By Katie Lingard
This fall I embarked on a new journey, going back to school! It had been about 20 years since I had been in a class and while it was a little scary, I was also excited to learn! I had just been handed my workplace’s social media accounts and I wanted to learn how to use them and expand our reach. I work at an independent elementary school in Ontario and our survival depends on new enrollments every year as well as financial supporters. Through my courses, I have learned many valuable lessons and have grown in my understanding of social media, but the one lesson that will always be at the forefront of my posting is creating quality authentic contact that will resonate with my audience. The best way to do that is by listening. There are many tools that can be used to listen to an online audience and I would like to share my favourites with you.
The first is Meta Business Insights. I have linked our Facebook and Instagram accounts together and can easily monitor both platforms in one place. Time is precious and being able to see both sets of stats at the same time is very valuable. I am able to quickly see how similar or the same post has been received by our audience and then adjust as needed going forward. It has been very helpful in helping me create better content that has a further reach.
The second is the insights from wix.com. Wix hosts our website and in their insights, I can easily see how each part of our website is being viewed and where our visitors come from as well as how long and how often they are visiting a certain page. It helps me see if we are having success from our social media if our visitors come from there or if they come from a web search. I can also see geographical information to see where our market is located. Knowing what pages and information visitors most frequently visit has given us a fabulous advantage. It allows us to see what people are most interested in and make sure that information is helpful and easy to find.
Keeping up current on trends in our industry is also a very valuable commodity. In a world of cancel culture and with how fast negative media can spread, it is so important to keep on top of trends to avoid faux pas as well as to be able to adjust your content to remain relevant in your industry. For me, my favourite tool is Twitter. It is so fast and easy to run a search and see what people are currently saying about a given trend or topic in our field. Valuable insight into how people are feeling and conversations being had are easily accessible. With real-time updates, trends and fads are right at your fingertips at a moment’s notice. I often do a small search before posting what may be considered a potentially controversial topic or language just to check what people are feeling or saying about it. Sometimes I will still post it to be a part of the conversation and sometimes I will change the tone or use different words to avoid negative feedback.
The second tool I use most is an RSS feed that I created in Feeder. Feeder is a free online tool that you can design to your specific needs and capture content that others are posting online about your industry. I really like using this tool to see what the competition is doing. It gives me a better awareness of education in Ontario as well as at other independent schools and my direct competition in my region. All of which again, gives me an advantage when creating content and engaging with my audience.
There are so many tools available today and it can be hard to pick one! In my experience, you may need to try a few to find the right fit that will gather the information you need or are looking for. But once you have the right tools in place, the sky is the limit! Good luck friends!
Until next time, dear readers.