Marketing to Teens & Tweens with Social Media

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McAuley-PinterestDid your high school have a social media club? Probably not if you were born before 1995! If you do work for or attend an educational institution then you’re definitely aware of the power of social media to spread and promote school-related news and events.

Is your social media marketing focusing on the right platforms to reach your students, staff, alumni, and prospective students?

This week, we bring in Catherine and Kathleen from Catherine McAuley High School to talk about their social media club and what they do to promote school events.

Big Ideas:

  • Who am I talking to today?
    • Hi, I’m Kathleen O’Brien.
    • And I’m Catherine McBrady.
  • You guys are both part of the social media club over at McAuley, correct?
    • Correct.
  • Tell me about McAuley. What is McAuley High School?
    • McAuley High School is an all girls college prep school in Portland, Maine.
  • Tell me about your social media club.
    • Ericka Sanborn, who is the director of marketing for McAuley, came to us the summer before our junior year and suggested we start a social media club. She picked us out of school and wanted to start marketing on different platforms.
  • So, in fact, the students are doing a lot of the social media marketing for the school?
    • Yes. They’re in charge.
  • So recently you guys have been broken up to focus on one specific platform. So, Kathleen, what are you doing?
    • Mainly I do Twitter. I’m in charge of all the tweets that McAuley high school puts out.
  • How often are you tweeting?
    • We try to do it at least once a day. It can go from 1 to 2 times a day depending on if something big is happening in the school.
    • Sometimes we have more dull periods but usually once a day is our goal.
  • Is that through the official @McAuleyHS twitter handle?
    • Yes.
  • And how about for your own use. Do you tweet out under your own name?
    • I don’t tweet much under my own name.
    • I tend to go in under my name and retweet that Catherine McAuley High School has tweeted just to help spread the word.
  • How do you get more followers for Twitter? Or is that part of your game plan?
    • It is. We try to engage in our audience which tends to be current students who like to retweet us or talk about us so their followers hear about us more.
    • Those followers can include prospective students and parents who tweet us.
  • So Catherine, what do you do?
    • I’m the McAuley Instagram.
  • So what are you doing for Instagram?
    • The goal is once a day to take a picture of anything around the school or anything we’re trying to promote.
    • If any cool things are happening I’ll take a picture and use the McAuley hashtag which is #mcauleyhs.
  • Is this more for the alumni, the parents, the students, or prospective students?
    • I would say it’s a lot of students and prospective students. Alumni not as much.
  • Because they’re just not using Instragram the way that the kids are?
    • Right.
  • Do you get a lot of followers on the Instagram account?
    • We’re noticing more and more each month. Probably prospective students.
  • What other platforms are you guys using as part of the social media club?
    • We have used Pinterest and Facebook.
  • So for Pinterest, how is that working out for you?
    • Pinterest is not exactly one of our best social media outlets we’ve used this year.
    • It hasn’t gotten a lot of attention. We’ve found it’s not exactly the best site to use for the promotion of the school.
  • Could it be used better for getting in front of alumni and parents? Or are you not seeing that kind of interaction at all?
    • I wouldn’t say we’re seeing much interaction with anyone.
  • You guys are on Facebook. What kind of interaction are you getting on Facebook?
    • We get a lot of alumni on Facebook. That’s really their platform, their generation.
    • It’s a lot of “remember this from your high school days.”
  • Is it that a lot of prospective students aren’t using Facebook? Is Facebook “dead” for kids?
    • Personally I feel Facebook is on its way out for the younger generation.
    • I’m not saying it hasn’t lessened in popularity, by any means, but I feel like a lot of seventh graders are wary of having their kids just have a Facebook account and do whatever they want so it might play a factor.
  • Do you think there are any platforms that you might try next year that you didn’t try this year?
    • McAMaybe try Google+ or LinkedIn.
  • Do you think any students would use those two platforms?
    • There was some talk about creating a Tumblr account for McAuley because Tumblr is wildly popular with kids our age.
    • We haven’t done that yet but I think that might be in the works for coming years.
  • How about Snapchat. Is that something you guys use on a personal level? Because I know a lot of brands are now trying to figure out how to use Snapchat.
    • I use Snapchat personally, but I’m not sure how that would work as a marketing phase.
    • We were talking about Vine for McAuley as well..
  • So what would you guys do for videos 6 seconds long for Vine or 15 seconds long for Instagram?
    • Probably big moments in school.
    • Recently I did a video for the last 10 seconds of the state basketball game and that got a lot of attention.
  • What kind of posts, regardless of platform, are getting a lot of interaction and which ones are falling on deaf ears?
    • Anything that has to do with basketball. People associate us with our basketball and our reputation so if we post anything about basketball then it instantly gets a lot of attention.
    • Also, we found out that we’re a school of all girls and that we’re a big fan of what we call “sappy tweets,” which are those tweets like “we’re so proud of you,” and things like that.
    • The feel good tweets that girls like to see and say, “awesome, my school supports me in everything I do. They’re proud of what I contribute to the community.” Supportive messages that tug at the heart strings.
  • What kind of posts are not working for you so far?
    • Any asking for interaction between McAuley and prospective students, like “let us know, tweet at us” isn’t working so hot.
  • That is interesting because we always say in marketing that you have to ask for the sale or the tweet and there have been studies that show that has been very effective. Maybe it’s because the age group you’re targeting is more cynical or more aware of that kind of approach and that feels fake to them.
    • Right.
  • So, the social media club year one has been invite only. What’s gonna happen with next year. A couple of the kids are graduating out. How are you going to go about getting students for the social media club?
    • We have been asked by Ericka Sanborn, who moderates this club, to keep an eye out for students who we think would be trustworthy because we have to look at people’s personal accounts like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook or whatever it may be. Seeing if they’d be a right fit, so to speak.
    • Because we’re honestly putting that name of McAuley in the hands of the students so we want to make sure that they’re responsible and that they know boundaries and that they know what’s appropriate to tweet, post, whatever it may be and what’s not.
  • Are there any other changes that you can think of that would improve the club for next year?
    • Definitely using our platforms more consistently so we don’t have stretches of silence.
    • Getting used to a schedule every day we found that planning a calendar for what we’re going to post is extremely helpful and helps us on track.
  • With social media club, a lot of has been about marketing the school, have there been any other skills that you think you’ve picked up here that are going to help you in the workplace?
    • Absolutely.
    • Social media is all about communication and communication between whoever it may be is just crucial to whatever you may do later in life.
    • It’s learning how to communicate ideas with other people and things like that.
  • Now you’ve found that anything you share that involves a famous member of your staff seems to go viral at least on a small level. Tell me a little about that.
    • Sister Edward Mary is an idol at McAuley. Everyone knows who she is. You say “sister” you’re talking about Sister Edward Mary.
  • So you’ve used this a couple of times; you’ve gotten her involved in your social media and the things that she’s involved with tend to get shared more?
    • Yes.
  • Any parting words for The Marketing Agents podcast listeners?
    • We’ve learned so much and we’re looking forward to what this club can become in the future.

       

  • Juicy Links:

    Rich Brooks
    Social Media Student

  • Rich, I almost drove off the road when I heard the girls mention that Tumblr was very popular among teens and tweens. I keep hearing about Tumblr, but I’m not very active on it… maybe I will give it a try.

    • Brandon, what did I tell you about driving and listening! 😉

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