Last blog entry I discussed how I communicate with clients, faculty, and staff at my music school, Brooklyn Music Factory. This entry is going to be a follow up pointing out what seems to have worked and what seems to have failed for us. Assessing regularly your system of communication and outreach is vital, I believe, to ensuring that you are reaching everyone you intend to connect with. To me, efficiency in communicating is important because is allows my faculty and I to stay focused on what we do best which is develop our unique curriculum and methodology for teaching music to our 75 students.
Let’s go into more detail on Facebook this month. As a review, our school has a fan page
that we actively try to get as many registered students, faculty and staff to ‘like’. I see it as a great outreach tool as well as highlighter of upcoming events (gigs and parties…or even faculty shows). What we discovered after 4 months of use is the following:
*The easiest way to get students to friend the page is to sign on and get them to do it when they are physically present with the teacher/staff. We still send out email reminders with links as well as put cards out at gigs and events, but there is no substitute for getting the clients in person and on your iPhone logging in and ‘liking’ your fan page right then and there!
*Depending on the age of the students/parents, not everyone uses FB regularly. As much as it is hyped these days, we actually only have a handful of parents that are active on FB daily.
*We have had great luck with posting videos (under a minute and super basic edited pieces of students playing or teachers teaching) on FB. They usually get a few comments and get passed around. It builds our virtual community and is the best kind of promotion (promotion that highlights what we actually do) and the shooting is simply a teacher holding there iPhone or a Flip that we have in our studios. The videos are then emailed directly to Adam who edits and posts within days. The system is simple and flows well most of the time. Production value is low but each video always opens and closes with our school logo and website.
*FB is only OK for raising awareness of upcoming gigs and parties mainly because we have no real way of measuring how many fans are aware of our posting. Yes, there are analytics, called Insights, but because we have an incomplete group ‘liking’ our page, you can actually just have the same four or five enthusiastic fans revisiting. A gig or party or registration announcement needs to be seen by our entire community, so we use FB in addition to all other forms of communication.
*FB is GREAT for celebrating students through video, audio and photos. Our goal is to post 2 videos a day from our Youtube channel. Nothing long and fancy, just short (under a minute) simple examples of what our students are working on in private lessons and in band. I just insist that the staff member that does the quick edit on the raw video footage always adds the school logo on the front and the website on the backside. The footage, by the way, is just shot on an iPhone nine times out of ten. Keep the flow simple and do not get bogged down in production. Get the content on FB as soon as possible. Also, feel free to recycle videos on FB. Often times the original post is missed by many.
*We have gotten nice responses from using FB to raise awareness on other cultural events in Brooklyn and beyond. I have gotten feedback from parents that they really want to take their children to hear more music but actually just need some guidance. FB is perfect for a quick recommendation. Again, do not linger on this, post any and all content. I see it as serving the community, but don’t want it to derail my focus from the main mission which is unifying our school community.
*We have yet to test out FB ads and am not actually sure that we will ever go that route. The positive seems to be the price point, it’s far cheaper than Google. Still, it feels too early to have proved it’s worth for our needs. I would be interested in feedback from others, though, that have succeeded or failed
with spending on FB ads. Anyone?
As we move forward, I am regularly trying to find new and more effective ways to grab a student’s attenion. At this stage, there is no question in my mind that daily attention needs to be paid to Facebook. If you are not engaged, now is the time! You can be up and running in less than 10 minutes and posting content within the hour. Put someone in charge of making it their daily priority to sign new people up and reconnect regularly with your fans. It may not translate into sales, but it does wonders for keeping your current clients invested.