How to Write the Perfect Captions for Your School’s Social MediaOctober 15, 2019
Social media is one of the most popular marketing tools that schools use to stand out, showcase their brand and compete against other schools in their area. However, a recent study into Australian school marketing suggests that lack of time is still the biggest challenge for school marketers when it comes to social media marketing.
Along with finding eye-catching imagery or video, crafting the caption for an update is often the most time-consuming part of posting on social media. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to get you writing captions that hit the mark.
Consider your brand voice
Does the tone of your caption match your school’s brand voice? Having a consistent brand is crucial to the success of all of your marketing efforts. While social media often warrants more casual language, it’s important that your posts remain professional and courteous.
Our recommendation? Gather your executive or communications team and decide on 3-5 words that describe your brand voice. Are you bold and adventurous? Caring and compassionate? Professional and collaborative? Make sure you note them in your brand guidelines and put them front and centre when writing your captions.
Consider your audience
Whenever you write content, it’s important to keep your audience top of mind. You’ll likely have a list of different personas that you can communicate to, but have you considering taking it up a notch and using social analytics to get even more personal? Each platform will have audience insights that you can use to track the age, gender and interests of the people who are following and engaging with you.
Once you have a clear idea of who your audience is, you’ll have a better idea about the types of posts and captions that will interest and engage your audience.
Match the message and the visual
If you’re using images, video or a graphic (and we highly encourage you to!), make sure your caption adds context -- particularly so that viewers understand what they are looking at! Even if you believe that the visual speaks for itself (e.g. it features our current Prime Minister!), adding a helpful caption ensures no one misses the memo. Here’s a great example from Clayfield College:
Source: Clayfield College Facebook page
Complement (don’t compete with) your other marketing efforts
Your social media posts should work in tandem with your other promotional efforts. If your school doesn’t have a clearly articulated marketing plan, then it’s going to be difficult to keep a consistent posting schedule.
Your social posts should encourage your audience to take action. It’s important that they provide a clear way for anyone who is interested to take the next step, whether it’s directing them to your school website, encouraging them to read a blog or inviting them to watch a video.
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Keep it short and sweet
Research shows that short and concise posts (under 80 characters) return the highest engagement on Facebook. This is likely because shorter posts get cut off, forcing a reader to expand the text in order to see the full message. Likewise, shorter Instagram captions work well -- remember, users scroll through their feeds quickly, so you need to capture their attention straight away.
Historically, Twitter has a famous 140 character count, however, this has been made more flexible over time. Even with longer character allowances, the average Tweet remains at around 34 characters. Here’s an example from Trinity Grammar School, keeping their caption brief while still adding context to the image.
Source: Trinity Grammar Twitter
How about hashtags and emojis?
Hashtags are a clever little addition to posts that can help you to join in on a broader conversation. They are mostly used on Instagram and Twitter, as they help your posts get found in the platform’s search. Be wary when using hashtags on Facebook, however -- as we’ve mentioned before, research shows your posts perform better without them.
Emojis, on the other hand, can add a little bit of fun to your posts regardless of which platform you are using. A great example is Somerville House, who consistently use the green heart and the green frog (representing their school mascot) consistently in their social posts.
Source: Somerville House Facebook
Once you have the basics covered, it’s time to get started! One of the best ways to learn how to nail your message is by trying different things. Write several drafts before you post -- even check in with your coworkers to see which ones are the most effective. There’s no time like the present, so why not put these tips into practice today?
Social media has a multitude of benefits, so if you’re not on it, you’re missing out! Get started by downloading your copy of The Complete Social Media Marketing Toolkit for Schools.