Open up a copy of The Handbook of Private Schools and you’ll find the Featured Schools section at the front, reliably available to everyone perusing the book or searching for information on a specific school. If that school is you, you know that each person who looks at your ad is consistently receiving the message you are portraying with your design, regardless of time of day and which coast you are on. Tweeting is a great tool for getting out information about your school, but you have no idea whether followers saw a specific tweet or link—the likelihood that people ensure they’ve seen every tweet in their feed is slim. If potential families and students are following multiple schools along with their favorite sports teams and reality-show contestants, you’ve got a lot of competition for attention, and your window of opportunity is short.
When I check statistics on links I’ve tweeted for @PorterSargent and @PSSearch, the majority of clicks occur within an hour or two of the tweet. To see a click the next day is always a surprise. But the print medium allows for a consistency of message that is hard to achieve in the digital sphere, where numerous social media posts and short attention spans keep viewers moving quickly from one thing to the next. It’s undoubtedly worth creating the ongoing content that Twitter and Facebook require—these messages can give a parent or educational consultant a real sense of your school’s daily life. But don’t overlook the impact of being a school that stands out from competitors with a print ad, in which your carefully chosen text and images combine to create a lasting impression that will keep your school in the forefront. As we like to emphasize, each Handbook has a long shelf life, and your message can be permanently etched inside. My tweets from yesterday, however, are already long gone.