Do you have a parent ambassador program at your school?
It’s commonplace in the US and getting more popular here in Hong Kong amongst international/independent schools.
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend a parent ambassador program to any school. Parents are the heart of a school. A team of parent ambassadors can help increase marketing efforts, manage the image and ultimately improve enrolments or the quality/fit of the applicants. Yet, choosing the parents carefully is key.
We suggest three key qualities to look for in recruiting parent ambassadors:
Passion. These parents eat, sleep and breathe the spirit of your school. They are positive about their child’s experiences and are already an advocate of the school in the community.
Credibility. These parents are respected in their field and in the school community. They, and their children in the school, have a “good record”.
Connectivity. These parents have connections in the community. They are probably not short term expats, but established members of the community with a wide circle of contacts.
The school’s goal is to create a group of parent ambassadors that reach into every segment of the community.
Parent ambassadors may take on five main roles:
Tour Guide – Some schools use Parent Ambassadors to give or assist with campus tours on a personalized visit or open house. This can be a great parent-to-parent connection. A satisfied “customer” will sell your school from their own experience and from a different perspective to a paid “salesperson”.
Personal Contact with Enquiries and Applicants – Your Parent Ambassadors can make personal contact with prospective parents. This contact can be part of a follow-up sequence as a phone call, email or hand-written note, depending on the parent, their preferred approach and time available.
Outreach to Feeder Schools, Community Events – It can be difficult to establish connections with feeder schools and Parent Ambassadors can help in this effort. They can also help with outreach by attending and representing your school at key community events, such as the International Schools Festival (organised by the Education Post and Top Schools every September) – or by inviting prospective families for coffee mornings or informal meetings.
Online Reviews/Social Media – It’s important to have updated and positive reviews of your school on key school directory and review sites such as www.topschools.hk as well as on Google, Facebook (www.facebook.com/groups/hkschools) and Twitter. Parent Ambassadors can help by answering questions about the school and commenting positively as well as recruiting other parents in the school to write additional reviews.
Brand Advocate – Your school’s reputation and word of mouth is critical to its marketing and enrolment success. Parent Ambassadors can help by keeping their ears open to the word on the street and online. When something negative is said or published, they can jump in and defend the school as a brand advocate.
If your school is interested in setting up a new Parent Ambassador Program, Top Schools can advise. Please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org