Facebook Advertising for Schools
Our Facebook Guide for Schools covered some of the basic points which can help you set up your school Facebook page or group for communications and advertising. Here we are going to look closer at the advertising element of Facebook. Many schools use Facebook advertising as part of their marketing strategy for admissions or to raise funds from donations.
Why use Facebook for advertising?
Facebook advertising can be a very cheap and cost effective method of advertising. With the capacity to target your advertisement at a key demographic and region means it is easier to find the right people to read your adverts. It’s typically costs a lot less than traditional local print adverts. It’s probably the case that most people use Facebook in some way so the chances are your audience is sat scrolling through content on their phones as you are reading this, so why not give them something interesting to look at and engage with?
What can schools advertise on Facebook?
Many schools use Facebook as a key element in advertising their Open Days or admissions dates so that they can increase admissions and interest in the school. Historically this has been used more by independent schools rather than state maintained but in areas where there is a lot of choice, or if your school history has meant you are often undersubscribed, a Facebook advert can help you to widen the net of applications for your school.
You may also want to advertise specific courses if you are a FE setting, or for your EYFS setting if you are taking pre-school age children in your nursery.
You may want to advertise events or fundraising activity for your school. Maybe you do a fantastic Christmas fayre and want more people to come and visit to help increase your funds. Or you might have halls and football pitches to rent out to the community to raise extra income for the school. Certainly in the current economic climate for schools any chance to increase any funds coming into the school is a viable prospect and with Facebook ads you can dip your toe in the water with very little financial risk.
What do we need to do?
Firstly you will need to set up a school page on Facebook – you will be setting this up as a business page. You can still have school groups for communication with current parents and/or students. Your school page, however, is more of a promotion tool for attracting new visitors.
Once you have a page you can click on the “Promote” button at the bottom of the menu on the left of the page when viewing on a laptop or PC.
You will then have a few options as laid out below. For schools the best way to advertise would be to create a post and then boost it using the “Boost a post” option top left. You will also find that the Boost Post button appears on all your posts by default anyway on your business page. Your post will ideally include a photo or, even better, a video about your school. This could be made simply of a slideshow of pictures if you do not have time to make a full video. It you are advertising an event you can add this event to your page and then promote the event itself including any photos on the event page.
Who do I advertise to?
When you are going through settings for your advert (boosted post) you can create the perfect audience for your advert. This means you can target your advert to the people who are most likely to be interested. If you are a school in Portsmouth wanting to increase admission applications from local parents then you do not want to be spending your budget advertising to teenagers in New Zealand, so your target audience is important.
You can add a geographic area – everyone within a 40km radius of your school for example. You can also choose to advertise to a specific age group – over 18s are likely and below 65 (although grandparents may be persuasive on school choice too!)
You can also choose demographics such as parents of the age groups covered by your school, as seen in the example below.
For advertising of school facilities you may wish to choose people who are interested in sports as an alternative. For a craft event you can find an audience of those who are interested in crafts. Facebook chooses these people based on the kind of adverts that people often click on or otherwise engage with (and now you know why you keep getting similar adverts yourself too!)
How much should we spend?
This is a “how long is a piece of string?” question. Essentially you can decide on your budget but Facebook will also give you prompt based on the audience you are targeting. You can set a total overall spend and then decide how long you want to run the advert for. Facebook will then assign a spend per day. This is not exact as Facebook makes adjustments based on how much interest your advert is getting. They will never go over your total budget amount though.
If you want to dip your toe in the water then even £5 per day can give you a good idea of how effective your advert is. Facebook will tell you the likely “reach” of your advert based on your budget i.e. in the example below the advert will reach between 640 and 1.800 people per day with a £5 per day spend. If the advert is going well you can increase your budget. Likewise if you are not getting the response you need you can stop the advert earlier than planned.
Facebook will deduct any advertising spend from the associated debit or credit card at the end of each month.
If you are worried about setting off your first advert and then realising you made a mistake or the feedback isn’t going well fear not – you can stop an advert at any time once it has started. You can then restart it later or set up a new one. You can make minor edits. You also have control over deleting any inappropriate comments added to your post. You are in full control so why not give it a try?