In this session, Cheril Clarke and Isabella Marenco joined us to answer questions on using video to promote your school. They discussed how videos can feature glimpses into daily life at your school, how to use trending background audio, and embracing short, engaging content.
Hi everyone, and welcome to Tuesday Tips, our weekly conversation on all things challenges for school leaders. My name is Michael Barber. We are here every Tuesday on our YouTube channel, charter School Capital, at 10:00 AM Pacific, 1:00 PM Eastern. Talking about challenges that school leaders face Today, we are tackling a timely topic as we head into the enrollment marketing season of many school leaders, and that is social media, specifically video in your usage of driving enrollment and your marketing efforts at your school. So I have gathered two incredible names to have a chat today. Mm-hmm. It’s on my right, but it may be on your left, depending on how we’re looking at this. That’s my colleague Isabella Renco. She leads our social media practice at Charter School Capital. And on my left, maybe your right is Cheril Clark. Cheril is on our enrollment marketing team, and I asked them to come in today to have a chat about video. So we’re gonna get right into the questions. As just a reminder, we spend about 10 minutes here every Tuesday talking challenges for school leaders. So let’s get into some of these questions. We’ll start with this, and I’ll tee this up first for Cheril, if you will, would love to know how you’re seeing school leaders that you’re working with or the team is working with, what they’re using video for right now.
Cheril Clarke (01:40):
Um, the first thing that comes to mind would be campus tours or virtual campus tours. So that has been, um, so that’s something that’s been really good and gotten some traction to kind of, you know, bring people into the school, through, through their phones or their, their, their tablets or what have you touring, you know, getting a sense of what does it look like outside, what does, what do the playgrounds look like, um, inside, you know, the classrooms, the hallways, everything from, you know, just the music room versus wherever the kids do science, or if there are some, some schools have really outdoor spaces. So, um, that’s a great way to highlight the uniqueness of a school. So the first thing definitely would be virtual campus tours. Um, I would also say another thing could be, um, a particular program highlight. So if you’re, if there’s a school that has, um, a really, really good, um, artistic program or music, art, dance or something like that, so highlighting a particular program, which could kind of go high hand in hand with, um, highlighting, specific faculty and staff too. So, virtual tours, highlighting programs, highlighting staff teachers, because yeah, really, the principal doesn’t always have to be the spokesperson for the school. It could be someone else, it could be a different teacher. It could even be the other parts of the staff. It could be the janitor or someone that the kids see every day anyway. And, you know, show some love to someone who’s working in another capacity in the school. All these people matter because all these people help make the school a great place for the kids to come to every day.
Michael Barber (03:13):
Yeah. I think what I heard you say there is to make sure you’re using video for telling those unique stories about your school. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, bring some different voices because people want to hear all the types of individuals they’re gonna interact with at the school. Um, bring those voices that, you know, may not have to do with only just education, but making the school what it is, like, the janitor team, like admin individuals, maybe as teacher assistants and whatnot. Tell that full story. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that’s, that’s a great answer and some great insights there. Um, I’m gonna ask the next question to Isabella Isa. I know you spend a ton of time watching some of our school’s social media channels. Do you have some examples? I’ve got one top of mind that I want to tell in just a second, but I wanna offer you the opportunity first, but what are you seeing, like key examples of schools name the schools, what they’re doing interesting right now when it comes to video in their, social media channels?
Isabella Marenco (04:07):
I think the KIPP charter school team they’re amazing. I love that they do. I like to Cheril’s point they do classroom tours and teacher tours or teacher takeovers on their stories. And even if I’m not in school, but I, I feel like I know them, and I feel like even as a partner, I’m like, I love her. I’m rooting for that teacher. I can’t wait till she’s live again. I think you do grow a connection with them when they take, do story takeovers, um, or classroom, I think right now is back-to-school season, so it makes you excited to go to school.
Michael Barber (04:38):
Yeah. Seeing those kids come back and, you know, as they run in from the buses or the drop off spaces and, um, and the back to school excitement is always fun. I’ve, I’ve been loving the last few days of seeing my friends and family post, you know, the, the token, kid photo with what grade they’re entering in, and suddenly you realize how old you are as well when you’re seeing kids that were babies now, you know, entering middle and high school, you’re suddenly like, where did the time go? My last question, I should say next to last question. I’ll pose that same one to Cheril, are you seeing any specific schools do something interesting? Have you seen a school that’s just like, oh, that’s an example of something I think is really interesting?
Cheril Clarke (05:20):
I would say Creative City has put some great stuff out. Um, they are in Baltimore. Um, they, they, they just got it. It’s just an inherently cool school that there’s so much, um, there for visual stimulation for parents and prospective parents watching their social media to say, oh my gosh, this is really, um, a, looks like a, not just, you know, a school, but a, a community, a school that’s rooted in a community that really anchors and, and uses it shows, these students, really enjoying themselves while they’re learning.
Michael Barber (05:54):
Yeah. So we’ve got the KIPP team, of course, just doing a stellar job; a really good example there from Cheril on Creative Circle in Baltimore. I’ll add one more. There is an elementary school, excuse me, a preschool in the San Diego area of California where I grew up, Carmel Mountain, I think it’s called Carmel Mountain Preschool. If I recall correctly, they had a, TikTok video go viral that, at the end of June and maybe the end of May, the beginning of June, um, of their pre-K and K graduation ceremony. And they ti they, they paired the video with a trending music background, a trending track, if you will. And it was just one of the cutest videos I’ve ever seen, and it’s had something ridiculous, like two and a half million views, you know, and generated like 30,000 followers for them on TikTok. Speaking of these great examples and, and bringing up TikTok and reels and, you know, YouTube shorts, a question I’ll start with Sharon, I’ll come back to Isabella, is sort of what’s working when it comes to video in social media, the different formats. What should school leaders be considering, um, or potentially what should they discontinue behaviors from a video that you’re seeing? What’s working, what’s not working? I mean,
Cheril Clarke (07:13):
One thing you just nailed was if and when it’s possible to take advantage of a trending song, um, if they’re using TikTok, because that can help a lot. Now obviously, you got some of the songs that you just can’t use for schools, but if there happens to be a happy-go-lucky kind of song that’s appropriate and it’s trending, definitely try to use that with your video because people may be searching for the school or they just may see stuff randomly in the algorithm, but songs can really push and drive the views on a video. I would say, of course, shorter is, is definitely where it is right now. Um, people are kind of just, people are fatigued and they’re exhausted with long-form videos. So I would do, you know, try to find that sweet spot where it’s not so short that it’s not substantive, but it’s not so long that, like, they’re like, okay, I’ve had enough of this. So, um, that, and sometimes the, the cut, the ones that don’t look super, super polished actually do very well. Um, so you don’t feel like you can’t do a video because you don’t have this big great setup. Cell phones are fine. I mean, we’re on them all day long, so, um, I would keep that in mind too.
Michael Barber (08:17):
Such good tips there, Isabella, anything to add?
Isabella Marenco (08:21):
Yeah, I agree. I say utilize the app, and edit in the app. The tools are there, it’s available, it’s doable. The audio will show you what’s trending. Um, especially if you’re just starting. And I feel like the best tips that I see or really lean into your niche. And I think, especially for schools, show that uniqueness. What makes your school different? What are you not trying to sell, but what would make somebody wanna go to your school and just lean into it? And I love how Cheril said, like, the rougher cuts are the best because I think that too, I think the more candid, the better. What’s real, you know, I wanna see that.
Cheril Clarke (08:58):
And for, for your audience, one more thing just made me think of really quick, because also with the music, there’s a big difference for what might be, you know, really what might hit an audience that’s in Miami Gardens Florida versus an audience. That’s audience that’s in Philly. Those are two distinct sounds and, and cultures that are different. So keep that in mind too. And Atlanta, that is
Michael Barber (09:17):
<laugh>. Yeah, that is, that is such a good insight because you know, especially on TikTok, um, the rise of these musicians that are very locally, you know, sort of geographically local in certain areas, right? Leveraging their audio background could be really interesting to generate views inside a very specific demographic, a very specific geo geographic area, because people will have interacted with likely that local musician’s content because they like them. So that’s like, that is such stage advice. That’s why we do these YouTube lives. I mean that’s like, that’ll encapsulate, that’ll have to be our headline for our email next week that highlights this conversation. Um, so what I heard was this is focus on those rough cuts don’t necessarily make, it does not necessarily need to be that polished video, especially in social, you’ve got all the editing tools at your disposal, the cameras in your phones, in, in the actual application themselves.
You can use third parties, but you can also just edit right in, the apps themselves. Leverage those trending background audios. You might probably wanna stay away from like, you know, some questional, you know, lyrics for certain artists, right? I think of like Lizzo, I like big butts. Like those sorts of lyrics are probably not gonna work for schools, but maybe they work for other brands, right? Just be careful of that background audio. Um, and I think the, the takeaway, the headline from our conversation today is think about the geographic area that you are in and the music and the background that works well for that area because a trending audio from a certain area may not work well in another area. I think that’s our headline takeaway for the day. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. Um, we are right at 11 minutes and I wanna be respectful of our audience and just say thank you to you both for hopping on today and talking all things video for school leaders.
We will bring you both back as this is a topic that we continue to hear from our school leaders is a challenge of, you know, what do I do with social, how do I generate enrollment from social? And video is just such an important component for us. So we’ll have to bring Isabella Marenco on my rate, maybe your left, and Cheril Clark back again from our team. Greatly appreciate both of you and thanks for everyone for tuning in. Again, we’re here every single Tuesday for our Tuesday tip series, challenging or excuse me, having conversations on all things Challenges for school leaders Tuesday 10:00 AM Pacific, and, 1:00 PM Eastern. We’ll be back next week. Look forward to seeing you then. Take care. Bye
Cheril Clarke (11:47):
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