St. Andrew’s College Brings Tradition into the Future with Social Media Marketing

Jen Norris    November 10, 2014

st andrews college logo

Organization: St. Andrew’s College
Industry: Education
Contact: Nicolette Fleming, Communications Officer


What’s trending in Aurora; the new St. Andrew’s College La Brier Arena. I have a son who lives for Hockey and he is in awe thinking about a school that has its own hockey arena. It’s not just a hockey arena, it’s a $13 Million state of the art facility. The multi-use facility has an NHL-sized ice surface, seating capacity for 500 spectators, 5 dressing rooms, weight room, training facility and a second floor club room.

St. Andrew’s College has been posting construction updates on Social Media

st andrews construction

In August 2014, Steve Stamkos from the Tampa Bay Lighting was shown practicing at St. Andrews College. What an amazing endorsement; the video can be found on St. Andrew’s College Facebook and Twitter accounts as well as being featured on the Tampa Bay Lighting Official website.


This is the video of the completed St. Andrew’s College La Brier Arena that opened in September 2014

Aurora is home to Canada’s Largest All Boys School, “Where extraordinary boys become exceptional men”. Since 1899, St.Andrew’s College has “provided enriched academics, unparalleled athletics and dynamic arts programs resulting in strong, independent and intelligent young men”. St. Andrew’s College Official Website

I had an opportunity to speak with Nicolette Fleming.  As the Communication Officer, we spoke of the sense of community within the school and how St. Andrew’s College recruitment students both locally and internationally.

How does a school in a small town strive to be known as a global leader for All Boys education? St. Andrews College’s success is not only due to successful Marketing strategies but also about their success in building a sense of community. The students that attend the college, graduate, and many return to the college in some capacity. It may be sitting on an advisory board or simply submitting updates to the Magazine. The time spent at St. Andrew’s college is never far from their mind.

St. Andrew’s College has a marketing strategy that doesn’t rely on one specific method. There’s face to face promotion, third party accreditation, international feeder schools with admission officer, media advertising, as well as staying current with the integration of social media marketing. “Advertising is a supplement to word of mouth” says Nicolette. There is no better advertising then word of mouth.

St. Andrews College has approximately 50% of international students. No marketing campaigns are done international. Feeder schools have been established with agents and admission officers that travel to different countries who work with the agents to find mission appropriate students.

However, for anyone who looks on line for an accredited independent school, they would visit The Canadian Accredited Independent Schools. CAIS is commit to undergoing a reflective and collaborative school improvement process, meet National Standards, and participate in research and professional development. St. Andrew’s College is one of 27 schools that has received the “SEAL Canada’s mark of excellence and met our rigorous national accreditation standards.  Working collectively to raise the profile of Canada as a boarding destination, each of the 27 schools are dedicated to excellence in teaching and learning their historical and beautiful residential campuses”.

For domestic student recruitment, social media is used.  Open houses and events for prospect students are posted on the website, Twitter and Facebook. When events are posted on Facebook, it can be tracked how many people saw the post, liked and shared it – but does it  “translate in some kind of action is a totally different scenario”, say Nicolette However, when you drive down Yonge Street in Aurora, you can find a sandwich board at the end of St. Andrew’s driveway posted with dates of upcoming events. Whenever someone comes into St. Andrew’s for an open house or a tour, they are given a survey asking how they found out about St. Andrews.  The survey list everything St. Andrews does in terms of marketing and 90% of the time it’s through word of mouth. The goal of posting on social media is to enhance the traditional word of mouth.

St. Andrews College also participates in “The Council for Advancement and Support of Education is a professional association serving educational institutions and the advancement professionals who work on their behalf in alumni relations, communications, development, marketing and allied areas. CASE helps its members build stronger relationships with their alumni and donors, raise funds for campus projects, produce recruitment materials, market their institutions to prospective students, diversify the profession, and foster public support of education.”

This is the video that won St. Andrew’s College the Gold Award in the 2011 Circle of Excellence Award Program.

With a developed sense of community, many classmates stay in touch, and the old boys alumni helps make this happen. You can find Old Boys updates in St. Andrew’s College Magazine, or through the Old Boys website and Facebook. There’s also events hosted all over the world engaging more than 6000 Old Boys in 60 different counties. Promotion of these events are done through email as well as Facebook and twitter.

Nicolette explains how they use social media to update all the “Old Boys”’ on upcoming events.

Earlier in the year, St. Andrew’s College ran two campaigns; one on You Tube and the other on CBC.  The click through rates were amazing,  however it is very difficult to  track if that led to applications or if they clicked through thinking it was interesting.

St. Andrew’s has been progressive in the marketing initiatives, they have even tried crowdsourcing.  Many marketing strategies are used, but there is no replacing the powerful tool of word of mouth.  With social media, St. Andrew’s enhancing the scope to the traditional word of mouth.

Lessons Learned:

When it comes to marketing, there is no one way that works to promote an organization. A variety of methods should be used to create a dynamic marketing strategy. It is important to have one message and promote the message consistently through different mediums. Social media marketing is a strategy to be used in addition to all other mediums.

Web References:

St. Andrew’s College
Canadian Accredited Independent Schools
The Council for Advancement and Support of Education
The Globe and Mail
Our Kids
St. Andrew’s College Facebook
St. Andrew’s College Twitter
St. Andrew’s College You Tube

Submitted By: Jennifer Norris – SMBP Student, University of Waterloo.
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