Social media platforms are known for being a quick way to engage with followers with timely content. Because of its convenience and popularity, where it is unheard of if you don’t have at least one social medium account, it only makes sense that schools have been using social media as a key portal for communications.
Moving away from traditional outlets of printed newsletters, to e-newsletters to announcements on a school website, social media is becoming the norm where a school’s Facebook or Twitter page are the go-to places parents look first for timely updates.
Understanding this shift of school communication is key when creating engaging communities. These members are actively searching the portals they use the most nowadays for the content they want to see. Therefore, it’s up to schools to ensure that this content is not only being created, but being delivered in the wide-reaching methods that not only parents, but students, alumn, and partners communicate the best: social media.
Now that you understand why the adoption of social media in your school is important, how do you go about actually implementing the platforms? With these 5 introductory steps, learn how to take advantage of social media at your school to create an engaged and contributing community.
First, you will need to decide which social media platforms to use, ensuring that the portals align with your school’s vision, goals and audience. Which platforms make sense for your audience?
Considering there are thousands of platforms, don’t be overwhelmed by the sheer volume when trying to choose. Remember: less is more. Focus on 2-3 platforms to get started, and do them really well as opposed to trying to populate too many mediums at once.
For some general tips of what to post on some of the most popular sites:
a) Facebook: as a broad-reaching platform, post general news (school achievements, announcements and calendar updates).
b) Twitter: publish timely announcements (schedule changes and bus delays or arrivals).
c) Blog: use this to reflect on school happenings and engage with the students by having them contribute as guest-writers.
d) YouTube: give your community insight on what goes on inside the classroom.
Create a social media posting calendar, inclusive of all your platforms. Organize what content you would like to publish and when, and make sure you stagger posts to maintain consistent engagement. To keep yourself motivated and on top of publishing, create feature and ongoing posts such as a weekly blog segment (teacher profiles, featuring one admin each week). To make things easier, don’t forget that on a platform such as Facebook, you have the ability to schedule posts.
It’s recommended that one person be in charge of all social media for your school. This gives that one person the ability to look at the bigger picture by using the calendar to see what will be posted and when. Having one person publish ensures there is no duplication or replication of content. It also means having consistent messaging and branding especially when it comes to the writing: style, voice, tone, etc.
Once you start posting more and seeing how your community engages with your social media platforms, you’ll want a place where you can publishing everything all at once, and only once. A tool such as Hootsuite will not only help you achieve this, but also give you the results of each post such as engagement and analytics of the successfulness of each post.
As a last note, not every post published needs to pertain directly to your school’s news. Mix it up and keep it interesting by posting about what your audience finds interesting: pop culture announcements, industry updates and environmental news. The key to success on social media: experimentation!