Traditional marketing has gone out the window. As childcare owners, we must get creative with our marketing strategies if we want to attract and retain families.
Traditionally, one might distribute flyers to local businesses or put a ‘Now Enrolling’ banner outside of their childcare facility. In today’s time that is not enough to attract new parents. Parents are no longer driving around town searching for childcare. We are now living in a digital age where online search and social media are the main resources that parents use when looking for everything from childcare, to restaurants, to hotels, and more. Just think about how many times a parent walks into your center looking down at their phones
Why Social Media Marketing is Crucial in Childcare
Consider that there are now more than 4.6 billion active internet users worldwide and approximately 4.2 billion active social media users across the globe. Having a social media presence, a website, and being online is no longer an option - but a necessity! We must meet our parents where they are and given that our parents are Millennials, they are always online. Technology plays a major role in the way Millennials communicate, search for information, and make decisions. This means that you must always prioritize some form of online marketing.
Engaging in this world of social media for your childcare center can be scary and uncomfortable. However, if done right it can be a huge return on your investment for your business. Social media can reach a wide range of potential customers and as a plus, it’s FREE. Social media is a place where you can show the world what you have to offer at your childcare center. Parents searching for childcare in your area will see your posts or your page. That may be all it takes to prompt them to call or come in for more information.
This new generation likes everything “microwaveable”, meaning they are accustomed to having questions answered quickly and receiving feedback on demand. This is why a website is also crucial to the continued success of your business. If a parent can enroll their children by simply clicking the link on your website, that makes the enrollment process easy and more accessible. Make sure you are sharing links to your website on your social media pages so parents can easily access your enrollment forms and other important information.
Where and What to Post on Social Media
Do you have an active social media presence for your childcare center? At the minimum, you should have a Facebook Business page. Facebook is the world’s most widely used platform and it’s easy to navigate. Most of us use Facebook in our daily lives already which is a major advantage when beginning social media for your business. Once you learn all the tools and features available through Facebook it will be easy to connect with prospective families and even new employees. Facebook is a great tool to post ads for job openings, enrollment, events, and content that will attract parents.
When posting on social media make sure that you are being consistent, providing value, and being intentional about what you post. The content that you post can have a huge impact on the connections being made and the engagement on your page.
Here are some do’s and don’ts when posting on social media:
Do make sure you have parental consent of the children that you post. You must have a signed consent form from each parent on file. The form needs to clearly state that their children’s pictures can be used for social media and advertising purposes.
Do be consistent with posting. In my opinion, I find that posts should at least be made once per day for people to really get a glimpse of your center. Fortunately, there are auto-posting apps you can use to save time. Some apps that can be used are Plann and Planoly.
Do post quality photos of day-to-day activities, classroom learning, staff interaction, community involvement, etc. This content will show the unique qualities and friendly environment of your center which can help you connect with potential customers.
Do engage with others to boost your social media presence. Interact with your audience by replying to comments and answering questions. Make sure to create posts that are engaging so they are more likely to be liked and shared.
Do be a resource for parents by sharing tips and activities. It’s a great idea to share parenting tips and children’s activities on your page. Parents will like the idea of knowing that you have information to share, creating a bond filled with communication and trust.
Do not post personal pictures on your business page. This page is for business purposes only. Refrain from posting about what you did on the weekend or other aspects of your personal life.
Do make sure that your posts have quality photos and relatable content. Be intentional about what you post. Be aware of what’s in the picture, the background, and what message you are portraying. Determine if the caption relates to the image before you post.
Do not over-post. Posting too much can run a potential customer off. Post just enough to keep them engaged and coming back for more.
Do not stop posting because of likes. You may not get a lot of likes at first but that doesn’t mean people are not enjoying your content. Continue to share and eventually, they will start to acknowledge your content.
Do not forget to proofread. Remember, you are in education and you want to make sure you are spelling correctly and using proper grammar. This shows parents that you are professional and offer a quality early education program.
If done right, social media marketing for your childcare center can be fun and very resourceful.
Social media should be used to bring awareness to your childcare business. It should showcase what you have to offer, encourage prospective customers to enroll, and engage with your current families. Shine a light on your unique qualities through social media.
The Next Steps for Childcare Success
Now that you know how and why social media marketing is so important for your childcare business, how can you get started or continue growing your online presence?
If you’re ready to take your childcare center on this social media marketing journey and need a marketing plan you can visit my website www.thechildcarechic.com. There is a downloadable 12-month marketing guide, “Childcare Marketing Like a Boss”, which is a resource to help you create social media marketing content.
If you are ready to go beyond just social media marketing for your childcare business you can also check out my “ABC’s to Childcare Marketing” class.