It is now well known that Gen Zers and Millennials navigate the digital landscape, using social media not just for connection and entertainment but also as a dynamic search engine. Over the past years, young social media users have been turning to social media searches to discover products and services that align with their preferences–and this is also the case when it comes to education. Though this can challenge schools that follow a traditional marketing approach, given that these demographic groups tend to be their main target audience, it can also open the door to new and exciting opportunities.
This phenomenon has already changed and will continue to shape how school social media content is created and shared. That is the case of social SEO, a new practice that can help schools gain new followers and organically grow their follower base. In addition, great social media SEO can also influence your online presence and search engine rankings in various ways. Keep reading to learn more about social SEO and what your school can do to gain social visibility.
What Is Social SEO?
If you are familiar with traditional search engine optimization, social media SEO will be easy to understand. Social SEO refers to adding text features like captions, hashtags, closed captions, and alt text to make your social media posts more discoverable. Adding these features to your school’s posts, you help social media platforms index your content under the right category, making it easier to find and helping the algorithm serve the right type of content to the right audience. Given that Gen Zers are using social media platforms like TikTok over traditional search engine platforms to find and discover products and services, schools have much to gain from social SEO.
Example: In this University of Chichester TikTok video, the school uses keywords like student and #tiktokuni to ensure the video serves those looking for educational or related content.
Did you know that 75% of students say social media content influences their enrollment decision? HEM can help boost your school’s brand awareness and develop a vibrant, active, and growing following across multiple social networks. Get in touch with us today!
So, how do SEO and social media work together? Search engine optimization and social media can work together to improve your school’s online visibility and overall digital marketing strategy. While the primary function of social SEO is to increase your chances of reaching the right audience through social media, if your social media platforms are optimized, social SEO can ultimately lead to more website traffic and the possibility of securing new leads. Building brand authority through social SEO can also indirectly impact your website’s SEO performance and drive more organic traffic.
Benefits of Optimizing Your School’s Social Media SEO
Now that you know the basics of social SEO, it is time to dive deeper into the benefits of implementing social media SEO for schools. Not only does social SEO make your school’s social media content more discoverable–improving brand awareness–but it also helps your school gain more followers, which could ultimately help you obtain more organic leads.
Example: Using social SEO helps schools like Algonquin Careers Academy connect with prospective students. Once prospects discover the school’s page, they likely begin interacting with the school, be it by commenting on posts, as seen in the example below, or by sending direct messages to the page. To ensure that prospective students keep going down the enrollment funnel, schools should respond promptly to the questions or comments left.
Schools can also effectively boost website traffic through the strategic use of social media for schools. Regularly posting engaging and informative content, such as school news, event updates, educational resources, and student achievements, keeps your audience informed and encourages them to click through to the school’s website for more in-depth information. Thus, optimizing your posts’ SEO ensures you drive high-quality traffic to your school’s website.
Additionally, when you post click-worthy content, you can positively impact your regular SEO, as social media posts can be a valuable source of backlinks to your website. How? When your content gets reshared on social platforms, it can attract organic clicks from other profiles, which is a key aspect of SEO. To promote this, your school can work with student ambassadors or encourage students and followers to reshare your posts. For example, a BSL community member reshared the following Business School Lausanne LinkedIn post. This not only encourages prospective students to enroll in the program but also invites the followers of the community member to visit the school’s website.
How to Implement Social SEO Into Your Strategy
To know how to implement social media SEO into your strategy, the first step is determining what platforms your school would like to be on. If you are not very active on social media, you might be wondering, “what social media is best for schools?” Although there is no definite answer, you can begin by understanding where your target personas are. Determine which platforms they prefer and start by creating accounts on those platforms. For instance, it is likely that high school students are more present on platforms like TikTok and Instagram or that MBA students are more active on platforms like LinkedIn or YouTube. For a broad overview, you can examine the primary age demographics on each of the leading platforms:
- Facebook: 25-34 (29.9%)
- Instagram: 18-24 (30.8%)
- TikTok: 18-24 (21%)
- LinkedIn: 30-39 (31%)
Once schools have defined which platforms they will be using, those wishing to put together a social media SEO strategy can follow these steps:
1. Conduct keyword research to identify relevant keywords and phrases your prospects might use to find educational content. You can start by browsing accounts similar to yours or sharing similar content. Check what keywords they use and use the search bar to discover other new and trendy keywords. On platforms like Instagram and TikTok (below), you can start by typing one of your regular keywords into the search section and let the algorithm predict or show you what keywords are trending.
Pro tip: Make sure you do a keyword search for each platform you are on, as keywords are likely to change from platform to platform.
2. Ensure your social media profiles are complete and optimized (logo, website link, branding, etc.). Include a link to your website in the bio or about sections of your profiles, and use relevant keywords in your profile descriptions, headlines, and handle/usernames.
Example: The TikTok and Facebook profiles of the University of Toronto and the University of Birmingham are current, and use the right keywords and categories.
3. Create and share high-quality content that resonates with your audience and their needs–content they are likely to reshare with their followers. When sharing this content, incorporate your target keywords naturally into your posts, captions, and hashtags.
4. Use relevant keywords in image and video descriptions and captions when sharing images or videos. This is not only great for SEO purposes but also for accessibility purposes. If you want to attract all sorts of students, accessibility to school social media content is key.
School Social Media SEO Best Practices
Successful social media marketing for schools can be achieved by following key tips. Embracing school social media best SEO practices is essential for long-term success in achieving your objectives. Here are some social SEO best practices your school should follow:
- Add alt-text: Adding alt-text to images on social media is essential for inclusivity and accessibility. By providing descriptive text for images, you ensure that people with visual impairments or those using screen readers can engage with your content. Additionally, some social media algorithms may consider using alt text when determining content visibility, potentially boosting the reach and engagement of your posts.
- Actively engage with your followers: Responding to comments and messages promptly shows your followers that you care. In addition, providing a quick response to a prospect’s inquiry can provide a positive first impression, demonstrate excellent customer service, and increase the likelihood of converting that prospect into a student.
- Encourage followers to share your content: This can increase the number of backlinks to your site, which is a significant factor in SEO. Furthermore, it can potentially draw in new followers and establish your authority within your industry.
- Utilize local keywords and geo-target content: Tagging your location and using keywords such as #studyincanada and ‘business schools in Europe’ can help you improve local search visibility.
- Keep an eye on social media trends: Check what songs and trends are popular when creating new content. Consider what would resonate with your audience, and always check what your competitors are doing.
- Be consistent with your efforts and continuously update your profiles and content to align with your goals.
- Stay up-to-date with algorithm changes and adapt your strategy accordingly!
By adhering to these best practices, you can up your social media game, making your content more discoverable and increasing brand awareness. You will also be able to build trust with your audience and protect your school’s reputation.