You have the social media train chugging for your school district. Awesome! But are you making mistakes that you didn’t even know about?
Maybe you are just getting started and you have read all my past blogs to get the tips and tricks of what to do, but what about what to make sure NOT to do?
I’ve managed a dozen schools and talked to hundreds about getting your story out to the world. Here are the top five biggest mistakes I see being made.
- No #hashtag
Number one cardinal rule – you must have a hashtag! Your school hashtag invites everyone to be part of the story. If you haven’t started social media yet at your school, that’s fine. Your first assignment is to create a customized hashtag.
Your hashtag is used in social media posts on all platforms. Any user can use it and then you can search and find stories pertaining to your school. You need to promote the use of a single, common and unique hashtag to capture all things related to your school.
In order to find out if your hashtag idea is being used out there, I suggest using www.tagboard.com. If it is being used by another school, professional team, or college find a different one. There is no formal reservation process for your hashtag. If you start using it, it is likely others won’t use it for their school, group, or cause.
- Social media links aren’t on your school home page of your website
This is social media 101. No one can follow your page if they can’t find it. You can’t hide these links under a drop-down menu. It’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack!
Use the standard logos for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Feel free to brand them to your colors, but the icons should be familiar.
One last annoying thing I still see on many sites is that they have a Facebook like button. This gets the person to like your page, but it doesn’t physically get you to the Facebook site showing how active you are on social media. I don’t want to blindly like a page that I don’t even know is great or not. Use the link to get them to your page, then trust that if they are interested, they will like your page.
- Not posting frequently
If you are sporadic in your posting on social media, you will not get a loyal following. You can’t post once and then take a three-week break.
I’m often asked, “How often should I post?” Of course, each social media platform is a bit different, but here are my suggestions:
Facebook – Post at least 14 times per week.
Twitter – Tweet or retweet 2-5 times per day, or more. Really, the sky is the limit on this channel.
Instagram or Flickr – Post at least twice per week.
YouTube – Upload a new video at least twice per month.
If you are struggling with ideas, grab my free guide that walks you through what works for schools. The key is to get everyone on your staff involved in submitting stories. If you need to inspire your staff with video ideas, forward this blog post to them that provides 33 ideas for social media videos.
- Text post with no image
You are competing with a lot of craziness out there—epic falls, cute cats, and viral memes. If you want to stand out, you have to show up with an image. For Facebook it is critical, and Twitter isn’t far behind.
Think of your followers scrolling through their newsfeed in line at the grocery store. They scan through with a flick of their thumb. A post with long paragraphs of only text is not likely to grab their attention.
Take images and save them in a folder that is easy to get to if you have a quick announcement to make. Create reusable graphics on the free platform www.canva.com. Creating things that say “Reminder” or “Don’t Forget”, along with “Sports Update” may be enough to help you with many of the messages that are hard to find images for.
- Not taking advantage of your cover photo
The cover photo on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube can truly tell a story! Use it to its full advantage. And I don’t mean by using a photo of your school.
I suggest adding your hashtag along with images of smiling kids, teachers, or parents. It is great to change it up as well, highlighting different activities, students, and accomplishments. I recommend updating it every three months.
Please note that depending on what device your fans use, the cover photo will be cropped differently. There is no secret to making it show up perfectly on each device. Do your best and note that more than 60% of your fans will be looking at it from their smartphone.
I hope you take the time to check over your social media channels for these mistakes. If I’ve missed one, let me know!
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