How can your school more effectively shout about what it does? There are a few basic essentials every SBM should consider…
Marketing – especially if you have very little experience – can seem daunting, but it might be simpler than think. You may also think that a school doesn’t need much marketing; its reputation is dictated by its Ofsted rating, right? This is partly true, but it’s also important to humanise a school – that is, to put a face (or team of faces) to it so that it appears approachable and caring. This, more than anything, will impact how parents – and their children – view the school. Here are some of the tools schools can utilise to improve their image and shout about what they do.
A strong website
Schools, generally, aren’t known for the quality of their websites – but they can be an enormously valuable resource when it comes to the perception of your school. Consider implementing some key features within your website, such as:
- Quick load time
- Security (as opposed to a website which shows a ‘not secure’ warning at the top of the page!)
- Easy navigation
- Contact details in full view
- Individual staff details
- Details of the school’s ethos
- Quotes from the headteacher or other senior staff
- Testimonials from parents.
Not only do your contact details have to be easy to navigate, they have to actually be fit-for-purpose. This means ensuring that the school’s ‘phone number and e-mail address are staffed throughout the day; the former is a given, but the latter can often be neglected. A lot of people will prefer to email, so make sure this channel is open and paid attention to. Many schools are also implementing systems whereby parents are able to text the school, or send messages through a dedicated and secure portal, which is something to consider.
Parents often like to know what their children are doing beyond the realms of what they’re told at home or at parents’ evenings; this is where a blog becomes useful, not only for the sake of keeping parents in the loop, but also allowing the school to shout about itself and what it does. This extends far beyond the classroom or the sports field and into updates to back-office systems, changes in staffing, all manner of upgrades and any changes to rules.
Schools should absolutely be using social media to do everything outlined above – and much more. Twitter, especially, is an ideal platform for schools as the education community is both talkative and supportive – particularly when utilising the #SBLTwitter hashtag. Again, shouting about what your school does – at all levels – is great for its image, but the use of social media also creates relationships between education providers, as well as strengthening relationships with parents and families.