I just wrote a facebook note that got a school two new perfect (and much needed) teachers in less than two weeks.
And it reminded me about some important marketing principles.
A couple of months ago, I got to reconnect over drinks with two old school mates Rachael and Netta (pictured right).
We went to a Waldorf School together.
Waldorf is an alternative school that based on the idea of educating the whole child. It was a beautiful thing for me.
And then a few weeks later Netta emailed me asking if I knew anyone who might be a good candidate to be a Waldorf teacher. No one immediately came to mind but I thought I might if I really sat down and thought about it. I looked through my calendar a began to feel that stress you feel when you really want to help someone but can’t find the time. She needed a teacher in two weeks.
“Could you come by the school while we do work on the new building and we could talk about it then?” Netta asked.
That worked. Anything that combines things is usually a win for me. I get to hang out with an old friend, see the school I’ve meant to visit for the past three years and felt immensely guilty for not checking out and help her out.
The next week she came and picked me up and as she painted walls I busted out my laptop and started plowing through my facebook friends list looking for potential candidates. In the end, I came across 15 potentials and one I was ridiculously excited about.
So I created a facebook note (see below), posted it and tagged the people in question.
Within two weeks they had their teachers (including the one I was most excited about).
Here are the six marketing lessons I want you to get from this:
1) Social Media: Word of mouth works best when things are easy to share. That can mean everything from a simple URL, to tickets people can pass on, to a simple story that can be easily repeated. Or it can be a facebook note that’s easy to share. Social media has made sharing things so easy. One of the teachers who got the job was my friend who I tagged. The other was someone with whom this note was shared. Someone I’ve never met.
2) Hubs: If you want the word spread about something important, it’s worth it to do whatever it takes to get hubs to help you. They are already well connected to and well respected by people in the communities you’re trying to reach. Netta might never have reached these two teachers by herself. And they might have been more suspicious and unsure if the endorsement hadn’t come from me. If you’re struggling to reach people, stop struggling – take a hub out for coffee. You might know know how to reach the people you need to reach, but there are people who are. And it’s worth treating them to dinner, paying for their time for their contacts. It will save you so much time and money.
3) Headline: Notice this headline is not “can you help out my friend?” or even, “teaching job”. I am speaking right to the person reading it. The headline’s ONLY purpose is to get their attention and establish relevance. Period. So, first, I name WHERE it’s relevant to since it’s on facebook. Then I name that it’s a teaching job at an alternative school and that the money is good (important!).
4) Is it a fit?: I think any kind of sales letter or notice or homepage should have a piece about ‘this could be a good fit if . . .’ where you list the criteria. I did this recently on my new workbook on how you can get more people on your email list. Carrie Klassen talks about doing this on your homepage in her new workbook about creating a homepage your ideal clients would love.
5) Tell a story: I told a story to give people the feeling of the school. Most people don’t use stories enough in their marketing.
6) Ask for the action: At the end, I explicitly ask them to take an action. I ask them to spread the word. I give them the email of the person to reach. Als0 – here’s a subtle bonus distinction: don’t always write your promo pieces asking the reader to sign up. Sometimes I think it’s even more effective to say, ‘do you know anyone who wants _______?’. I think there’s less pressure in that approach and less assumption – but anyone reading it for whom it is a fit will still resonate with it.
Here’s the note:
EDMONTON: Want to teach at an amazing alternative school for good money?
by Tad Hargrave on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 at 7:46pm
Do you know someone who’d like to teach at a progressive, alternative, whole child focused kind of school?
I grew up going to a Waldorf school from Kindergarten (which I took for two years because I was special) until grade 6. It was amazing. It’s the school I’d want to send my children to.
If you’re reading this – you’re the kind of person I would have loved to have as a teacher.
The Edmonton Waldorf school is figuring out who will be their teachers for next year, right now. They’ve moved into a new building and it’s all very exciting.
This could be a wonderful opportunity for you if:
– you have a bachelors of education
– $60,000/year for the full time positions sounds great
– you have a pioneering spirit and are excited to be a part of a wonderful, growing community
– you’re excited to familiarize yourself with what Waldorf is all about (I think you’ll kind of love it). That might mean traveling to go to various workshops and intensives where you’ll meet amazing people and learn a lot about yourself, teaching and childhood
The teaching positions available:
– Kindergarten (half time, four mornings per week)
– Grade 1-2 (full time)
What was Waldorf life for me?
In kindergarten we would sit carting wool, then spinning it and then knitting our own recorder cases. I was, possibly, the only child at my school who never really learned how to play.
We learned Greek, Roman and Norse myths in elementary school, having Homer’s Osyssey told to us by the teacher from the front of the room. We would bake our own bread in class, play capture the flag in Mill Creek ravine and somehow consistently persuade our french teacher to let us play soccer during french class (“Okay! But you guys need to speak in french while we play!”).
My best memories are the Summer Solstice bonfires at Hawrelack Park where are the families and children would get together for a big end of the year picnic and celebrate. Then, when it was dark, we would gather around the fire for stories. So many happy memories from those times. The school, to my immense heartbreak, collapsed when I was in grade 6 due to politics I have never fully understood.
In short, a part of my life I wouldn’t trade for anything.
Do you know anyone?
If you know someone like this – can you let them know today? They’re making final decisions in the next ten days. I just found out.
And share this with anyone you can think of. Post it on your wall. Hire skywriters. That kind of thing.
For more info email Netta: netta (at) wese (dot) ca
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