Is your School ready for Social Media?

29 November 2013

Like it or not, social media is changing the way individuals and business interact. So why is it that schools have been a little slow on the uptake? No time, no resources, lack of understanding, and  privacy concerns are common excuses for the hesitations schools have in embarking on the social media path.

With students already proficient at all things social media – be it Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pintrest, amongst others, wouldn’t it be great if schools took a leadership stance and embraced these platforms by showing everyone how engaging and positive social media can be when it’s done right?

Schools just need a few keen staff members or parents to get the ball rolling. It can be done as a step by step process rather than feeling overwhelmed by having to set up profiles across all social media platforms. Here are a few basic tips for schools to get the ball rolling:

1. Who are you looking to communicate with? Is it the parents and grandparents of the students, to let them know what’s happening at the school. Perhaps you’re looking to talk to ex-student / alumni to keep them actively engaged and involved in the school. Or is it a local community project / fundraising event your trying to promote? Once you have defined your audience it’s on to tip two …

2. There is no point developing an entire Twitter strategy if only 10% of your community actively use Twitter! Find out what social media channels your school community / audience is actively using. This can be done via a quick email survey or via an online poll on your website. Pick the most popular channel, and start with that first.

3. For most schools, Facebook will probably be the easiest place to start, and chances are, the majority of your school community are already using it. Think of Facebook as an extension of your website which also allows your community to comment and provide feedback.  Investigate different technology platforms that allow you to create content once, and post to your website, and other social media channels at the same – this will cut down duplication and save a lot of time.

4. Create a “content diary” which can act as a weekly planner to decide what content you’d like to share, and when. You can even prepare and source content in advance, and schedule to have it appear on your social media channels on a particular day / time.  For example, on Mondays, you may post the school’s sports results from the weekend, along with some photos contributed by parents at the match. Wednesday could focus on a specific class / year to detail what they are learning, excursions they are going on, etc. Fridays may include a weekly wrap up by the principal about any special events / visitors, achievements etc, during that week. Use your regular newsletter as a guide for the content you may post, and think of other ways of producing that message. For example, could the principal do a weekly wrap up via a short video that can be embedded into your Facebook page?

These are a few tips to get the creative juices flowing. I’m sure the students would also love to be involved in helping create content for social media, and are probably full of ideas the school had never thought of.

Once you have a few excited people in the school ready to champion social media, you’re well on your way. I’d love to hear of any exciting ways your school is using social media – please comment below.