Social Media for Schools – Why and How?
Have you seen the news article about the school district employee who was fired for making fun of a student’s tweet on the district’s Twitter account? The student tweeted, “close school tammarow PLEASE”, and the district employee responded, “But then how would you learn how to spell ‘tomorrow’? 😊”. While I personally found the quip entertaining (but never would have posted it!), she did lose her job for her quick and slightly snarky response. It does make you wonder, why should school districts use social media accounts and how should they be managed?
Social Media Marketing for Schools
One of the best reasons that your school district should take advantage of social media platforms is for marketing purposes. In fact, a clear marketing perspective should guide all of the posts that your district displays for your community. Social media is the perfect outlet to show families, staff and community members, including prospective families, what sets your district apart from the others. Does your school system have a stellar academic record, a leading-edge STEM program or a reputation for outstanding athletics and extra-curricular activities? Social media marketing for schools can focus district posts so that these themes, your brand, are clear and consistent. It’s great to show photos of daily happenings inside your buildings, but it would be even better to frame those images in order to solidify your district’s positive image and messaging.
Increasing Communication with Families and the Community
Another reason that social media is great for schools is that it increases two-way communication between your district and its families. Social media offers an excellent opportunity to learn what resonates with your families and community as they react to posts with likes and comments. And logistically, because so many people receive alerts on their mobile devices, social media is another effective resource to deliver important information, such as closures and cancellations.
Engaging with your community can lead to positive partnerships that benefit everyone. District social media posts can educate the public about events that may interest them, even if they do not currently have a student enrolled. Concerts, plays, sporting events, and alumni events are all opportunities to create and strengthen connections with your community. In addition, social media posts can be used as a marketing tool to specifically rally community members behind large projects such as referendums.
Hiring a Social Media Manager
Of course, it would be best if a district hired a specific person or company with digital marketing experience to manage all of its social media marketing. Here is a list of advantages to taking this step:
While it is clear to most school districts that a social media presence is an expected communications tool for families, not all administrators are reaping the full value of the opportunity. By hiring an effective social media manager, a superintendent or district administrator can feel confident that the good work being performed by their staff each day is well represented, professionally presented and marketing their district in the most positive ways. These district officials can rest easy knowing that their social media plan is in good hands, and they won’t have to worry about what may be popping up “tammarow”.
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