertising’s sake. It has to be planned, be well designed and budgeted. More importantly, it needs to be analysed. Too often people do not look at the data to see if adverts have been successful and can end up just wasting money.
Using videos to engage your audience
It’s no secret that promoting your business through videos online is one of the most effective ways to attract new learners and employers. Videos are effective for many reasons. They retain a certain novelty that websites don’t carry anymore. Whether for creative or practical purposes, videos can help publicise your organisation in a positive light. You only have to see how YouTube has turned plenty of struggling artists into overnight sensations to understand the impact of video for business branding.
From a professional standpoint, significance is key when it comes to posting videos. The video and its content will ultimately depend on what the purpose you want it to serve and whether it will help your courses, programmes or organisation to be seen in a positive way in the public eye.
So, before clicking that post button, ask yourself whether the video will help you achieve your goals. Will it generate interest? Will it help customers learn about your courses more effectively? Will it differentiate you from other colleges or training providers? Whatever the goal is, always be sure to validate before posting.
There is no doubt that YouTube is one of the best places to distribute your videos. But, did you know that Facebook is also a fantastic place to share videos on and it’s relatively easy to do especially if you already have your videos on Youtube.
TIP: Short videos are more effective than long ones especially when paired with Facebook. Even instructional videos have to be short. It is a good idea to keep the clip down to five minutes or less. You don’t want to take the chance that your audience may not view it completely if it’s too long or too difficult to play.