Do you know the optimal number of hashtags to use on Twitter and Instagram when trying to engage teachers? We do! On a recent webinar, we spoke with Dana Truby, Director of Creative and Social Media for MDR’s Integrated Marketing Services and WeAreTeachers, and Abi Gilman, Senior Strategist at MDR and WeAreTeachers, about social media marketing to teachers. They provided useful insights about creating authentic, loyal connections with educators from their experience in creating and growing the wildly successful WeAreTeachers and School Leaders Now social communities and channels.
Following, you’ll find some of the questions that were asked during the live webinar that we thought were worth sharing. We broke them into 6 categories so you can easily find answers that are relevant for you and your company's current social media challenges.
General Posting Tips Across Channels
Q: How often should you post per day/week on each channel?
A: For smaller pages, we tend to recommend 3-4 posts a day on FB and Twitter. Usually, 1-2 pieces of owned content and 1-2 pieces of shared content.
Q: How often should you post new content vs recycled or re-purposed content? What about fun/entertaining posts vs educational/informative?
A: This will vary from brand to brand, so you need to analyze performance of the content to find what works best for you. We’ve found a good balance recycling about 10 - 15% of our content. Listen to your audience and find out what content they engage most with, then focus on that. Do they comment more on funny posts and click more on educational posts? Have an “always learning” attitude when it comes to content publishing & strategy.
Q: How popular is LinkedIn among educators?
A: Educators tend to lean on LinkedIn when they are transitioning between jobs. They leverage other channels (such as Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest) much more heavily for routine daily activity.
Q: What is the optimum number of hashtags for Twitter? What about Instagram?
A: We recommend using around 3-4 hashtags for Tweets, and around 11 for Instagram.
Q: On Instagram, I've seen commenting with hashtags instead of including them in the post itself. Is this a best practice?
A: Develop a brand strategy and do what works for you. We place our hashtags within the content description, but leveraging the first comment is another great approach.
Q: I know it is possible to search for hashtags on Facebook, but you mentioned not using hashtags in Facebook posts. Why is this?
A: We leverage hashtags on Facebook selectively. Facebook users do not frequently search hashtags.
Getting Started with a Social Media Strategy
Q: How do you manage an organization's social strategy that has multiple programs, solutions, product lines, etc. that are "fighting" for social media time without "flooding" the feeds?
A: Make rules your best friend. Set up a calendar with time frames for each business group and stick to it. It can be tricky to maintain a consistent brand voice while pleasing different stakeholders. Keep an eye on how content is performing. If you see a decrease in your engagement per post, it’s a good indication that you are publishing content too frequently.
Q: How do you find teachers to join your Facebook groups and get the groups off the ground? How many people/how much time should be allocated to manage groups?
A: There are many ways you can do this. Here are just a few ideas:
- Host a contest in your group by asking members to invite a friend and tag them in a comment on a post for their chance to win.
- Share questions or ideas from your group to your page and encourage users to join the group.
- Share posts about your group to your page encouraging followers to join.
Q: What are your suggestions for social media success with a small team? Is it possible to do so without having a full-time person managing social media accounts?
A: It can be a struggle wearing multiple hats and managing social. We feel you - it’s a lot of work! Hang in there, it CAN be done. Keep yourself organized with a publishing dashboard. (We recommend Sprout Social.) Monitor the data to see which of your efforts is making the biggest impact and prioritize from there. Remember, you can do anything but probably not everything. One last shameless plug - we are here to help! We manage social content development, community management and strategy for a variety of clients and would love to help you too.
Q: Starting a new community is hard and takes a lot of resources. What are your thoughts about becoming a prominent and helpful voice within an existing community? Is that considered hijacking that brand?
A: Listen, listen, listen. Then listen some more. Produce the content your community is craving. If it’s relevant to your brand it’s not considered hijacking - that’s just being smart.
Q: What content planning/social media strategy planning tools do you use?
A: There are so many awesome tools out there! Here’s what we use:
- Sprout Social for social media management, publishing and reporting
- Wrike & Trello for project management
- Skype & Zoom for team communication
- Wyng for contesting and social integrations
Principals & Admins vs. Teachers on Social
Q: How do principal social engagement patterns differ from teachers? Which channels do they use? What content do they look for? What are the key hashtags for admins/principals? What about district level instructional leaders or other school administrators?
A: We have found they are craving safe / private spaces to get feedback and engage with other principals and admins. Because of this, we’ve seen a lot of success come from our Principal Facebook Groups.
Q: Our audience is very diverse and composed of many segments. Would you recommend customizing each post for different audience groups?
A: Leverage your custom audiences to boost some of your content to specific groups. This way you can ensure that the right audience will see and engage with your content.
Q: What is the name of the principal Facebook group? Where can I find it?
A: Our Facebook group for Principals is called Principal Life and has about 9,600 members including school principals, vice principals and other members of school admin teams to ask questions and share advice!
Q: How you do encourage continued engagement from your social communities once a "video funnel" is established? Is there a way to retarget viewers of a video?
A: Absolutely. We’ve seen incredible results through video retargeting! When you’re developing content be mindful about which pieces will sync up at which stage in the funnel. Video is a great way to engage at the top of the funnel. Once you’ve captured that audience’s attention you can retarget them with a series of content that pushes them further down the funnel and ultimately calls for conversion.
Q: Do you recommend grouping videos into playlists to encourage more viewing?
A: Yes. We practice this and advise that you do too. It’s also a great way to keep your page organized.
Q: Do you have any issues with showing student faces in videos? Do you have to get parent permission or written consent?
A: Yes, for owned content we have a Photo Release Form that we require parents of minors to sign. If we are sharing a piece of user-generated content we typically work directly with the content owner to ensure that permission has been granted from the parents of the students.
Q: How do you go about asking influencers to retweet or share your content? What about reposting their content on your social channels? Should you ask permission before doing so?
A: We don’t typically ask influencers to share or engage with our content. We just create strong content that begs to be shared! We’re constantly monitoring trending social content. When we see a piece that we want to share we typically reach out to the owner and ask for permission. Then we share on our page and attribute the owner.
Q: What are the TOP three things you would recommend to build a following on Instagram? Would it be to form those relationships with influencers? You offered a ton of ideas, but it might not make sense to jump right to giveaways or contests when we don't have a large audience.
A: There are so many different strategies for growing your audience and the landscape is always evolving. That said, launch with a solid content strategy foundation so that your profile is a clean, professional, and inspiring place for users to visit and engage with. Once you have that established, you can test out different community growth tactics. We’ve seen great success through contests at this early phase, particularly contests that encourage users to tag a friend or share. This triggers organic word-of-mouth growth. You can also lean on influencer partnerships to help increase awareness. A quick shameless plug - we have an active Instagram following of over 240K teachers. We frequently help execute contests, Instagram Stories and sponsored social posts to help brands spur community growth.
Q: What are the best practices for retargeting audiences on Facebook?
A: Make sure the content you are retargeting is closely tied to/relevant to the audience. Build several audiences and A/B test to see which responds best.
Q: What are your opinions about boosting posts vs. ads on Facebook or Instagram?
A: Both tactics serve different purposes. Boosting posts allows you to also benefit from organic engagement, while you can leverage ads to target specific content to different audiences. We recommend a combination of both.
Q: How do you evaluate or quantify the value of social media followers and engagements? We need to be able to prove ROI so that we aren’t just doing social media for the sake of social media.
A: Leverage tracking links on all of your social content so that you can attribute the source. You can also install pixels on your site content to get a more clear sense of which content is driving users to convert. Finally, leverage retargeting ads to first engage social followers through engaging top-of-the-funnel content, and later retarget ads to them with a more direct call to action.
Did we miss anything? Let us know, by commenting below and we’ll get you the answers!