When it comes to promoting your school, Facebook is king. And when it comes to Facebook, videos are king. There’s no better way to reach current and prospective parents than through Facebook, and there’s nothing on Facebook that’s more effective or engaging than a video.
The moral of the story? You need to put more videos about your school on Facebook. Duh.
As the start of the new school year approaches, your goal should be to post at least one video every week about your school. What kind of videos? Anything interesting that’s going on at your school – anything that showcases your students, your curriculum, your innovation or your mission.
And here's the best part – it's a whole lot easier than you think. If you’ve got a smartphone in your pocket, you’ve got everything you need.
Lessons from the Field
As someone who has produced a lot of video projects, I’ve covered the spectrum. As a documentary filmmaker, I’ve made Emmy-nominated films that have aired on PBS, ABC and Fox Sports Detroit.
In my work at MAPSA, I’ve produced dozens of videos and short films spotlighting schools and educators, including our annual Michigan Charter School Teacher of the Year and Administrator of the Year videos. I’ve spent more than a year on a single project, working with huge film crews and ridiculously expensive equipment.
And you know what? Some of the best stuff I’ve done was shot with just my phone, and took me less than an hour to shoot and edit. I’ve learned that telling a great story on video isn’t nearly as complicated as I thought was.
You can do the same thing. You can shoot and edit great videos for your school’s Facebook page using only your phone.
My wife is the director of a charter school in Pinckney called Light of the World Academy. I wanted to prove to myself that it was possible to shoot and edit a quality video using only my phone, so when the school held a Patriotic Concert right before Memorial Day, that’s what I did.
I started by interviewing a couple students, having them tell me about the concert and what it meant to sing those patriotic songs. Then I recorded bits and pieces of the concert – a bunch of 30-second snippets. When it was all over, I edited it using the iMovie app on my phone.
An hour later, I posted it on Facebook. It won't win any awards, but I think it was interesting and watchable (and the video quality was great). Most importantly, the parents loved it – and they started sharing the heck out of it on their own Facebook pages. It got hundreds of views and shares and ended up being one of the best pieces of marketing the school could have done – and it took me less than an hour to put together.
We’ve started doing the same thing at MAPSA – shooting and editing smartphone videos. We did it recently with some charter school graduation videos, and they’ve gotten hundreds of views and a great response. Again – all with a phone.
Some Video Tips
So now that you’ve made it a goal to post at least one video a week this year, here are three tips that will make it all easier:
- Start every video by interviewing a student or two, having them explain what’s going on. (And get the phone nice and close to them – you should do a “head-and-shoulders” shot every time you interview someone.) If you’re doing a video on a concert or science fair, don’t just start shooting video of the concert or science fair. Interview a student and have them explain it first.
- Shoot everything horizontally! Your computer screen is horizontal, which means your video will be horizontal. Don’t shoot vertical video EVER!
- Keep it short. In most every case, your Facebook video shouldn’t be more than three minutes long.
When you post all of your great videos on Facebook this school year, tag @InnovatorsinEducation on Facebook so we can share your success!