Whitepaper Why Schools Need to Embrace Video

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1 Video is playing an increasingly strategic role in reaching students & parents.

2 For schools, marketing is an integral part of communicating with families and community members. Effective marketing can encourage new families to choose one school instead of another in the area if they don t like yours, they can investigate others in the district or neighboring districts with openenrollment options. For private schools, marketing is even more important because families have a higher degree of choice. Many schools are scrambling to find creative new ways to attract and keep students and the funding to educate them. Marketing has become a necessity to attract the students and parents who will pay the fees that keep the school running. When marketing is discussed in the context of schools, it should be thought of in terms of demonstrating accountability. Marketing is the school s opportunity to show what happens to students enrolled in the institution and what parents can expect their children to gain by attending and applying themselves. Which of the following types of social media does your school currently have? (%Yes) Inbound marketing, making oneself easily found and creating content that customers value like video, social media, blogging and the like is the most natural activity for a school to be putting their efforts toward. While the academic and tech worlds move at vastly different paces and education often lags behind when it comes to tech adoption and integration, there has never been a better time for schools to get innovative with video, social media and other online marketing strategies. Schools Are Using Online Strategies Fascinated by the dynamic created by all the new online tools and habits of students, in the Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research conducted the first statisticallysignificant studies on the usage of social media and online tools by US students. That study has since been repeated every academic year and provides a longitudinal snapshot of social media and online adoption by schools. The schools not currently using any online tools were asked if they plan to in the future of those without a Facebook page, 38% plan to create one. Almost half of the schools without a video, blog or Twitter account plan to incorporate them. Thirty-eight percent not currently using YouTube plan to do so in the future. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, blogging and podcasting are the top tools of choice for schools with double-digit adoption increases in the past year. Video continues to be a strong tool with 41% using it. YouTube was added to the study this year, debuting at 86% using the relatively new tools i. Page 2

3 If you are not using social media(s) do you plan to use it in the future? (%Yes) Success with Online Marketing When asked how successful online marketing tools have been for their schools, respondents consistently talk enthusiastically about their experience, especially Facebook (95% success) and YouTube (92%). Do you think the types of Social media you are currently using are successful? (%Yes) What are Schools doing to Market themselves? Schools are learning that in an era of expanded educational freedom, families must now be treated as customers with choices and not as captive audiences. Lawrie Drysdale, author of The Evolution of Marketing: Implications for Schools, says that schools need to face the needs of their customers while students are still enrolled and not wait for them to leave before taking a competitive stance. Professional marketing techniques now appear to be appropriate for schools as they face increased levels of complexity, instability and competition, ii she says. With that in mind, schools are starting to employ marketing tactics to get the attention of parents and students. Here are a few ways schools are marketing themselves as well as some fantastic ways they are incorporating video into them. Video continues to be a strong tool with 41% using it. YouTube was added to the study this year, debuting at 86% using it ~Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research Websites & Blogs Websites are one of the most essential ways for schools to market themselves it s a central source for school and enrollment information and if videos and photos are incorporated, it s a sure fire way to stand apart and inspire parents to enroll their children. Also, if optimized properly parents will be much more likely to come across your school, while doing research on the Internet. Blogs are also a great way to constantly provide helpful and interesting information to parents and students. Page 3

4 Direct Mail Direct mail gives schools the opportunity to talk directly to hundreds if not thousands of parents. It s a great way to reach them and let them know why their children should enroll in your school. Some schools opt to purchase targeted mailing lists so that they can reach families directly in their area or the neighboring ones. Facebook As schools strive to market themselves more, social media has become the norm. In fact, Facebook is one of the most popular tools for sharing information. While schools are pretty much unanimous in their reasons for using the social network, how they are using the tool varies greatly. Below are a few ways schools are leveraging it. Sharing School News Facebook is a great way for schools to promote themselves positively, connect with families and share information rapidly. There are many different types of information that a school can share on its Facebook page. Share what s happening by posting noteworthy happenings around the school via a status update that posts on the Page s wall. If an event is particularly interesting, add videos or photos that tell the story. This is an easy way to inform families. Media to Showcase School Culture Many schools pride themselves on creating a unique culture that not only promotes academics but also social and community development. Facebook provides a great opportunity to showcase this unique culture through video and photos. Sharing Videos Videos are an incredible way for schools to personalize their online presence and easily demonstrate what it is that makes them special as compared to other schools. Schools can add videos that showcase many different things, including: Learning topics, like different academic subjects and age groups Assemblies or school events Community meetings Students, teachers and members of the community discussing what makes the school special Sporting events Plays, concerts and other performances Here, examples of YES Prep Public Schools and The Children s School integrate video and images on their Facebook news feeds. In the YES Prep School example they are also using it as a tool for teacher recruitment. The Page 4

5 Sharing Photos An excellent way to showcase school culture is with photos. Photos can be used to highlight a variety of things, including: Student exhibiting values the school encourages Celebrating students work Experiential learning activities Field trips Assemblies or school celebrations Recognizing individual students for excellence Twitter According to Daniel Brusilovsky of Teens in Tech Labs, 73% of teens online are using social sites that s a huge number, whether it be having their own profile on Facebook, or their own YouTube channel. Most schools have recognized the power of Twitter and are actively engaging on it or plan to do so in the near future. A recent study found that 84% of schools are now on Twitter, up from 59% in iii. Some schools like Liberty High School, for example have thousands of followers and tweets with videos, photos and updates on teaching, life, school spirit and learning. Here are a few other ways schools are utilizing Twitter. Attracting Students By using Facebook, a school can add another layer to their recruitment efforts schools can attract students before Open Houses, for example. With Facebook, a school can share key information like upcoming events/open Houses, enrollment deadlines, links to online applications and resources that may be useful to a family that is interested in enrolling a student. Fundraising High schools always seem to have a need for fundraising and since they can use all the help they can get, some schools have turned to platforms like Twitter to get the word out and hopefully go viral. Incorporating video and uploading it to Twitter is a great way to jump start this effort. Parent Communication So many school districts are using Twitter to reach out to plugged-in parents lunch menus, school board meetings, student work, school celebrations or successes, upcoming events and even discussions about school district decisions are being shared online. Schools report 95% success with Facebook and 92% success with YouTube. ~Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research Page 5

6 Upgrading Underappreciated School Newspapers Some school newspapers just aren t getting the attention they used to. Some have opted to use Twitter as way to aggregate news information, tweet stories as they happen and interact with audiences via questions and polls. Teachers, Kim Powell and Lisa Manes pin about different subjects like Math, Language Arts and Social Studies as well classroom ideas, community and technology. YouTube Schools are using YouTube as a way to provide engaging information and inspire families to enroll their children videos that communicate school spirit, messages from students and faculty and school profiles are constantly uploaded. Here, Deerfield Academy does just that and they do a great job of uploading fresh content and creating a presence on the network. Where to Start Pinterest Pinterest, the virtual pinboard is starting to get the attention of schools. While it s important to pick and choose the social networks you can allocate resources to and some schools are still just trying to get a grip on YouTube, some of the trailblazers have started using Pinterest not only as a way to increase student participation but also to show off the uniqueness of their schools to families. Build a Great Website With the increased use of the Internet, most consumers research schools online prior to having any other interactions with them. In order to attract potential students and families, your website should look professional and include as much information as possible about your offerings and facilities. Optimize your website with phrases that include your school type and location so that it appears on search engine results. Another great idea is to include a video on the homepage of your website, therefore offering more information about your school including academics, students, sports and culture. Work with a marketing agency to create a fresh, current-looking site that makes parents want to stay and read more. Create a Social Networking Presence Reach out to students and parents on websites they frequent by creating profiles on sites like Twitter and Facebook. Post links to videos, pictures, blog posts or articles and announce events that are happening at the school. This will help to engage students and parents and also build a picture of the opportunities you offer. Page 6

7 Reach out to the Community Attract the attention of families who live in your area by planning events that encourage participation. Plan a charity, auction or community festival and ask your students to volunteer while wearing branded clothing. Create a Video The great thing about video is that you can integrate it into all of your other marketing efforts including your website, social media, public relations, advertising and events, like Open Houses. Video is a great way to showcase your school and the benefits of attending it it can bring your school to life like no other type of marketing tool can. Showing, Not Just Telling: Video Marketing Case Study Faced with declining numbers of kids born sixteen years ago, the market in Stockholm was becoming increasingly competitive with schools vying for students. In response, a Stockholm High School hired someone to build the schools online presence via Twitter, Facebook, a website and blog. Within a year, applications to the school were up. Unfortunately the competition responded quickly, also by implementing their own online campaigns with lavish videos made by local ad agencies. In response to this local competition, the school decided to get their students involved by having them regularly post on the blog and assist in building the school s online presence. In particular, a project was set up where they were required to produce videos ahead of the first of three annual Open Houses, the school s key recruitment events. It s just about impossible for teens to remember the days before YouTube and other online video websites. The results were spectacular: The main recruitment video was viewed more than 10,000 times 5,000 times the week right before Open House Another video garnered over 3,000 viewers The students promoted their efforts through their social media profiles; given that on average each student had 450 Facebook friends, the word spread quickly. Given the viral nature of the video, over 700 prospective students attended the Open House to find out more about the school. Having grasped the value of showing, rather than just telling, the students recorded this event to show prospective students just what it s like to visit the school. Applications to the school doubled that year as did the grade-point average for applicants. Not only does this show the value of video, it also shows the value of involving your staff and students. If you can inspire them to become an active part of your video and social media marketing campaign, you can reach larger goals than you would ever expect. Page 7

8 Top Six Reasons Why Schools Should Use Online Video Online Video is Popular 1 Online Video has become a natural part of the day to day web browsing experience. In fact, 39 billion videos are viewed per month in the U.S. that s 211 videos viewed and 16 hours of time spent per person per month iv. Today s internet users want their information presented in an engaging, concise way. Online video content is one of the easiest ways schools can do this. 2 3 Online Video is Persuasive If you are wondering why you need video on your website, the reason is simple: Video Sells. According to Practical Ecommerce, websites utilizing video reported a 30% average increase in conversion rates. Particularly for student recruitment, this is important and school marketing teams are starting to take heed. Online Video increases Discovery Online video is playing an increasingly larger role in Google search results. In fact, according to Forrester video increases the chance of a front-page Google result by 53x. Schools should be thinking about creating a YouTube channel, in order to host their video content. Families searching for what you are offering are much more likely to discover you if you have video (and written) content that reflects what they are seeking. Schools need to face the needs of their customers while students are still enrolled and not wait for them to leave before taking a competitive stance. ~Lawrie Drysdale, author of The Evolution of Marketing: Implications for Schools Online Video can be Creative As schools get more and more creative with their marketing, some are even going the route of replacing paperback yearbooks with video yearbooks. This is among the many creative applications that video can offer schools. Video can be used Online & Offline While the main distribution place for video is the web (ie. school websites, YouTube, etc...), video content of course has many uses in its physical form too anywhere from presentations, DVDs and USB sticks. With so many applications and places to engage viewers, using video content in some form is an obvious choice. Online Video is Affordable If you think online video is out of your reach, think again. While once video production was very expensive, it s now much more accessible. Work with an affordable video production company that is able to meet the schools marketing goals and budget.. A Look at 2013 Marketing Budgets Schools are increasingly going online to reach and attract students and their parents. The following diagram illustrates the planned increase in budgets for digital marketing tactics in 2013 v. Page 8

9 Students & Teachers are Going Digital Too Getting on board with technology isn t just helpful for school marketing, it s also helpful in the classroom, for students and teachers and they are embracing it wholeheartedly. Technology is playing a major role in transforming and improving the classroom and overall education experience vi. Here are some ways this is happening right now. Students get their learn on with YouTube for Schools Making school fun, yet mentally challenging has puzzled educators for a long time. Since video has wonderful engagement and retention qualities, social video channel, YouTube has set out to offer global educational video all in one place. It s just about impossible for teens to remember the days before YouTube and other online video websites. YouTube can bring people together from worlds apart it can archive lectures and encourage responses. With the recent introduction of YouTube for Schools, they are getting into classrooms to educate students, without all the distractions of the other, non-educational videos that can be found on the site. Now there s no excuse for keeping video out of the classroom. YouTube worked with teachers to create more than 300 playlists for subjects like Science, Math, Social Studies and English Language Arts as well as playlists that were made according to grade level. YouTube playlists can even become part of the curriculum with a syllabus that breaks down the semester into required reading, tests and video watching. of their homework assignments vii. Even those teachers who weren t currently using YouTube were impressed by its potential in fact, 73% said they thought the video sharing site was somewhat to very valuable for classroom use. Video in the Classroom can... Engage students Spark conversation Bring lessons to life Create more learning opportunities from other teachers Why Video for School Marketing For schools, deciding to use video is a no-brainer people of all ages including parents and students are all over the social web and engaging with social media and online video. With so many people embracing the online world, schools have no choice but to integrate it into their marketing and student recruitment plans. YouTube beats Facebook & Twitter for Educational Video Potential Where education is concerned, YouTube beats out both Facebook and Twitter. A study conducted by Brabson Survey Research Group and Pearson found that teachers overwhelmingly saw more value for secondary education in YouTube s video sharing portal than they do the other popular social media sites. Approximately 1/3 of respondents said they instructed students to watch online videos as part Page 9

10 Video Solution Profiles Engaging and unscripted videos that provide clients with the opportunity to deliver a personal message to potential customers in their own style and tone. Ads Either scripted with a professional voiceover or interview-driven to deliver a positive first impression and drive higher conversion. Testimonials Captures customer experiences through authentic, unscripted interviews that build trust and credibility News Compliments traditional PR methods with videos that are journalistic in tone in order to establish credibility and drive media interest. Appendix: Statistical Information Sources i. UMass, Dartmouth: ii. iii. iv. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy: Business 2 Community: comscore: on_record/ v. Genius Recruiter: vi. vii. Mashable: % of teens online are using social sites that s a huge number, whether it be having their own profile on Facebook, or their own YouTube channel. ~Daniel Brusilovsky, Teens in Tech Labs BusinessCreator, Inc. 47 North Jefferson Street, First Floor Allentown, PA (Toll Free) Page 10

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