This generation of students is completely invested in social media! The power of social media is so strong, businesses invest millions of dollars into building their social media presence as part of their marketing strategy. Why not seize this opportunity and bring the yearbook to platforms that grab students’ attention to make them not just interested, but committed to the yearbook? You must start now because building a social media presence takes time!
Content creation is heavily influenced by video content. TikTok was the platform that launched this form of media, and it has translated into Instagram reels, YouTube shorts, Facebook Reels, etc. Let's start with TikTok and Instagram, two very powerful influencing platforms.
Begin by creating a TikTok or Instagram handle for your yearbook (I’d advise creating both). For example @schoolnameyearbook. You may be thinking that it is too late in the year to start a social media page from scratch, but you’d be surprised by the traction your content can get this last semester of school. Once you have the page created, start posting!
Let your students lead:
Using social media gives your students a chance to lead with their ideas and let their creativity flow. They are fluent in the language and culture of social media. Step back and let their work do the talking.
Split the class up into different roles:
The videographer/ editor
The caption writer
The one looking for new trends/ ideas
These roles could be assigned to individual students or teams of up to three. The videographer/ editor will record and edit the content. Choose a student(s) who is well versed in social media platforms and understands how to incorporate trending sounds, add in text, and make interesting transitions. The caption writer will come up with a caption that draws viewers into the content your team is posting. The student looking for new trends/ ideas will be on the lookout for new content ideas. They may spend some of their free time saving videos they think could be reworked into a yearbook context. They’ll recognize a trending sound and think of ways to apply it to selling the yearbook. These teams of students will work closely together to make sure you are uploading content and keeping your platforms up to date. The entire class will still play a role by being stars in the content you create together.
Make it a fun activity for students:
Social media trends have become a part of students’ culture. Set aside time every Friday for “Social Media Fridays,” and make content with your staff. They’ll begin to look forward to the end of the week because they will create fun content together. See how popular your posts will become. If your staff enjoys making the content, they’ll put full effort into their creations resulting in increased creativity and team unity.TikTok specifically is a place where your students will be highly engaged. The student body will recognize the trends and be drawn to the yearbook more than ever before. The beauty of TikTok content is that you can also upload that same content onto Instagram reels and vice versa! You’re expanding your audience by having more than one social media outlet without having the added pressure of creating different content across platforms.
These examples of staff members who really enjoyed creating and promoting their yearbook will bring a smile to your lips and inspiration to your heart and mind.
Start a hashtag:
Starting a hashtag is not necessarily about gaining traction but about starting a trend throughout your school. It can be a fun way to share all your yearbook-related content. If you create a unique hashtag, your content will be the only one that shows up under that hashtag. A simple hashtag could be #schoolnameyearbook23-24. At an autograph signing party or senior sunset, encourage students to post their photos and use the hashtag your team came up with! You’ll slowly see the content under that hashtag build momentum.
Get the whole school involved:
Encourage your students to reach out to their friends and peers to follow the yearbook social media accounts. Have your staff connect with other students during lunch to be part of a TikTok video. Students will feel like they are part of the yearbook before it has even been distributed. This can also attract students to join the yearbook staff by showing them some of the fun you have in yearbook.
Take over the school’s Instagram account:
Share with students and parents what the yearbook means and why it is so important.
Ask whoever is in charge of your school’s Instagram account to take it over for a week. Instagram is a space where parents will be more highly engaged in than TikTok. Bring the parents in on the fun of your yearbook content. Use it as a space to remind parents and students to buy the yearbooks. Showcase the front and back cover. Share with parents and students what the yearbook means and why it is so important. Make fun reels with your staff to show your final steps before completing the yearbook. And, don’t forget to use that hashtag you created in every post you launch!
It’s important to note that creating a few fun videos will not ensure you’re going to go viral (though it’s possible), but you will gain traction around the school. Students will love seeing their school represented in an online space. Not to mention that many yearbook publishing companies are still willing to increase the quantity of yearbooks at this point in the year at the same price. Later on, it will be too late and they will have to charge more for an increase in quantity. You’ll start something now that you can carry on for years to come. Ultimately, when you use social media, you’re bringing the yearbook to students and showing them they are already a significant part of it.
Review our social media checklist below to keep your yearbook content on track!
Contributor: Jessica Carrera, Associate Editor at TSE Worldwide Press and Marketing Coordinator at United Yearbook, holds a B.A. in English with a concentration in writing from Biola University. She aspires to touch the lives of others through her words.
Editor: Donna Ladner obtained a B.A. in Education and a minor in English from California Baptist University, and a M.S. in ESL from USC, Los Angeles. After she married Daniel, their family moved to Indonesia with a non-profit organization and lived cross-culturally for 15 years before returning to the U.S in 2012. Donna has been working as an editor and proofreader for TSE Worldwide Press and its subsidiary, United Yearbook since 2015.