The use of social media in schools and school districts has gone from a novel way of spreading news and information to an essential method of communicating with school stakeholders. However, those who are in charge of the school’s social media feed don’t always include the most important items. As a result, they don’t draw the followers and interest that should be present in the social media feed. Here are four things your school’s social media feed need to assure you are maximizing connections with your stakeholders:
- Diversification of posted information: Lots of people want to know about the next game or the upcoming days off from school. But by just posting just one type of event you are limiting your audience and telling them that other things happening in the school or district are not as important. Post information on a Family Science Night, fundraisers happening in the schools, art festivals, concerts, and student successes. One of my most popular posts this year was the Top 10 Graduates from the Class of 2015. Based on class rank, we developed a press release posted on social media that provided each student’s picture, GPA, where they are going to college, and a favorite memory from high school, along with other information. We promoted their four years of hard work and our stakeholders appreciated reading about our students’ success.
- Visuals: Information is important and sometimes you need to just put it out there in written form. But think about it, visuals in both picture and video form make a bigger impression and are more engaging. This past winter I experimented with pushing out school closing notification due to snow through a picture with the information on it. It received a lot of favorites and retweets. But I also know this is partly because I closed school, which is a huge event for students! You can also put up brief videos of events, the school musical (be careful of copyright issues for music and script), and other live event activities. People like to see as much as they like to read information.
- School, district and/or community pride on display: Nothing connects quicker with stakeholders than school or district pride. Our students, staff, parents, and community should be, and often are, proud of our schools. Those moments of pride need to be captured and sent out through social media to the community. We have promoted community service, school spirit days, pep rallies, and other events that show the great pride our school community has throughout the school year. One example was when we joined the townships social media effort to get them a grant to improve one of our local parks. Another example was after the senior prank, which was very respectfully done by our seniors, two seniors took it upon themselves the night before graduation to put a post-it with a positive message on every single, yes every one, locker in the high school. This showed great pride in our school and was well received by all. I took a picture and posted it for our community to see. As the superintendent I was proud of these students and their “last act” as seniors, and the school wanted the community to know about this random act of awesomeness.
- Timely information: When you agree to start a social media feed for a school or a district you look for information and material to post in the beginning. Once you establish the feed as something that is reliable and connected to stakeholders you have more than enough information, and sometimes too much, information that needs to be posted. However, the information is only good if it is posed in a timely fashion. Reporting on an event that happened a month ago will not create the buzz and interest you want in your social media feed. And for bigger activities and events timeliness means doing promotional and lead-up social media posts to create interest. Timing is important for most everything in life but vital to the validity of social media feeds in education.
By diversifying your social media posts, using visuals instead of all written text, displaying school and district pride, and providing timely information you will validate your social media feeds and build a following that finds value in the information you provide.
Are there other essentials not listed here? Post them in the comments section.