Uplift Education is a charter school that focuses on more than just education. They aim to help students make lifelong friendships and find their own success after graduation -- whatever that looks like for them.
Their enrollment had slowed down significantly, and they were looking for a way to shake things up. After a survey revealed a high percentage of students have a heavy influence on which school they attend, Uplift Education wanted to find a way to showcase what student life at Uplift is actually like, while emphasizing their focus on helping students thrive.
That's where The Barber Shop Marketing comes in. We devised a plan to create fun ads that showcased real students participating in activities but were short and upbeat enough to hold the students' attention. We also collaborated with current students to create organic content through a series of class projects.
Instead of focusing on the school's usual Facebook paid ads, we decided to help the school dive into the world of TikTok and Instagram, where their potential students would most likely be, giving these stuffy educational profiles a fun and trendy facelift.
And the results were as adorable as you'd expect!
In our pursuit to help Uplift reach perspective students while giving current students a voice in the process, we utilized a cohesive paid and organic digital strategy to help them authentically reach the students and provide them with clear steps to enrollment.
Starting with our paid strategy, we opted to launch this campaign solely on TikTok and Instagram to meet the students where they were at. But in doing this, we knew we'd need to switch up the school's traditional messaging for trendy lingo and swap their heartfelt interview-style ads for fast, upbeat video clips that matched the video feeds of these platforms. We had to find a way to stop the scroll.
Using hours of archived footage of student events, we created 3 separate ads mirroring current trends and cut the music to match top TikTok song BPMs, so our content would blend in the feed.
It was a rocky start as we navigated how to provide students and parents with crucial information on a platform that prioritizes short video clips and minimal words.
So instead of bogging our ads down with long captions or trying to get ad viewers to click a link, each ad directed back to the Uplift profile where brightly colored pinned posts gave them more information to let them decide if they wanted to learn more. That way our ads could be eye-catching and our feed would be informational. Taking into consideration the conversion funnel, each of these three videos met a consumer where they were on the customer journey, from introducing the brand and enticing people to visit the site, to helping them find the information to apply.
But that brought us to our next challenge: Uplift's TikTok feed was sparse, and their Instagram feed was mostly school announcements. Neither of which matched our campaign's fun, fresh vibe.
And so, the Student Video Project was born.
To flesh out their profiles and add student perspectives to the feed, we partnered with the Art and Media classes at multiple Uplift campuses. In a one-day classroom takeover, we taught the students about digital marketing and agency life, and then guided them through a video class project to create videos from their point of view.
The prompt was simple: show us what life is like at Uplift from your point of view. We encouraged them to interview teachers, use current trends or even film with their friends.
And the finished products were adorable and very creative!
We received two months worth of fun organic content from the students, which we used to liven up the school's feeds during the length of the campaign.
The campaign was a success with over 3 million impressions, 58,000 clicks and almost 500,000 engagements total in just the first month!
Just as we hoped, the student videos were a hit among current and prospective students, ranking among the top posts on both platforms during the campaign’s timeframe, and gaining a combined total of 5.7K organic engagements, 132K organic impressions, 1,843 shares and 167 post saves.
In addition, we saw incredible audience growth, with TikTok gaining 930 followers and Instagram gaining 371 new followers. Across both platforms, there was a total of 236 link clicks at the link in bio with a 43% click through rate.