If you are a Business Education teacher, a Family and Consumer Science Teacher, or a teacher of any elective course or pathway, then you know the drill each year: it’s up to you and/or your department to market the courses and programs you offer at your high school. For years, teachers of elective courses have tried to develop creative ways to inform students about how taking electives can help prepare them for a successful future. Teachers of elective courses have been known to come up with creative slogans, adorn hallways and lockers with eye-catching flyers, create themed bulletin boards and prepare packets for counseling departments to share promotional information. Well, there’s a new marketing tool in town that is at the fingertips of our students every day - social media and now may be the time to use it!
Twitter - Individual teachers or an entire department in a school can create a Twitter account to spread current news on what is happening within their courses and programs. By creating a Twitter account, teachers and students can follow many of the state and national programs that your course may partner with: Junior Achievement, NAF, DECA, Project Invest, FBLA, Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Clubs, and many others. Be sure to tag local, state and national partners when sharing news on your Twitter feed and watch for those retweets to begin! Better yet, include pictures from activities happening in your classroom. This promotional tool is free and can help future students see what your course is all about. Encourage current students to retweet your posts and watch your number of followers grow.
Instagram - High School students just love Instagram! Share fun photos of what is happening in your classroom whether students are working on a team project or trying a new tech tool. Be sure to showcase achievements and awards, and highlights of student conferences, meetings or volunteer activities. The more pictures you post with a variety of students, the more of a following your course and your department will build on Instagram.
Facebook - Although Facebook isn’t the most popular social media for teenagers these days, Facebook does a fantastic job targeting an older demographic - the student’s parents! Post pictures onto a department facebook page and encourage parents to follow the department on Facebook at an open house event. Sharing photos and stories on Facebook is an excellent way for parents, school board members, and alumni to see all of the exciting ways that your courses and programs are preparing students for a successful future. When posting, be sure to tag the state and national organizations that you may be partnering with including DECA, NAF, Junior Achievement, and many other national organizations that may also be on Facebook.
Snapchat - Did you know that Snapchat can also be a marketing tool? Creating a Snapchat geofilter for an event is an excellent way to spread the word about your course or department. Planning a community service project? Create a geofilter. Planning a DECA banquet or Academy graduation? Create a geofilter. Although community geotags are free, Snapchat approval can be difficult; but purchasing a geofilter for a short-term event comes at a nominal cost. Educators can design a Snapchat geofilter for a specific event at a specific location with minimal cost which can be a very cost-effective way to get students excited about your course. In no time, students will be “snapping” away and sharing your brand in their Snapchat stories for all of their friends to see. The Snapchat Geofilter shown here was used for an Academy of Finance graduation event. It cost $15.00 for a 4 hour period of time. For more information on creating a Snapchat geofilter visit: https://www.snapchat.com/geofilters.
So this spring, as students are planning their future course selections or choosing a learning pathway, try some of these cool social media tools to market your course and department. Social Media marketing is an important tool that companies use, so why not develop a marketing campaign to attract new students? It could be a win-win scenario you’ll want to use again next year!
Be sure to check your school policies for standard release forms for use of student images in your marketing materials and campaigns on social media. If your school does not have a standard or general picture release form, you can create one and ask to have it approved. Good luck!
NAF Academy of Finance Director
Hamburg High School, NY