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Using Instagram Stories to Promote Your School

February 12, 2019
Using Instagram Stories to Promote Your School

With more than 200 million users, Instagram Stories has surpassed Snapchat as the leader in applications sharing real-time (disappearing) content. Is your institution taking advantage of this free marketing tool? Here are some of the many ideas for using Instagram Stories to promote your school or business.  

Using Instagram Stories to Promote Your School

Using Instagram Stories to Promote Your School

Idea #1: Show a typical day as a student

Potential students will benefit from content that shows what a typical day is like. Recruit a student to be an ambassador and show what a day is like, including transportation to and from the school, coffee or cafeteria breaks, classes, and after school programs. Save these and make them a “saved” story that users can easily access at the top of your Instagram page.

Using Instagram Stories to Promote Your School

Idea #2: Give campus and classroom tours

Provide insight into what your campus and classrooms look like. Have a student advisor or administrator provide tours and introduce the staff members that students may work with when they attend your school. This serves as great orientation content for new students as well!

Using Instagram Stories to Promote Your School

Idea #3: Highlight activities

Many schools put together incredible activities, yet feel frustrated that potential students do not see this content. Instagram Stories is an excellent way to give potential students an idea of what they may experience after school. It’s also an excellent opportunity to show some of the area’s highlights.

Using Instagram Stories to Promote Your School

Idea #4: Highlight campus events

What is happening on campus? Share this in IG Stories!

Using Instagram Stories to Promote Your School

Idea #5: Share blog posts

In addition to sharing blog posts on Facebook, use IG Stories to notify followers that a new post is up. You can also recycle old posts to generate more readers for articles that were published in the past.

Using Instagram Stories to Promote Your School

Idea #6: Post news for students

Let students know of school news using IG Stories. Examples include posts on the following:

  • Last-minute changes
  • Tuition and application deadlines
  • Weather advisories
  • Birthdays

Using Instagram Stories to Promote Your School

Idea #7: Share user-generated content (student photos)

Utilize user-generated content by sharing photos that students posted. It’s an excellent way to highlight the experience of students through their own eyes!

Using Instagram Stories to Promote Your School

 

Did you know? A third party marketing team can help organize and motivate your internal staff to continually promote your school on social media channels. Contact Lastarria Media for more information.

Marketing Guides Tip of the Week

52 Tips for Marketing Your Institution

January 3, 2019

Throughout the year, Lastarria Media will be offering a “Tip of the Week” each week. Check out our LinkedIn page for each of these tips, or read the tips below for some inventive ways to marketing your IEP or other educational institution.

52 Tips for Marketing Your Institution

Tip #1: Review reports on your Audience, Language, Pages, and Landing Pages

Use the first week of January to review your analytics reports of 2017 vs. 2018. Make sure to review reports on your Audience, Language, Pages, and Landing Pages. Use these reports to:

–  Identify target audiences (and make sure that your Sales and Marketing Plan for 2019 incorporates these countries);

– Make sure that your multilingual pages are for the appropriate languages;

– Determine if your main web pages are accurately optimized;

– Make necessary web changes to improve the performance of key web pages.

Learn more with our article, How to Use Metrics for a Successful Website.

Tip #2: Make sure all marketing efforts in your 2019 plan are clearly planned and assigned (with deadlines)

Start your year off right! Make sure that your year is carefully planned. All internal employees should know their roles in marketing efforts; your third-party marketing company must know how to work with your internal team in order to meet all marketing goals.

Tip #3: Conduct a site audit

Conduct a comprehensive site audit to make sure that your site is up to date in regard to content. Don’t know how to conduct this detailed and comprehensive project? A third-party marketing team can orchestrate this.

Tip #4: Review social media “about” sections

Check your social media accounts to make sure their descriptions use your identified keywords. Don’t HAVE keywords? Then you need Lastarria Media. We provide targeted keyword strands based on your industry, competitors, and your institution’s marketing goals and target audience.

Tip #5: Identify multilingual hashtags for target audiences

Be sure that your institution is using branded and industry-specific, carefully selected hashtags on all social media. Hashtags should be industry staples and trending.

Tip #6: Run a broken link check

Are you 100% sure that your site and blog have no hyperlinks that lead to a 404 error message? To be certain, you need to run a broken link report and fix any broken links. Don’t know how to run a broken link check? We run them for you!

Tip #7: Review keywords (and check their performance)

A two-part question here: are you certain that you’ve identified the most effective keywords and keyword strands? And how are these keywords/keyword strands performing?

Keyword and keyword strand selection is a complex process.

Note: simply searching for your keywords on Google isn’t enough to determine your rankings. Google will take into consideration your location, your search history, and more. To truly identify your rankings (both locally and globally) requires a more complex process. Contact us to learn more.

Higher Education Industry Statistics Marketing Marketing Guides SEO Social Media Video Content Web Content

Weathering the Storm: Tips for Surviving the U.S. International Education Recession

October 26, 2018
Tips for Surviving the U.S. International Education Recession

The international enrollment numbers are in, and they reflect what those who work in international education know: these have been a troubling few years for the U.S. international education industry. The strong U.S. dollar, disturbing media reports about safety amid gun violence, xenophobia, and the current political climate are all factors contributing to this downtown in enrollment numbers.  

In the middle of this perfect storm, international education administrators and recruiters are left with the challenge of promoting U.S. programs. To weather this storm, Lastarria Media has provided some tips for surviving the U.S. international education recession.

Weathering the Storm: Tips for Surviving the U.S. International Education Recession

1. Reorganize/restructure internally as needed

Numbers are down: use this time to your benefit. Take a look at the administrative structure of your institution and make the changes needed to survive (keeping in mind that you will probably need to implement another restructure when numbers again improve). Plan for these fluxes accordingly: have one structure for assigned duties based on low enrollment, and another based on high enrollment. Utilize this period of low enrollment to prepare for the implementation of each of these plans.

Tips for Surviving the U.S. International Education Recession

2. Complete a website audit

Your website is a marketing and recruiting tool . . . are you using it as such? Take this downtime to review your website and make sure that it has all of the elements it needs. During this audit, ask the following questions:

  • Is all information up to date?
  • Are all programs fully explained?
  • Are the photos fresh?
  • Do all links work?
  • Are all forms updated?
  • Is the privacy policy GDPR compliant?
  • Is it the site easy to navigate?
  • Is it easy for students to sign up for classes?

Consider hiring a consultant to make suggestions regarding user experience (UX) and to edit the site as a whole. The best time to double your online marketing presence is during times of economic slowdown.

Tips for Surviving the U.S. International Education Recession

3. Consider revising/updating admissions forms and systems

Now is the time to fix or improve your admissions system. Instruct employees to test your systems and review each step of the online admissions process and PDF application process. Remove unnecessary items and streamline the application to ensure the application process is fluid.

Tips for Surviving the U.S. International Education Recession

4. Review your message and marketing materials

What is your institution’s message? Do your marketing materials reflect this? Do they clearly show what sets your institution apart from your competitors? While looking for the answers to these questions, it is a good idea to take a look at your competition’s websites and marketing materials. This will show you how your school stacks up.

Tips for Surviving the U.S. International Education Recession

5. Update and refresh your branding

Is your logo up to date? Is it used throughout your materials? Now is the time to look at this and decide if your school needs a marketing makeover. These investments will pay off when it comes to recruiting in 2019.

Tips for Surviving the U.S. International Education Recession

6. Focus on your message through social media

Social media costs very little, but the rewards are great. During restructuring, recruit an internal employee to share your school’s message via social media. Have this person do the following:

  • Carefully select your school’s branded hashtag
  • Follow agencies and partners on Instagram
  • Post daily: share school activities, classroom activities, and anything that makes your school special!
  • Run IG contests with small prizes (and have students use the hashtag in order to participate)
  • Promote activities on Instagram and Instagram stories
  • Use Canva to create IG posts (it’s free!)
  • Share all IG posts on Facebook
  • Tips for Surviving the U.S. International Education Recession

7. Pay close attention to Google Analytics and use Analytics for sales plans

Google Analytics provides useful metrics in regard to your website: our article about Using Web Metrics for a Successful Website explains the ways to turn these statistics into effective marketing and sales plans.

Use your Landing Pages and Pages reports to understand user activity and trends over time: these reports will also aid in identifying underperforming pages that need SEO improvement. Use the Location report to identify emerging markets, and consider translating your website’s main pages into other languages based on this data.

What to Look for in Content Marketing Services

8. Blog, blog, blog

A blog is your marketing tool, your way of connecting to current and potential students, and your key to improving SEO (learn all about this in our post, Why IEPs Need Blogs). The most important aspects of blogging are to blog consistently and to integrate keywords into all posts: both will improve your SEO rapidly.

When blogging, follow these ideas:

  • Encourage teachers to host writing contests: publish the winner on the blog
  • Have teachers guest blog
  • Ask your Activities Coordinator to provide photos and updates
  • Have a Student of the Week
  • Share on social media

Tips for Surviving the U.S. International Education Recession

9. Connect with alumni

Word of mouth remains an excellent marketing tool. Connect with your alumni through a newsletter, alumni events, or a LinkedIn group. Offer them specials if they’d like to return, and seek testimonials from them as well. Consider embedding a custom Google Map to illustrate the diversity of your student population: add testimonials and photos to each popup to recycle your testimonials in a unique and engaging way.

Tips for Surviving the U.S. International Education Recession

Marketing Marketing Guides Video Content YouTube

Getting the Best Testimonials: Tips While Interviewing

October 3, 2018
Using Instagram Stories to Promote Your School

Documentary-style testimonial videos are an incredibly effective marketing tool, but require many elements: high-quality equipment, a skilled cameraperson, a quiet and aesthetically pleasing place to film, and an interviewer who creates a relaxed and welcoming environment are just a few key elements of quality film production. After filming, a video requires skilled editing from a videographer who knows how to present the message and branding of your product, program, company, or institution.

Each of these aspects is vital to creating engaging video content, and many aspects (such as practicing the interview process) can be prepared for in advance. Here are some tips and tricks to the interview process that will help to produce the best footage.

Getting the Best Testimonials: Tips While Interviewing

  1. Let the interviewee know that you will repeat questions several times to allow them to express themselves in several ways.
  2. Remember that these are sound bites. Instruct your interviewees to speak in snippets, not in long paragraphs.
  3. Instruct him/her to sit still and not make faces, nervously laugh, etc. after finishing a response. (People often do this to indicate that he/she is done speaking. It ruins the shot.)
  4. Before filming begins, check that the mic is not showing, that interviewee hair is not out of place, that clothes are in order, and that no one is behind the shot.
  5. Don’t begin asking questions until the cameraperson states that we are rolling.
  6. Look the speaker in the eye as you ask questions and listen to his or her answer.
  7. Do not speak while the interviewee speaks.  
  8. Pause for several seconds before asking the next question.
  9. Make sure that the speaker looks at you and not the camera.
  10. Have the speaker state his/her name, city/country of origin, and other details several times. (Chances are that you will need several options for this sound bite.)
  11. Make sure that every question begins with a statement. For example, “I choose X because . . . “ rather than “I chose it because . . . “ Explain this to the interviewee so that they understand what is needed of them: for example, tell them that in the final product, your questions will not be stated or revealed.
  12. Don’t be afraid to ask the interviewee to state something again if you KNOW that this will not be a useful sound bite because of something that happens or is said. (For example, if an interviewee accidentally stutters too much, or if a noise in the background creates a distraction.)
  13. Have fun and be comfortable: this will help your interviewee relax as well!

Lastarria Media, LLC produces high-quality testimonial videos for the international education sector. Here is just one example of Lastarria Media’s work: to see more samples, contact us.

Marketing Marketing Guides Metrics Web Content

How to Use Metrics for a Successful Website

May 29, 2018
How to Use Metrics for a Successful Website

A website’s metrics can provide useful information about an IEPs web presence, allowing administrators to better understand their website’s audience and make educated decisions regarding investments into website updates. Content creation, SEO improvement, marketing ROI, and even recruitment strategies to target specific audiences all rely upon metrics. Is your IEP or institution using them effectively?

How to use metrics for a successful website

Alexa

How to Use Metrics for a Successful Website

Alexa is a website owned by Amazon that provides web traffic data and analytics. The website is best known for Alexa Rank, which categorizes websites into groups and then ranks each website’s popularity (based on site visits).

Alexa is a useful tool for understanding the effectiveness of your IEP’s website, identifying your competitors, and establishing how you rank against your competition. If your IEP hires a third-party marketing and web development team, ask to see their statistics regarding other client’s Alexa rankings. This will provide insight into the effectiveness of their SEO strategies.

Lastarria Media is proud to have developed and continue to manage the website ranked 3rd in the U.S. for language schools. Contact us for information on how to improve your site’s rankings on Alexa.


Copyscape

How to Use Metrics for a Successful Website

Since duplicate content can negatively affect Google rankings, it is important to have unique content on your site. Copyscape is a plagiarism detector that checks if your site contains content that is also on another website. Simply insert your website’s URL into Copyscape and it will detect any duplicate content on the internet.

 

Google Analytics

How to Use Metrics for a Successful Website

Google Analytics remains a critical tool for understanding a site’s traffic and user behavior. This information is useful in formulating marketing campaigns, understanding industry trends, and analyzing and improving your website.

Through customized Analytics reports, users can track:

  • The total number of visitors to a site (and a site’s individual pages)
  • The location of these visitors (broken down by country or city)
  • On which page visitors enter the site (called a “Landing Page”)
  • The languages used to access your site
  • The number of pages users visit when on the site
  • The length of time users spend on each page
  • The device used to visit the site (for example, mobile devices)
  • The referral source that drives users to the site (for example, Facebook, Facebook mobile, Instagram, or links from another page)

Google Analytics also allows user to compare this data with data from other years, which provides useful information regarding traffic trends.

 

PageSpeed Insights

How to Use Metrics for a Successful Website

Another useful tool from Google is PageSpeed Insights, which reports on the performance on a page and provides suggestions for how page load speed can easily be improved. By plugging any page into PageSpeed, users can see a site’s Speed Score and Optimization Score. The report also provides optimization suggestions, such as its uses of images (which could be sized smaller for quicker load time), its redirects of URLs, its use of JavaScript and CSS, and more.

 

Blogging for IEPs Marketing Marketing Guides SEO Web Content

What to Look for in Content Marketing Services

April 30, 2018
What to Look for in Content Marketing Services

Once an institution has decided to hire a content marketing service to provide quality content,  many administrators find themselves faced with questions regarding pricing, qualifications, and services. What should you look for in content marketing services? Follow these guidelines to be sure your institution is receiving the right services when it comes to content creation and publishing.

A content marketing service should provide the following:

  • Keyword analysis
  • Editorial content calendar
  • Quality blogs that include well-incorporated SEO through content, images, and

What to Look for in Content Marketing Services

Relevant keyword analysis

To attract the right customers or clients, content development agencies begin with a relevant keyword analysis. This analysis is based on many factors, including the client’s current rankings for relevant keywords and rankings in comparison to competitors.

These keywords should be organically incorporated into the website content, including the content itself, URLs, title tags, meta tags, meta descriptors, and images.

What to Look for in Content Marketing Services

A clearly defined editorial calendar

A client should have the final say in an editorial calendar and at all times know what has been published and what is scheduled to be. Make sure that your web content/digital marketing agency provides you with a clearly defined, well organized editorial calendar (and that you are given plenty of time to request changes before the scheduled posts are published).

What to Look for in Content Marketing Services

Well designed, quality blogs

Quality blogs will have the following:

Correctly formatted URLs

A correctly formatted URL should be keyword rich to improve its visibility with search engines and its readability: URLs are shown in search results and are one of the key factors when readers determine whether or not to click on your article. Other factors determine a URLs strength, such as the use of characters (or spaces, which are converted to “%” symbols by search engines and which are impossibly confusing).

A URL should also:

  • Avoid “stop” words (such as prepositions)
  • Have roughly 50-60 characters
  • Be carefully organized with the site’s folders

Digital marketing companies will often run checks of your present site to test URL lengths and viability (and will make suggestions for URL rewrites and web organization based upon this analysis).

Keyword-rich titles

The titles of articles, blog posts, and web pages must be highly optimized for search engines by naturally using the carefully selected target keywords. Keywords should be placed at the beginning of the title to further improve optimization; for example:

  • [YOUR SCHOOL] Named School with the Highest UC Berkeley Transfer Rate
  • Highest UC Berkeley Transfer Rate Award Given to [YOUR SCHOOL]

Assuming the words “Highest UC Berkeley Transfer Rate” are the keywords, the second option is the most viable for a post title.

A professional digital marketing company will take the time to incorporate your school’s keywords into the title in a natural and effective way.

Well hidden “advertising”

Any online content from your institution is a possible marketing and advertising tool: Facebook posts, blog posts, brochures, newsletters . . . everything should be branded and used as an opportunity to attract clients and agents. However, this must be executed subtly, and without the glare of flashy advertising. An experienced digital marketing company will use all online content to your school’s advantage while also creating engaging, useful content for the reader.

What to Look for in Content Marketing Services

Rich snippets

This catchy (yet odd) phrase is best remembered as “the little things” that improve SEO. Examples of rich snippets include how the images are labeled and titled, the words selected for the page/post/article description (which appears underneath the title in search engine results), and Google reviews.

One rich snippet that is well known is schema markup. Schema markup is basically coding placed in a website that “talks” to search engines: it tells the search engine what is on the site and what to display in the search results.

A knowledgeable digital marketing company will take care of all “behind the scenes” rich snippets (such as correctly labeling all images) and schema markup and will advise you on ways that your school can improve SEO through these snippets (such as encouraging Google reviews, one of the growing factors in SEO results).

Lengthy content

A common misconception is that articles should be roughly 300 words. Today, search engines are placing more focus on finding results that are the “authority” on the subject a reader searched for. One of the factors that establishes authority is post length: several SEO studies have proved that longer content tends to rank higher in search results; in fact, posts of approximately 2,000 words are now considered ideal in many markets.

The international education sector, however, is unique: readers are language learners, and 2,000 word articles can actually deter a reader or potential agent. An effective digital marketing agency will produce content of varying lengths, with some posts written to “go viral” and other (shorter) articles published to attract potential students and entertain current students.

Detailed analytics reports

How well is the content you paid for performing? A content marketing service should provide detailed Q1, Q2, Q3, and yearly reports on the following:

  • Overall traffic by country
  • Audience behavior
  • Pages visited (top performing pages)

The digital marketing agency should also provide customized, detailed reports when requested.

To learn more about the services of a quality digital marketing agency with content writing services, contact Lastarria Media, LLC.

Marketing Marketing Guides Social Media Video Content YouTube

YouTube for Higher Education: Tips for Creating and Sharing Video Content

April 4, 2018
YouTube for Higher Education: Tips for Creating and Sharing Video Content

YouTube is a valuable marketing tool for higher education and allows institutions to send a message about the voice of their campus. Is your school using YouTube effectively? Follow these tips to ensure your higher ed institution is creating useful content, engaging with users and providing a pleasant user experience, and getting the most out of the content that is created.

YouTube for Higher Education: Tips for Creating and Sharing Video Content

Creating valuable content

What types of videos should you make? With higher education, there are many options.

  • Guided tours of your campus and/or department
  • Guided tours of housing accommodations
  • Testimonials: students, alumni, staff
  • Student services interviews
  • Tips for incoming students
  • Facebook Live events
  • FAQs video

YouTube for Higher Education: Tips for Creating and Sharing Video Content

Tips when filming

Remember that a user will subliminally connect the quality of a school’s video to the quality of its programs. Be sure to create videos that are clear to see and hear, and choose backgrounds and shooting locations wisely.

  • Choose well-lit locations
  • Record videos with a minimum of 1080p resolution
  • Make sure the camerawork is steady: use a tripod
  • Beware of background noise that can distort
  • Test the sound and lighting before filming all of the testimonials
  • Get plenty of b-roll footage (footage of the campus, buildings, etc. to play while a person is narrating or providing a testimonial)
  • Brand when possible: have people giving testimonials wear a shirt with the school logo, or place students near a sign with the campus name.

YouTube for Higher Education: Tips for Creating and Sharing Video Content

Tips when posting

Posting content is an opportunity to improve your school’s SEO. Don’t miss this opportunity.

  • Video title should be within 70 characters
  • Use keywords in the title if possible to improve SEO
  • Use proper tags: YouTube provides suggestions when uploading
  • Make sure the video description is clear in the first 100 characters: this is what is shown when sharing on social media.
  • Feel free to use the rest of YouTube’s allotted 1,000 characters for the description: this is a good place to use keywords and link to the other sites and social media accounts

 

More tips for producing quality video content

  • Include closed caption for a better user experience: YouTube makes this process simple
  • Always include a call-to-action (Book Now! Learn More!)
  • Remember that call-to-actions can now be included throughout the video using YouTube’s “cards” (this helps catch the attention of users who do not watch the entire video)
  • Create YouTube playlists for an easier user experience. For example, make one video focusing on each program you offer and then make a playlist called “Our Programs.”
  • Get mileage out of your content: share on several platforms! Embed on your institution’s website, share links on PDF versions of flyers, include the link in email signatures, and share on social media.

For more information about producing quality content for your higher education institution, contact Lastarria Media.

 

Higher Education Industry Statistics Instagram Marketing Marketing Guides Social Media

Marketing Higher Education Institutions via Instagram: A Posting Guide for IEPs

April 4, 2018
Marketing Higher Education Institutions via Instagram: A Posting Guide for IEPs

Instagram has become a valuable marketing tool for many industries, including higher education. Yet many institutions are unsure how to utilize Instagram (or remain unconvinced of its influence on consumers). Is your institution profiting from this beneficial form of social media?

Why use IG for marketing?

  • Reach potential students: 80% of IG users live outside of the U.S.
  • Target international student demographic: ​​59% of users are ages 18-29
  • 80% of IG users follow a business
  • 71% of businesses use IG, double from 2016
  • Influencers overwhelmingly prefer IG for brand collaboration: consider scholarships for international influencers*

Marketing Higher Education Institutions via Instagram: A Posting Guide for IEPs

Tips for posting school photos on Instagram

  • Develop/use branded hashtags (7 out of 10 hashtags on IG are branded!)
  • Always use a location (posts with a location  receive almost 80% more engagement)
  • Post on weekdays: this is when engagement is highest
  • Photos receive 36% more engagement than videos.
  • Post photos of students and staff: photos with faces receive 38% more likes
  • Consider the overall look of the gallery (vertical vs. horizontal photos; consistent filters and borders)
  • Use logos (naturally) in photos when possible
  • Create a gallery that is a mix of campus activities, academics, and social outings
  • Use photos to illustrate your school’s diversity
  • Make use of Instagram stories for content that is relevant but not necessary for your gallery (posts disappear within 24 hours)
  • Don’t be afraid to promote programs and specials: 65% of top performing IG posts feature a product
  • Host IG contests with your students: user-generated content has a 4.5% higher conversion rate.
  • Don’t be afraid of emojis: 50% of content on IG has at least one emoticon

Marketing Higher Education Institutions via Instagram: A Posting Guide for IEPs

Need more tips on marketing your educational institution online? Contact Lastarria Media.

* be sure to develop a clear agreement regarding the content that must be posted in exchange for an influencer’s scholarship

Statistics source.

Copyright 2018, Lastarria Media, LLC.