Blackpool Sixth has come fourth out of 485 colleges in the UK and Ireland for its social media output and engagement in 2020. The Edurank league table for college social media, run by the education marketing consultancy Net Natives, shows that the college was the highest ranked sixth form college in the country on this measure last year. It was also the highest ranked college in the north of England and was pipped to top spot only by two very large further education colleges and the English National Ballet School.
For several years the college has put a strong emphasis on growing its social media presence in order to communicate with students, prospective and former students, parents/carers, staff and the wider community. The college’s Facebook and Instagram feeds are used extensively to share news, educational and wellbeing content and to celebrate student achievements. They are also important means of two-way communication, ensuring that we respond to feedback and important developments. The long ‘lockdown’ in 2020 and ensuing restrictions on visits to the college site provided an extra impetus to ramp up the college’s digital output.
The college’s marketing team backed by input from across the college launched a series of new initiatives during the year. These included musical projects, virtual art exhibitions, online open events and Q&A sessions, and several high-profile competitions such as the one to choose the college’s new Christmas card which had over 2,400 likes or loves! There was also a very popular series of posts introducing college staff, a ‘toilet roll challenge’ and a special video Christmas Advent calendar. However, it has been the posts celebrating student success and contributions to their communities which have been a particular highlight, especially those featuring former Blackpool Sixth students who now work in the NHS.
A further notable achievement was being the only college shortlisted for a national university and college award for promoting equality and diversity through social media. The college was praised for its innovative use of social media to celebrate students’ achievements on the A level and vocational results days in August 2020.
Marketing Officer, Nicola Kelly said, “Lockdown, and the world taking a shift digital provided us with an opportunity to use our social platforms to keep our college and wider community connected, uplifted, informed and inspired. We have loved sharing content that has been so well received and that has also been able to make a difference, with wellbeing and raising vital funds and resources for our community. A huge thank you to the students and staff that have contributed to our content and to our followers for engaging with what we do. So incredibly proud to have been recognised for such a great achievement, especially considering the size of our establishment.”
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