ADVISER TAKEOVER: How to Involve Your School Community in YBK Sales

This blog post was submitted and written by a fellow yearbooker. 

Yearbooks may be the only permanent record of the school year, but they’re not just on paper anymore. A social media presence has become a necessary component to engaging students and selling yearbooks, especially during the fall before prices increase. It was during this time that the Book Sales Blitz brought out a sense of competition on a larger scale. Every school wants to have the most creative social media posts and be featured on the @HJYearbook socials.

But how can we achieve this? And how can we create an interesting campaign that both sells yearbooks and highlights something uniquely River Dell? This was the question that plagued our staff in the fall as we worked to drive yearbook sales (and tried to win this year’s Book Sales Blitz). Then, it came to us: let’s highlight the River Dell community because once a Hawk, always a Hawk.

There were 21 staff members at our school — out of 133 total faculty and staff — who were River Dell alumni. This included teachers, paraprofessionals, counselors, administrators and security staff. My yearbook students have always loved flipping through old yearbooks and discovering staff members’ senior portraits and candid photos. This year, we decided to highlight these staff members’ River Dell journeys as a marketing tool to encourage students to buy yearbooks and promote a sense of community. Our message? Buy a yearbook and join the great tradition of everyone who came before you.

Principal Brian Pepe proudly poses with his senior yearbook.


We began by making a list of all the staff members who were former students and their graduation years. Then, our request was simple: let us take a photo of you and your senior yearbook for an epic Instagram reel. After going to the yearbook archives and pulling all the necessary yearbooks, our staff began taking the photos and assembling the reel.

Using Canva, we created an Instagram Reel beginning with a photo of the school and asking a search engine: “Which RD grads became RD staff?” and then transitioned to photos of each staff member in order of graduation year. As the cover photo, we selected a stack of the yearbooks featured in the reel. There was much debate about what the perfect song would be to accompany this reel, but being a New Jersey school, the answer was obvious: “Who Says You Can’t Go Home?” by Jon Bon Jovi. It encapsulated everything we wanted to say about how students are always part of our community and buying a yearbook was a great way to remember that — always lean into your hometown pride.

While we did not win the Book Sales Blitz contest, this was still our highest viewed reel to date and showed that our social media strategy is most successful when it highlights the people in our community.  


Kathleen McGinley // Yearbook Adviser at River Dell High School, Oradell, NJ

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