Independence Day. Our great nation’s birthday, and like all birthdays, a momentous occasion to celebrate.
The fireworks have definitely become bigger and grander. Shows are being sponsored by businesses, accompanied by orchestras, and watched by millions!
With so much attention going around, there are many opportunities for schools to get their message out.
Let’s take a closer look.
Not Too Cool For School
With all of the marketing noise during a day like this, everybody is trying to get the most attention and make the biggest impression, but there’s one obvious question:
How can your school stand out?
Most schools celebrate the 4th of July by inviting their students and families for a festival. You’ll see food stalls often run by local restaurants, games, contests, and of course, some live entertainment, too.
Most celebrations end the same way they’ve always ended – in a symphony of fireworks lighting up the night sky. Nice enough, but nothing new, really.
Keeping Up With The Times
Robert Frost once said that “Freedom lies in being bold.” On the 4th of July, this is good advice for schools.
So what unique initiatives are schools implementing on Independence Day?
Well, the Woodlands Schools Foundation did a Fun Run, with a difference.
In 2016, they partnered with a gym in their community, Kaia FIT, and created an annual 4th of July event.
With a business partnership and an active social media presence, WSF was able to raise huge awareness. From 63 people who responded to their 2015 Facebook event, they went up to 200 responses the next year.
This brought attention to the schools they represent and raised some funds too. It also brought a fitness-oriented element to the 4th of July celebrations. Something different and exciting.
Another good example is Spring Creek’s Freedom Festival event. They included a Freedom Fun Run/Walk and an award ceremony with a few other activities. They tapped into the nature of Independence Day with a fun, interactive element and made it different.
Their online promotion assured them 244 guests, and 284 others expressed an interest in attending.
Your school could benefit from running unique 4th of July marketing campaigns. With a different and exciting set of events and some clever social media marketing, you can stand out from the rest of the crowd.
Let’s give you some ideas to shake up those old routines.
Incorporate some of these ideas into your events:
Launch a Facebook photo contest, and make use of a free contest app to spread the word on your page. Kids could dress up like the Founding Fathers, and the photo with the most likes wins.
Last year, Snapchat rolled out an update that allowed their users to face-swap with the Founding Fathers. Bring it back, encourage users to share them, and post the best ones on your page.
Keep the photo-themed competition element going by creating one on Instagram. Encourage your followers to post their best 4th of July photo.
Don’t forget Twitter. Make use of Twitter polls, and encourage user engagement by asking them for their preferences in certain parts of the event.
Independence Day themed quizzes are a great idea. Give away a coupon from one of your event sponsors to the winner! Use Typeform to create a unique quiz for free.
Why not blend some social responsibility initiatives into the celebrations? They certainly fit well with the theme of the day:
A cleanup raid or charity drive can tap into the community spirit while making a difference.
Your school could also initiate other community events, such as donation drives for school supplies or celebrating Independence Day with the elderly.
Rally up volunteers from student groups and their families, and get everyone involved!
Give your social media pages a 4th of July makeover by dressing them in red, white and blue!
Here are some handy tips on how to get your communication platforms ready to celebrate with you:
- Make sure to create a Facebook Event, and promote that post. While you’re at it, you’ll want to modify your Facebook & Twitter Headers for the holiday.
- Assign a hashtag for your event, and encourage people to use it. This way, afterward, you can find other people’s posts and share them on your site, or show them some love via a like or comment.
- Create regular posts on your social media, website, and newsletter leading up to the actual day. Fill it up with 4th of July trivia, reminders, and teasers to get your audience excited.
- In the days leading up to July 4th, make sure to get one of your teachers or staff to respond actively to questions online. Make it personal, welcoming, and warm.
- You could also add a few behind the scenes photos and videos and share them on your Instagram account. Don’t forget the hashtag!
- Assign a parent or student as the photographer/videographer. Aside from covering the festivities, get them to ask for testimonials, too. Fun facts, trivia, little dances, giggles and jiggles.
- Upload an album on your site and Facebook page. Create a highlight reel, which you can post afterward, and encourage attendees to tag themselves and others.
- Make use of Instagram Stories, posting short sub-15-second video clips.
- There is also Facebook Live. Stream your event from there, or stream a clip or a post-event interview, and you could entice even more people in the area to pay you a visit.
Then again, you could always go with the traditional methods that many other schools are used to.
If it ain’t broke, why fix it, right?
There are so many different and innovative ways to celebrate this great day though, and many schools have had real success by incorporating social media engagement strategies.
Wouldn’t you want the same for your school?
It might take a few tries to make it work well for you. Maybe this year you start small, and next year you go further. Trial and error are part of the process and also part of the fun, too.
In the spirit of the 4th of July, try something new, break the mold, and celebrate the fact that you have the freedom to do so!
Let us know! What are you doing differently this year?