Parents of young children get most of their information and recommendations from social media. If you're someone that hates social media but finding families is a priority for you at the moment, we strongly recommend at least creating a Facebook business page – ensuring your contact details or a link to your tiney profile are there so people can engage with you in a way you’re more comfortable with.
Learn more about how to set up a Facebook business page in our article:
So, to help you tackle social media in the most effective way, we've compiled a list of our top tips...
1) Do a spot of housekeeping ASAP
We all have embarrassing old photos and posts buried on social media that we probably wouldn't want someone we know professionally to see, so make sure on your personal accounts your privacy settings are set for the right audience.
Even if you don’t use personal Facebook or Instagram profiles for work, nosy parents might search your name and find them – so make sure anything publicly available gives the right impression!
2) Be careful what you're sharing
For safeguarding reasons, when it comes to the children in your care, you can show how much fun they’re having without revealing their faces. We also recommend not tagging the name of the park or playgroup you’ve taken them to (especially if you’re still there).
3) Form good habits
Factor social media time into your week so it becomes part of your job rather than an annoying distraction or chore. Make sure you use this time to engage, as well as broadcast. Little and often works best for this – think 10 minutes a day rather than 1 hour a week. Put it on your calendar and stick to it! You can always schedule your content in advance if it doesn’t feel like the right time to post.
4) Engage with your target audience
If you don’t engage, you won’t get engagement. Liking and commenting on other people’s posts is the best way to put yourself out there – particularly if they have a lot of engagement themselves. You can have the prettiest feed in the world but if nobody knows it's there it won't benefit your business. To get parents to come to you, you need to reach them first.
5) Keep your details up to date
It’s useful if a parent can take one glance at your social profiles and get the top line information they need the most before contacting you, for instance where you're based and what availability you have. Therefore only use social platforms that you’re going to remember to keep updated – inaccurate information is worse than no information.
6) Join Facebook groups
The Facebook parenting groups in your area are the best place to start – just search for them or ask around. You won't always find the perfect group (some are largely focused on buying and selling) but childcare is a popular talking point so keep searching – you might even get lucky and find a dedicated group for childminders and nannies! Once you’ve joined a couple of relevant groups, Facebook is quite clever at figuring out others you might be interested in, so keep an eye on this.
7) What to post
We recommend liking, commenting and generally engaging more than you're posting. Keep an eye out for people looking for childcare recommendations – this comes up several times a day on the most active groups!
Even if you can’t help with that particular enquiry, if you chip in people will start to recognise and trust you as an authority on local childcare. Do bear in mind different groups have different rules about business posts so be careful not to spam. We therefore recommend joining groups and commenting from your personal account rather than your business account.
8) Show you're serious about Early Years
Share and comment on interesting articles about the sector (Twitter is useful for these, along with Nursery World) as well as fun activities, recipes or anything that sparks your interest. Used in the right way, social media is a great tool to enhance your professional learning, inspire ideas and keep you up to date.
9) Create some hype!
Build up interest in your business with a bit of hype. “Only 3 spaces left!” sounds enticing (they don’t know this might mean you’ve got an empty house!) Introducing time-sensitive special offers is also a good way to incentivise and create excitement.
10) Show people what sets you apart from other providers
Do you have an enviable outdoor space? Speak multiple languages? Have an amazing way with googly eyes and pipe cleaners? Show off your special skills and use your feed to display the wide range of activities children can enjoy with you. Baking, messy play, trips to the woods – variety and creativity will appeal to the widest range of parents.
So, get joining the conversations parents are already having, in the places they're having them and get on their radars!