So much has changed in the past four months. Your school buildings closed. Teaching moved online. Civic unrest is rocking our nation. And a pandemic rages on…
Despite all of this turmoil and uncertainty, I can say with confidence that one thing has NOT changed: The importance of social media. In fact, I would argue that social media plays an even bigger role in your district than ever before.
But you can’t do it alone. The start of a new school year is the PERFECT time to get your staff involved in the process.
Whether your back-to-school sessions with staff are in-person or online, you should devote at LEAST 15 minutes to talking about the importance of social media. This is my quick checklist of things that my team and I cover with staff at each of the schools we serve. I suggest using a slide deck to accompany your discussion.
- Social media is a powerful way to reach your community. Start by sharing a few statistics that show the reach you get on your district Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram pages. You can also include a few positive comments that have popped up on posts that recognize your staff members.
- Share your social media channel URL’s with your team and encourage them to follow and interact with the content shared. The community sees that interaction!
- Remind staff of the method they should use to submit content for social media. This includes photos, videos, and brief descriptions. We always set-up a special social media email address (example – firstname.lastname@example.org) and ask staff to ONLY submit content through this method. If you’re receiving content through text messages, Facebook messages, and emails to your personal email address, it’s more likely that you will miss something and you’re definitely going to feel burned out.
- While talking with them, ask them to send a test email, right now, to that email address. The advantage of doing this is that the next time they need to send in an email, they just start typing “s-o-c” and voilà – the social media email address auto-populates! You may also want to print out a prompt that they can place at their desk. Check this one from the Forest Lake School District in Minnesota!
- Challenge staff to provide 1-2 social media submissions per month. Remind them that we need to celebrate ALL of our students and that if each of them participates, we can make sure that no organizations, age groups, or activities are left out.
- Not all photos are created equal. Ask staff members to email you the best photo quality possible and a short description. If they have 400 photos from an event – do NOT send all 400 photos to you. Pick the best handful of photos that highlight the event. You could even show them examples of good photos vs. bad photos here! Here’s a handout you could give to staff, too: 10 Tips for Better Photos.
- Know who may not be photographed. At the start of the year, there is likely a new opt-out form that families will complete. Remind staff that the office will be redistributing that list after registration and that they should avoid sending in photos of those students.
- If staff members have their own Facebook page or Twitter account, awesome! But you can’t catch every great post that they share (nor do you want to – you don’t need to know all the small details from their accounts). Ask your staff to email you the URL link to important posts that should be celebrated on the district account. Also, make sure they use the district hashtag in their posts!
- Assure staff that you will reply to email submissions that they provide so that they know you received the content.
- Remind staff that not all content is posted the day you receive it. The algorithm is a real thing and you have a strategy behind your approach to posting photos, videos, and stories. It will be posted in a timely manner – but you might have to wait!
- We don’t see a lot of interaction with our posts on weekends, so we normally only post during the week. Let staff members know if this is your plan. If you don’t follow this practice now, you might want to start! What a relief it is to know that you don’t have to monitor comments on a new post that goes up on a Saturday or Sunday!
- Set good boundaries with the times that you monitor the email address. We stress the fact that the email is monitored during school hours. If something is sent after school hours, we will respond the following day and schedule the post from there.
- Since we are contracted with schools to manage social media, we have internal contacts at the school that can post in case of emergency (no school days, early releases that are unexpected). We remind them of who that urgent post person is. You may want to remind your staff of others that have access to your social media pages. There should always be a back-up if you are not available or on vacation.
- We also remind staff of Facebook Live, Instagram Live, and Story opportunities. Getting help from a few staff contributors will make your job much easier. One key person in each building could help, but you’ll need to provide some training. This checklist might help!
Did I miss something that you always make sure to cover with your staff? Let me know with a comment below.
Creating an army of storytellers will help you celebrate all of the awesome things happening in your school. Our students and staff deserve recognition and we can do so much through the power of social media. Covering the things on this checklist with your entire staff will help!
If you take my advice – I’d love to hear about it. Tweet me @andreagribble.
Want to learn even more about social media for K12 schools? Check out my podcast – Mastering Social Media for Schools! New episodes are published every Monday and feature amazing guests along with solo teaching episodes with me as your host. Listen now.