Social Success: How to Make Social Media Work for You
Written by Jenica Hallman, CJE
In case you missed it, Walsworth Yearbooks recently hosted the “Social Success: How to Make Social Media Work for You” webinar with advice from six yearbook editors from across the country who run successful social media campaigns. But don’t worry, you can still catch the replay to learn their valuable tips and tricks for success.
We’ve heard about the struggle all too often: a lack of engagement, failure to generate meaningful photos and content, confusion as to what and when to post. The good news is that doesn’t have to be that hard.
Along with hosts Mike Taylor, CJE, Jim Jordan and Rhonda O’Dea, CJE, participants heard from Lydia Lu at Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, California; Brianna Martin at East Wilkes High School in Ronda, North Carolina; Romario Gonzalez at El Dorado High School in El Paso, Texas; Katie Eastman at Liberal Arts and Science Academy in Austin, Texas; Aria Wozniak at Fairview High School in Boulder, Colorado; and David Dablo at El Camino Real Charter High School in Woodland Hills, California. Each student presented their best strategies for social media success. So, what are some lessons you can learn? We’re glad you asked!
It’s important to post consistently to your accounts to stay relevant in newsfeeds. Lu discussed this as one of her five keys to success, mentioning the need to maintain of schedule of future postings as well as how overall activity increases audience engagement. Even the time of day can make a difference, for example, always posting right after school, a popular time for students to check social media sites.
Dablo brought up consistency in design. They use the same fonts, colors and design styles so their posts are recognizable. While these can switch from year to year based on the theme, the design should be recognizable throughout the year.
Wozniak agrees that design is key. The Lance staff members consistently choose high quality images and use consistent designs. They have found where and how they place words on an image is a strategic choice that can boost views when done properly. They want to build a reputation of excellence for their pages.
Nearly every student had a different preferred platform. While most used Instagram, from there, it varied. What was interesting though was the reasoning for each. They made choices that made sense for their audience, not just what national trends might dictate.
Gonzalez preferred Twitter because all the teachers at their school are required to have Twitter, so they have high engagement. Martin uses Facebook more than Instagram because of their high level of parent and community involvement, and they’ve found parents are most active on Facebook. It’s helped them get great photos. Wozniak utilizes YouTube and TikTok.
Finding the right platform to engage their audiences has a direct impact on their levels of success.
Change It Up
This might sound like a contradiction to the previous point of consistency, but this is about changing up the content. Posting the exact same type of post gets repetitive and boring. Your audience won’t be wowed by something they’ve already seen a hundred times – you want to post things that will make them stop and take a closer look.
Lu expounded upon this. The El Valedor staff posts a wide variety of content to keep their audience interested. This includes introductions to their staff, different parts of their yearbook (theme, color palette, etc.), sneak peeks of pages or even individual photos and captions to which they add the hashtag #ybteaser, senior baby photos and quotes, just to name a few. Whenever they do a #ybteaser, they make sure to have the staff all comment on it with something like, “Oh, I can’t wait to see” or “That will be so cool” to make the post seem even more popular and further its reach.
Lu is a big fan of sneak peeks because she says sneaks validate why parents should buy. It’s a concern we’ve heard parents expressing this year. People are asking “Why should I buy a yearbook when my child is doing virtual or hybrid learning? What will be in the yearbook?” The sneak peeks show parents that their students are in the book in interesting ways, which increases the incentive to buy a book now.
Eastman even checks the content of the posts so she can avoid posting duplicates, like two sports photos in a row. She wants to show her fellow students in the activities that matter most to them, so she posts as many activities as she can.
But beyond just they type of content, switch up the form. Sometimes it’s a photo, other times it’s a video, like Lu’s theme reveal video which generated over 100 new followers just from that one video, and different features on platforms, like IGTV, Instagram stories and polls, etc. In fact, two of the students told us they gained over 100 new followers from cover or theme reveal videos.
Martin is a fan of contests on their page. They host frequent photo contests to generate photos and enthusiasm for the book. They’ve found that offering something to win, even if it’s small, generates engagement.
Tagging and Cross Posting
One simple strategy for increasing your reach is to tag individuals in the post, something the students all agreed on. Lu is sure to tag reporters, photographers and the individuals pictured as well as campus groups featured. Gonzalez likes to coordinate with STUCO to cross promote content as STUCO is a big part of their student body. Wozniak found they have prompt engagement when they tag and are more likely to see their content reposted. Dablo is sure to tag every applicable school account, including the main school account, which has a high number of followers. Eastman likes to include quotes in many of her posts, tagging the students.
Eastman reminded viewers that quotes are a personal thing, so you want the yearbook to feel like a safe space to share. She believes using quotes shows that they care about the students’ thoughts and emotions, which builds trust.
These are just a few of the many suggestions this talented group of students offered. To find more detailed information and hear more, watch the replay for yourself. A successful approach to social media will help you capture the photos and stories of the year that will make your unique and historic book one to remember.