They’re busily posting on Facebook, pinning on Pinterest, and just generally trying to get the word out.
And this is a great thing. Much of your target market – Millennial parents born between the early 1980s and the mid-1990s – can hardly remember a time when social media didn’t exist, and they are veritably living in their smartphones and tablets. They fully expect your child care center to have both a website and an active Facebook page, at the very least.
But here’s a dirty little secret about social media: It’s not actually marketing.
Now, don’t get me wrong – social media is “marketing” in the sense that everything you do at your center is marketing, from how you answer the phone to how fresh the paint on your building is. But it’s not “marketing” in the truest sense of the word, which constitutes putting an offer out there that people can choose to accept or reject.
Note the difference, for example, between “Check out our Facebook page!” and “Enroll by May 15th and get one week free!”
It’s an important distinction, because a bona fide offer is designed to make people take action – action that will boost your bottom line, and your enrollment numbers, if people take you up on it.
Granted, people can choose to “like” your Facebook page or not, but this isn’t the sort of action that directly grows your business. You should definitely be on Facebook and other social media channels, but this should not be the only type of marketing you’re doing.
Many child care professionals shy away from actual marketing, for a variety of reasons. You may feel uncomfortably salesy or pushy doing it. You may think that word of mouth should be enough. You may, quite reasonably, feel queasy about opening yourself up for rejection.
But it’s important to overcome these mental hurdles, because there’s nothing wrong with telling people about your great program and encouraging them to actually come in and sign up. It’s how you get fully enrolled, and how you (in turn) help as many kids in your area as possible.
Remember: Facebook “likes” don’t pay the bills or enrich children’s lives.