Deck the Halls with Digital Content: Engaging your School Community as Content Creators

Picture of Kerra Seay

‘Tis the season of holiday activities, festive fun, and near-endless opportunities to harness the creative power from within your international school community! At IMPACT, we know firsthand the benefits of community-generated content, also known as user-generated content (UGC), for your international school marketing plan. Not only does it amplify your school’s digital presence in an ever-increasing sea of competitors, but it can also be a fun and simple way to add momentum to your marketing and communications strategies while engaging your community of culture-matched families. 


The benefits of community-generated content for your school marketing plan

You might be wondering - is investing the time and resources into creating a system for generating, collecting, and organizing community-generated content worth it for my international school marketing plan? 

Absolutely! In fact, a recent survey showed 93% of customers deemed UGC as “very helpful” in their purchasing decisions, with 70% of Gen Z and 78% of millennials finding UGC helpful with purchasing decisions. International schools would be remiss not to include community-generated content in their school marketing plan. Here are the top three benefits of community-generated content in your international school marketing strategy.

1. Authentic and engaging content for current and prospective families

When your culture-matched community becomes content creators, the authenticity and engagement in your digital presence will gain momentum! It’s not just about festive decorations and showing off your holiday decked-out halls - it’s about showcasing real stories, events, and moments that resonate with current and prospective families. Credibility and authenticity are at the heart of community-generated content - in fact, customers are 2.4x more likely to perceive UGC as more authentic than branded content, with 84% of people being more likely to trust brands if they use UGC in their digital marketing efforts.

Check out this user-generated content from the daughter of an Elementary School Principal who decided to get creative this holiday season. 

Is your school giving back to the local community in some way over the holidays? A great give-back story has the potential to go viral - what an incredible way for your school to be recognized in the digital space! Do any of your community members participate in interesting holiday celebrations? Use this as an opportunity to share authentic content and let some future expats know what it’s like to celebrate Christmas overseas! The opportunities are endless - you just have to reach out and ask.

2. Unique resource library for MarComm projects

For MarComm teams, a robust resource library filled with a variety of high-quality, engaging images is an invaluable tool. Community-generated content can become the backbone of your international school marketing plan. At IMPACT, we see the issue of a lack of quality photo assets for marketing use at international schools all over the world - your school is not alone! 

The diverse content pool can cater to various campaigns, social media strategies, and outreach efforts, adding momentum to your school's marketing strategies. Your marketing team will breathe a sigh of relief, only needing to use the library provided to them by their community to source beautiful content for their campaigns.

3. More traffic to your website and social media channels

Each post shared, whether on your school’s website or social media, becomes a digital touchpoint for a current or prospective family. Just like an Open House event opens the doors of your school for all to see, a social media post or blog can introduce a unique or interesting aspect of your school to a broader audience. This drives interest and traffic to your school’s website, enhancing its visibility. With community-generated content, your school will have more opportunities to create simple - yet engaging - social media posts, improving your overall international school marketing strategy.

user generated content

Not only that, but parents, students, and their friends are more likely to engage with content generated by a peer or family member than an organization. 56% of consumers say they’re anticipating more user-generated content from brands, with data showing that user-generated product videos are more successful in producing emotional intensity—84% for UGC compared to 77% for branded content.


Simple strategies for empowering community content creation

Now that you understand the benefits of community-generated content, it’s time to encourage and incentivize your community to contribute to this important school marketing strategy. 

How to encourage collaboration

Promote community collaboration and contribution through workshops, contests, or even designated content creation events. Throughout these activities, emphasize the value of community-generated content in shaping your school’s identity and how community members are giving back to their school. Don’t forget to thank all participants for their efforts!

Helpful tools and platforms to facilitate content creation, submission, and organization

Incorporating community-generated content into an international school marketing plan is not a new idea. In fact, there are even intentionally designed tools created for this sole purpose! Vidigami is a fantastic resource to collect, organize, and distribute UGC from international school communities. The service is built around child protection, incorporating permission tools to ensure photos of students without public sharing consent are automatically flagged, minimizing the risk of unauthorized image posting. And with AI facial recognition capabilities, Vidigami can auto-tag student's faces for you. How cool is that?

Don’t have the resources available to invest in software like Vidigami? No sweat! Create a space where your community can upload content they grant their consent to share and appoint a person or team to manage it internally. Create an intentional Google Drive so users can easily upload and review content on a regular basis to keep it organized.

Your school can also develop creative hashtags shared with top school promoters and ambassadors who can use them to boost the reach of their content. All your school will have to do is search the hashtag and boom, you now have access to community-generated content that has been green-lit for public use! Try it out by tagging #IMICollab on your next post so IMPACT can reshare your content and boost your reach.


Community-generated content is a win-win for your international school marketing strategies

Engaging your international school community as content creators isn’t just important around the holidays - it’s a strategic component of any international school marketing plan to add momentum and authenticity to your social media strategy, support school-wide goals, and engage your community of promoters. Test out user-generated content for yourself and explore how it transforms your social media marketing strategy and enriches the experience of current and prospective families, too! 

Ready to elevate your school’s digital presence?

Explore the creative potential of your school community in shaping a compelling story of your international school and much more with a Marketing Action Plan from IMPACT.

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Kerra Seay

Kerra is an incredibly talented writer who fearlessly pursues her passions wherever they may lead. With a degree from Carleton University's School of Journalism, she has honed her skills in investigative reporting, creative writing, and strategic communication. Kerra joined IMPACT as a freelance writer and quickly rose through the ranks, serving as a Lead Content Writer and later as the Manager of Content Strategy. Now, in her current role as a School IMPACT Consultant, she brings her expertise to help schools achieve their goals, reveling in developing creative solutions. As a military spouse, Kerra understands the challenges faced by the expat community and the courage required to embrace change and adapt to new environments. When she's not writing, you'll find Kerra exploring her neighborhood with her dog, Finnegan, hanging out with her cats Max and Oscar, or indulging in her love for horror movies with her husband.