So, now you’ve got the basics (covered in How to Market Your Early Years Setting on Social Media), it’s time to decide what social media platform(s) to use.
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all offer a myriad of opportunities to advertise your setting, but what is the difference between them, and what’s the best way to use each one?
The main purpose is to encourage friends and family to connect. People use it to share photos and videos, along with updates about life events, and to keep track of birthdays or arrange social events. Compared to Twitter, Facebook has a much larger audience of various age ranges, whereas Twitter’s audience is primarily aged between 18-29.
Facebook also has a lot of nifty tools for paid advertising, such as creating a ‘lookalike’ audience (using a list of your page’s current followers and targeting people with similar lifestyles and interests) and the ability to fine-tune your audience targeting with keywords, locations and even excluding people you know won’t be interested.
Much more immediate than Facebook, Twitter is used to connect to a much larger number of people than just friends and family, can be used for news and opinions and encourages more discussion with the character limit meaning comments are more concise and conversational.
Because of its immediate nature, Twitter isn’t necessarily the best platform for posting an image/article and intending for it to be seen all day. It’s more useful to use Twitter to engage with trending hashtags so that users who are actively interested in those topics will see your content more easily, and to interact with followers in almost real-time conversations.
Unlike the other two, Instagram is focused on images and video. While there is the space to write long, detailed captions, it’s usually much more effective to put the key points in the actual videos rather than in the caption. Instagram’s main audience is aged between 18-24.
As it is so visual, Instagram is perfect for sharing the more colourful aspects of Early Years life; art projects, messy play, outdoor games and nature walks would all provide excellent images to promote the range of activities you carry out on a daily basis.
As it is owned by Facebook, Instagram still has a lot of targeting options when it comes to paid advertising but, as the audience is smaller, it won’t have the same level of results as Facebook.
A quick breakdown:
- Roughly 46% of Twitter users are on the site every day, and 81% of millennials check Twitter at least once a day.
- Facebook users tend to check the platform eight times per day, compared to five for Twitter.
- Instagram users meanwhile check the platform six times a day.
As these are the most popular apps for brands and businesses, the best approach would be a mixture of two (or all three) to make sure you’re reaching your audience as effectively as possible.
There are a number of social media scheduling tools to help you line up posts in advance and save having to remember to post every day. These are especially useful if you want to set up periodic reminders about events at your setting or national days like World Book Day. They do cost money, so you should weigh up if the extra cost is worth the saved time, but most offer a free trial so you can test their suitability to your needs before committing to anything.
The top three affordable schedulers that cover Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are:
Hootsuite allows you to schedule posts across all three platforms easily. Because of the way Instagram works (only posting from mobile), you still need to manually approve posts when it’s time to go live, but you’ll get a reminder at the time to approve the scheduled post. Hootsuite also provides analytics so you can see what content is working best for you.
Buffer lets you post to your platform and provides real-time analytics so you can instantly see the impact of your posts. With their ‘Top Post’ feature you can compare different forms of content to see what works best on each platform.
Slightly more expensive but offering a more professional service, Hubspot allows you to schedule like Hootsuite and Buffer, but also offers management tools as part of their Marketing Hub so you can look critically at the reactions to your posts to ensure that the work you put in brings some form of business return.
Overall, you need to take some time to work out what’s best for you. This may be using a scheduler to post just to Instagram and Facebook, or posting to all three platforms yourself; every Early Years setting is different. But the more you post, the more you’ll learn what combination suits your setting, and the more you’ll see the results rolling in.