Every time I’m having a chat with a school or university marketing and communications team, one of the challenges stands out: scarce resources.
If you place yourself in the shoes of a school communications team, you’ll quickly realise that there are multiple stakeholders to serve with content. For example, you might need to tailor your message to current and future students and their parents, teachers and other employees of the school; in many places the government and the public funding school’s operations, and alumni and donors. Most schools organise events, sports competitions, and other communal activities too. And if you happen to work for a university, there are internal and external research teams and usually a bunch of faculties with specialised requirements.
Let’s be honest. I don’t have a silver bullet or the funds to solve the resourcing.
But schools and universities have some pretty cool examples of how to embed context-specific social media feeds on websites, display screens, and other digital services. Those curated feeds help to make sure all the information is available in the right place, at the right time, without any additional work and resources.
Just like any other organisation, schools typically create a social media plan aligned with their marketing goals. Most schools have at least a few active social media channels, and they often set up additional accounts for the most important themes, events, and sub-organisations. To give you an example, The George Washington University has eight Twitter accounts for the central organisation alone - and most of the schools within the organisation have their additional accounts and hashtags too.
Even if you don't have a massive number of accounts for your organisation, your team is most likely using hashtags in their social media posts. It might even have created user-generated content campaigns asking their students to mention a hashtag. With tools like Flockler, you can store all the mentions of a specific hashtag in your content, and mentions by others, and then display the latest content on a particular page on your website based on tagging. One piece of content created for social media channels can serve multiple, specific topic pages on your website and other digital services without any additional effort. Just make sure you’re adding all the relevant hashtags to your social media post, and Flockler shows the right piece of content on a specific page.
For your inspiration, here are eight examples of schools and universities displaying social media feeds on websites, digital signage, and other digital services:
Cheltenham Ladies’ College
One of the clearest use cases for Flockler is to create a news and social media section on your school website, combining the latest news articles and social media content. Cheltenham Ladies’ College has created automated feeds pulling in content from Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and they add posts from other social media accounts mentioning the school too.
There aren't many people who would follow all of a school's social media accounts, and some people in your audience aren’t active at all. By creating a social media hub for your school website, you can increase the reach and engagement of your content.
University for the Creative Arts
In addition to the homepage or news section on a school website, embedding a social media feed can make an otherwise static page more vibrant and keep it updated with fresh content automatically.
The University for the Creative Arts’ login page for their Student Portal features the most important links for students alongside the latest news from the University's social media channels.
Waterloo Catholic District School Board
One of the huge and often untapped opportunities of social media is to engage your audience in creating and sharing content. Organisations sometimes struggle to find their voice, and the content might come across dull, but the same message shared by our family and friends sparks likes and comments. People trust people, and there’s an immediate increase of engagement when the message is shared by someone we know or look up to. The higher the engagement of a specific post, the more people will see it in their news feeds.
Waterloo Catholic District School Board (WCDSB) has created a #WCDSBAwesome campaign and embedded a feed on their website showing posts by others made using the hashtag. These posts, shared by teachers, school employees, and parents, increase the reach and brand recognition of WCDSB on social media channels. By encouraging their community to share positive feedback on social media channels, they are reaching out to key stakeholders from the local community and parents who are often selecting the first school for their children.
Harvard Kennedy School
With Flockler, you can gather all the content you’ve created and then categorise it based on the topics of your overall content plan and hashtags. Without any additional work or costs, you will have a feed of all content and context-specific feeds to display on your website.
That’s what Harvard Kennedy School has decided to do with the Flockler platform.
They show a generic Instagram feed on their homepage.
And a hashtag feed on the Commencement pages.
The George Washington University
For universities and their marketing teams, it’s hard to imagine anything more powerful than engaging their students in creating content and sharing their positive feedback with friends, family, and followers. The authenticity of this content is what makes it so successful - and students will, quite naturally, seek to maximise the number of likes and comments too.
The Women's Leadership Program at the George Washington University highlights the voice of students on the program page. A carousel of social media posts gathers the latest posts by the organisation and also students participating in the program, helping them to develop their own identity and leadership though social media.
Wasatch High School
A school's content and posts by students can travel fast in social media channels - and with tools like Flockler, they are easy to gather and display on your website. But the same content you’ve already gathered can be displayed on other digital channels and tools without any additional work or costs.
One of the most excellent examples is the slideshow by Wasatch High School featuring the latest posts by students and displayed on digital screens at school premises. It’s an initiative planned and self-organised by the high school students (with the permission of teachers) to grow the sense of community within classmates. Can you imagine a more powerful platform to spread your message?
Texas A&M University
Most schools and universities organise events and competitions outside of their regular teaching and research activities - and in the same way as any other organisation, social media is an integral part of event marketing for schools. But sometimes events won’t have much traditional content created for their websites to really grab attention.
Texas A&M University New Ventures Competition is open to all Texas-based companies seeking to bring new or enhanced technology to the marketplace. The social media wall with the latest posts from the event’s social media channels is a key section of the homepage, and helps to showcase the momentum behind the competition.
University of Turku
Is your organisation about to reach a milestone anytime soon?
In 2020, the University of Turku in Finland celebrated its centenary. With hashtags #uniturku100 and #uniturku100challenge, a curated feed of social media posts was displayed on a landing page for the event. On behalf of Flockler team, congrats Turku University!