In today’s article, I will be discussing social proof. When parents are on the fence about choosing your school for their child, school testimonials are one of the most impactful ways to give your school an edge over the competition and help ease the mind of parents making their decision.
Any ideas that I missed? What works well for your school? Remember to join the discussion in the Marketing Mastery For Schools Facebook Group.
School Testimonials - How to Build Social Proof
Hi everyone. Today I’m going to be talking about social proof; what it is, why it’s important, how you can build proof, and how you can use it properly for your school.
Basically, the social proof that I’m talking about is testimonials from your parents, students, and alumni. Social proof is really important because it’s one of the main things that parents look at when looking for a school and they are always looking for a justification for their decision.
If they are deciding whether they should choose your school or not, part of their justification in the emotional buying decision that they make is well, is it a school that other people are going to? And are these families that I look up to and can relate to? If they can see themselves fitting into your community, that’s a big tick in the box for them.
How to Build Social Proof
How do you build a big repertoire of parent testimonials? Well, it takes a lot of intentional effort from the marketing team. So I schedule a little bit of time every month to focus specifically on building testimonials. It’s one of the biggest tools that you can have in your toolkit as a marketer.
One way you can do that is to build videos, a video library of parent testimonials. You can do simple testimonials with family in front of the camera, or you can do more documentary-style testimonial videos.
Google Maps and Facebook Testimonials
Another way is to build your testimonials on Google Maps or Facebook. Whenever a parent emails into the marketing department or the principal to give great feedback, say, “Thank you so much. Would you mind giving us a review on Facebook or Google Maps?” That will really help with your online profile as well.
You can also email specific families asking them if they would like to give a testimonial. You could actually periodically do this when someone joins your college. When they’re six months into their experience at the college, send them an email and ask them if they would like to give a testimonial as part of the induction process for new families.
Another way to get social proof which is less obvious but really works is whenever you have a social media post that you are planning to use for advertising, boost that to your current families first so that current families comment on that post and say how lovely your school is, how much they’re enjoying the community, and then boost that post to other audiences that you are planning to advertise to. That really helps for things like open mornings and events or musicals where families are commenting and engaging with other, and then you boost it to a new audience.
Students and Alumni
Don’t forget to include your students. Student testimonials are also very important, especially for the middle and secondary years, where students are more involved in that decision-making process. And they’re kind of talking it through with their parents.
Have a Parents Presence
Another way to build social proof, when people actually come and check your college out is to have your parents visible at open events and talking about your college whenever you have prospective families at the college, to have your current parents and families there to talk about their experience at the college. It’s a great way just to give an authentic look into your college community.
How To Use Your Social Proof Effectively
So now that you’ve spent a lot of time actually building that social proof, how do you use it effectively so that it maximises your return? First of all, you need to give parents what they need so that they can go out and talk to the community about your college. So equip parents with good news stories, articles and bragging materials so that they can go and talk about your college to others. You know, mums love to talk. So it will happen if you provide them with the right information at the right time.
Emails and Websites
You can also use these testimonials in follow-up emails to your enrolment inquiries. It can be a video, or even just a little testimonial quote at the bottom of an email with information about your college, that really helps people to put the parent perspective on top of their mind.
Testimonials in Advertising
If you are doing Facebook ads for your school or any social media advertising for your school, you may want to consider a layered approach, when you know that it’s going to take parents a certain amount of time to enrol in your school and that they’re going to want to know about certain aspects of your college.
One of those is testimonials from other parents. So layer your advertising to your audience and include testimonials, whether it be a video testimonial or text testimonials in your advertising. You can also include testimonials in your open event ads and things like that.
Your website is another place where you can use your testimonials. Have scrolling testimonials in the footer of your website. You can have testimonials that are specific to the content that parents are reading about so if they are on the primary school page, have primary school parents talking specifically about the primary school programme. Giving their testimonial about the primary school programme or the head of school.
When you use testimonials, it’s worthwhile to include a photo of the family or the person that’s giving the testimonial, this makes it feel more authentic, and people can put a face to the testimonials.
Another place that you can use your testimonials is as extra content on things like your brochures, your advertisements, and your prospectus. It’s very important to have information about your different offerings and programmes and then to back it up with your testimonials.
I hope that you found this useful and that you spend some monthly time building your testimonials, not only building a database of testimonials but also using it effectively in your marketing. If you want to join the discussion, you can do so in the Marketing Mastery for Schools Facebook group. If you are not already we’d love to have you in the group, I’m sure there will be a little bit of discussion in the group about this topic this week.