4 Tips for Promoting Your After School Program on Social Media

Social Media Marketing for After School Providers

As an after school provider, your time is precious. If you’re not careful, you could spend a lot of time marketing your program on Facebook and Instagram and come away with very little to show for it. 

Do you have a team member with 5 or more hours per week to dedicate to social media? If not, and it’s just you (the founder or program operator) trying to grow an audience on social media with no help, stop right now. Unless you already have an engaged following, then all you should be doing is using social media as a platform to keep parents informed about upcoming programs and events.

If you do have a team member that can help you grow your audience on social media, this article is for you. It walks through four different aspects of posting you should consider when putting together your program’s social media strategy.

This is part one of a two-part series made to help after-school and child-care providers get a handle on their social media strategy.

Content Tips

Before we get into the concrete recommendations for content creation, here’s a quick look at the technicalities of posting:

🖼️  Always include visuals, even if only posting to Facebook

📷  Images should be in .JPG or .PNG format

📹  Videos should be in .MP4 format

⌛  Videos should not be longer than 1 minute 

Is one of your team members running your social media? Forward this article to them!

4 Tips for Attracting Parents With Social Media Content

1. Choose the Right Format: Stories, pictures, videos, reels, what does it all mean!?! 🤯

To make your presence on Instagram and Facebook known, it’s extra-important to understand which types of posts work best in different scenarios. By understanding the strengths and purpose of each format, you can tailor your content strategy to get the most out of each post. Here’s a brief look at each of them:

📱 Stories are a child care provider’s best friend. They’re great for capturing and sharing behind-the-scenes moments or showcasing time-sensitive content. Stories are intended to keep your current audience engaged and informed, not to attract new followers! They’re also extra-practical because of their unique ability to allow link-sharing on Instagram.

📷 Pictures and videos on your feed serve a different purpose. The content you post to your feed should be reflective of your brand, high-quality, and attractive to your target audience. This is the content that people will see when they stumble across your account and that will determine if they’d like to follow up with what you’re doing later.

🎞️ Reels, on the other hand, offer an opportunity to create short, entertaining videos that can go viral and attract a wider audience. While reels have a wider reach, they’re also more time-consuming to produce, and the practical benefits of reels for local, service-based businesses are limited.

💡 Hot Tip: You can automatically reshare anything you post to Instagram to your Facebook! Here’s how.

2. Pay Attention To the Right Numbers: The power of analytics in the palm of your hand … 🤚

Most of us have at least heard of the buzzwords floating around in the realm of social media. Things like metrics, analytics, and engagement sound super technical, but in reality, it’s not all that fancy! In fact, Instagram and Facebook do the bulk of the work for us. 

First, let’s figure out how to find our analytics for Facebook and Instagram:

Instagram:

On your Instagram mobile app, open your profile.* From here, simply click on “Professional Dashboard”. This is the tab from which you can find all of your account insights.

*This only works if your account is set up as a business account.

Facebook:

Open up the Facebook mobile app, and select your profile picture in the lower right corner and then tap on your profile name. From your profile, simply click “View Tools”.*

*As for Instagram, this also only applies if your Facebook account is set up as a business account. Doing this on Facebook comes with an array of added benefits for digital marketing, but we won’t go down that rabbit hole in this article.

Now that we know where to find our analytics, let’s figure out which analytics to look at. 

On Instagram, key metrics to track include follower growth, engagement rate (a combined metric of likes, comments, saves, and shares, divided by the number of followers, and then multiplied with 100), reach, and impressions. A follower and impressions growth rate of 2.5% a month is considered healthy, while engagements should stay relatively fixed.

Similarly, on Facebook, pay attention to page likes, post engagement, reach, and click-through rates. For Facebook, a growth rate of 1% is considered more than alright.

In general, healthy analytics on both platforms are characterized by steady growth in followers/likes, consistent engagement, and increasing reach. 

In the big picture, understanding and analyzing these metrics provides valuable insights into what content resonates with your audience. That way, it becomes much easier to make data-driven decisions for future posts. 

3. Drive Engagement: If parents aren’t paying attention to your content, what’s the point!?! 🧐

One of the trickiest parts of the social media business is maintaining engagement with your audience. You might wonder why this matters – if your followers are seeing your content, who cares if they hit the like button? While this is sound logic, the mysterious world of social media algorithms disagrees. If your initial followers who see your posts don’t engage with them, the algorithm won’t show your post to the rest of your audience – even though they follow you! You can learn more about social media algorithms work through this article.

With that being said, building a strong community and fostering meaningful interactions is essential for a booming social media presence! Here are a few ways to consider getting people to engage with your posts:

🗣️ Respond to comments

Let your audience know that you’re always open for conversation by getting back to their comments ASAP. This shows your interest and engagement, which will encourage their interest and engagement in turn!

Post questions

Don’t bother getting too philosophical – the questions you ask your followers can range from “when is the last time you played hide and seek?” to “what location should we host our programs at next?”. The easier the questions, the more likely your audience is to respond – which means they’re engaged!

🤔 Initiate discussions

Is there a topic up for debate in your community that you just know your audience has an opinion on? Ask them about it! Having discussions on neighborhood-relevant themes is both good for engagement, and good for keeping a finger on the pulse of what your audience thinks.

Additionally, leverage interactive features such as polls, quizzes, and contests to create interactive experiences that encourage participation. Don’t forget, engaging with your audience not only strengthens relationships but also boosts your visibility, increases the chances of your content being shared, and the likelihood of new parents jumping in on the action!

4. Know When (and How Often) to Post: Do you know when your audience is on the lookout for fresh content?

There’s no one right answer for when and how often to post. It depends on your particular audience of parents. Start by following your gut and don’t be afraid to experiment with different posting schedules and analyze the engagement levels for each. What days of the week do you typically get the best engagement? What time of day? 

While posting consistently, and often, is important for maintaining and growing your audience, be mindful not to sacrifice quality for quantity! It’s better to focus on delivering valuable and engaging content rather than posting excessively without a purpose.

💡 Hot Tip: If your students tag you in their posts, share them! Student-generated content is incredible and you should do everything you can to encourage it. 

What tools should I use?

When it comes to setting yourself up for success, there are a few tools out there that make things easier.

Canva is a fantastic graphic design tool built for non-graphic designers. You can create stunning designs, use their templates, and build out your visual identity through a user-friendly interface. Plus, a lot of their tools are free! 

Hootsuite is a cool planning & analytics tool that makes scheduling posts in advance easier. You can use their pre-made templates to get a better grasp of your analytics too.

Linktree is a link-in-bio app used by creators everywhere. Don’t underestimate the importance of your link! Instagram doesn’t allow for links to be shared in posts or comments (although you can add them with stickers in Stories), and only has space for one link in your profile description. That’s why you should add a Link-in-Bio with all the important links you’d like parents to get access to.

Bitly is a service for link tracking that helps users understand how much actual traction their social media posts are getting. Bitly shares analytics on link clicks. Important: Bitly also has a built-in Link-in-Bio tool.

Ultimately, the parents following you just want to see their kiddos having fun. Sharing that fun to your socials is the very best way to connect with parents and keep them invested in your programs. 

Keep your eyes peeled for part two of this article where we get into the industry-specific info on using social media to bolster your after school programs 👀.

Looking for email specific tips on engaging your audience? Check out our guide:  5 Golden Rules to Follow When Emailing Parents.

If you have questions about any of the above or would like help with email or social media marketing for your program, please book a free call or email us at robin@growmyprogram.com

Grow My Program knows what it’s like to run after-school programs. With nearly two decades of combined experience in the after-school sector, we’re great at communicating with parents in ways they appreciate. 

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