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Social media plays a big role in our lives, whether we like to admit it or not.
And social media can also play a big role in how you engage and connect with parents in early education. This applies whether they’re existing customers at your program, or interested in enrolling their child.
Maybe you’re totally new to using social media. Or, maybe you’re familiar with it, but unsure of how to effectively use it for your business, and to attract parents to your program.
In the context of child care, social media has two key functions: First, it offers you a strong way to keep in touch with parents at your program, by sharing the brightest moments of a child's day, and the quality service you provide. But on top of that, social media is your top tool to connect with potential customers in your local community. Used correctly, it can be a cost effective cornerstone of your child care marketing strategy.
So let’s look at it from a business perspective. How can social media boost your reach, lift your enrollment, and strengthen your relationships with parents?
Here are a few ideas to get you started (or elevate your game) with using social media in early education.
Before we jump into how to use social media and digital platforms to promote your early childhood education setting, let’s walk through the various benefits it can give you.
So, the big question: Where to post?
Let’s look at our options.
Facebook: As one of the most popular social media outlets, Facebook provides ample opportunities to get your child care center out there. From posting stories and photos, to organizing events, having a Facebook page allows you to put your best foot forward to show off what your setting offers! Additionally, you have the option of using paid ads as an easy, cost effective option to market your business to prospective parents.
Instagram: As a good complement to your Facebook page, Instagram allows you to promote the more visual aspects of your child care center. You can share photos, post stories from each day, and you can also run ads tailored for a local target area or target market. Marketing expert Michael Tasner told Famly that Instagram is an especially effective platform for connecting with younger parents.
YouTube: As the second most-used search engine (next to Google), YouTube can enable you to share short clips using YouTube shorts, advertisements, or longer videos to share what goes on within your early education center. Advertising via YouTube can also be a practical way to increase the local reach of your child care services.
Famly: Not to pat ourselves on the back, but our digital software offers various tools to help you engage with current parents at your child care program. With the familiar, user-friendly format of the News Feed, it’s never been easier to strengthen your relationships with existing parents, with a particular focus on child development.
Worried about the time commitment of posting on multiple platforms? Using scheduling tools, like HootSuite and Buffer, allow you to plan out a few posts and have them published at the same time on multiple platforms. With the click of a few buttons, you can have all of your accounts updated at the exact same time, without having to spend hours coordinating it all.
It’s never a bad idea to keep your parents informed on what goes on in your early education center. You could share any milestones, exciting events, or new activities you tried that were a hit.
Anything that focuses on those "wow" moments, puts child development in the spotlight, and shows the best sides of your child care program are a good place to start.
And, by tagging your posts, you can increase the number of people that are seeing your posts, coming to your profile, and following you. When you do it right, your Facebook page can become a sort of open house for new parents, and can help to put your business on the map.
Here are some tips for tagging posts and photos on social media:
Posting photos is a quick, easy way to share the everyday fun that goes on in your establishment. Whether you snap a quick photo of a beautiful art project, or share some exciting news, your followers will see value in knowing what you get up to in the day-to-day.
As a word of caution, if you’re looking to post photos of your little ones, you’ll need to be cautious about privacy and parental consent. Be sure to obtain informed consent before posting photos of anyone’s children. You may consider adding this policy into your parent handbook, if it isn't in there already.
As another option to respect parents’ privacy, you could also share photos where it’s hard to identify the children, such as photos of children's hands working on an art project. Ensure that names, locations, and any other identifying information is not present in your photos.
Here are some tips for taking and publishing photos on social media:
Many parents can be hesitant to reach out and get the ball rolling, when it comes to building a relationship. That's where social media channels come to the rescue.
Community engagement is key to fostering parent partnerships, both new and old. This can be easily accomplished by including your followers in the conversation, and by posing questions to them.
You could ask them a question in addition to sharing information on the newsfeed, or you could present them on their own to your followers. Whichever way you decide to engage parents, you can be sure to get to know your followers, and keep the conversation flowing.
Here are some questions you could pose to your followers to promote community engagement:
Stuffed animal or toy
Food or drink
Song to sing together
Place to visit in the neighborhood
Story of your child doing a silly thing
Please note: here at Famly we love sharing creative activities for you to try with the children at your setting, but you know them best. Take the time to consider adaptions you might need to make so these activities are accessible and developmentally appropriate for the children you work with. Just as you ordinarily would, conduct risk assessments for your children and your setting before undertaking new activities, and ensure you and your staff are following your own health and safety guidelines.