18 Dec 2014
Our clients often ask us to advise on their marketing campaigns because we've been talking to teachers since 1998: we email 80,000 teachers several times a week and we successfully use blogs, forums, Twitter and LinkedIn (but, idiotically, not Pinterest) to keep teachers up to date and to share their thoughts. So we thought we'd take a serious look at ways in which teachers use social media in their professional lives and so ran two studies with teachers: a survey of secondary teachers and a focus group study of primary teachers.
The findings mostly confirmed what we'd gleaned through our ongoing conversations with teachers: their professional use of social media is commensurate with their personal use - some media in growth, others in decline. Clear differences between those used by secondary teachers and those used by primary are also apparent. For example primary teachers like inspiration (hence the interest in Pinterest) while secondary teachers prefer a stronger resource focus.
First, Facebook: not because it's a priority but for the opposite reason. If you're investing heavily in Facebook as a marketing tool, it's perhaps time to review the strategy. Teachers don't like it being used as a marketing tool. They see it as a means of personal communication for their friends and family, not as a way to find resources or info for teaching. Also, it's become a mobile medium - most of its traffic is via phone - in general as well as by teachers, and the phone is not a good place for suppliers to display their wares. Plus (or, really, another minus) Facebook is widely blocked in schools - over half - and even if teachers can get it (eg on their mobile) they generally tend not to, when at work. Finally, it's in decline compared to other media.
On the other hand: Pinterest. Schools like it, they can access it and it's all about stuff, not waffle. It has pictures, not words, so teachers can browse it at the same time as doing other things and it can capture the imagination instantly. Search Pinterest on Tudors, for example and then click on an image that looks relevant to your needs: you get a link to more info, plus more pictures on related subjects. Within seconds you have a barrel full of ideas for lessons, wall displays, independent learning activities, printables, PowerPoints - and so on. These are the kinds of things that teachers are looking for nowadays, not ready-made lesson plans and presentations.
So, if your marketing strategy is word-based, think more in pictures.
(This research not sponsored by Pinterest!)
You can find our 2014 social media research here:
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