Not everything that your school communicates needs to be posted on your social media pages.
I’ve been saying this for years, to all of the schools we serve here at #SocialSchool4EDU. There are many reasons for this, all of which I’ll break down in this blog, but there is another reason I’m sharing with my entire audience today.
We are living in a very divisive culture right now.
I know that isn’t a newsflash, but as a social media manager, you need to look out for the best interest of your school.
As in, do NOT go looking for a fight. If you know that new information about masks, or learning models, or school start times is going to invoke negative reactions – WHY would you post it on social media?
I know, you might be thinking, “We need to be transparent. We need to get this information to everyone. We should communicate it any and every way we can.”
If that’s your mindset, I am going to challenge you to reconsider. Here’s an incredible real-life experience from Nicole Valles, Digital Content Specialist with Barrow School District in Georgia:
I’m a former news producer, so I came from the school of thought that we had to get the communication out there. We have to own the content and be the source of truth. While others are out in their parent groups spreading misinformation, we have to be the ones to make sure we are accurate and factual.
We’ve had to pivot because it is so volatile with masks. Anything that has to do with mask policy, we do not put it on Facebook. We don’t put it on any social media channel. Instead, we share it on our websites and put it out through the Remind App, through email, and a phone call.
This change was hard for me. But now, I love it! Because I don’t have to manage the argumentative and attacking comments that come in under those specific social media posts.
We’re not trying to hide the information. We communicate it out in a lot of ways. We are simply avoiding the invitation to publicly debate the decision that has been made. Social media is meant to be social, so the informational posts don’t want to invite those comments.
Surprisingly, no one has complained about the information not being posted on social media. In fact, no one has said anything to us about not sharing those updates on social media.”
I love Nicole’s advice and her “after” story. She now LOVES that she doesn’t have to post divisive information on her social media pages.
The best part? Not a single person has even complained.
Five Reasons NOT to Share Everything on Social Media
- Your posts are not seen by all your followers. On Facebook, for example, if your school’s page has 3,000 followers, the typical reach will be about 1,000 people. The reach will be less for posts with little engagement and more for posts with lots of comments and shares. But it’s very typical to only reach one-third to one-half of your followers.
- Not everyone is on social media. Some of your parents don’t want to be, and if you are using it as your primary means of communication, many will miss it.
- Posts can be commented on by outsiders with no direct connection with your school. Do you really want to spend time dealing with someone’s questions or opinions when they have no relationship with your district?
- Social media is meant to be social. If you’re simply making an announcement and don’t desire commentary, then it shouldn’t go on social media.
- You’re busy. Do you really have time to devote to monitoring comments, questions, and concerns that these posts stir up?
At times, you can feel tempted to squash out a rumor or story that is going crazy on some other social media page by posting about it on your own page. Don’t fall for the trap! Here is some advice for handling those negative community gossip groups.
Different Types of Communication = Different Tools in Your Toolbox
Your district has SO many ways to communicate. With each message that needs to get out, you need to strategically think about what tool is best to get the information out to the people who need it. Here is a thorough list of all the possibilities:
- Text Message
- Phone Call
- Social Media
- Virtual Meeting
- Word of Mouth
- Mobile App
- Media Release
- Backpack fliers
- Direct Mailers
- School TV News Channel
- Electronic School Sign in front of building
- Scoreboard Display
- TV displays in building
- All-School Announcement over PA
- Community Partnerships
Get Your Communication Toolbox Download
Want a nice printout of this toolbox so you can share it with colleagues? Click here or on the graphic below!
Social Media Posts Should Celebrate Your School!
So what should be shared on social media? Social media is perfect for positive stories. You have so much to celebrate among your students and staff. Focus on those stories! Let’s build up your community in support of the school. Let’s NOT tear it down with negativity.
#SocialSchool4EDU has a simple mission that we hope to spread to schools, too: Celebrate Your School One Story at a Time!
It doesn’t mean that a school is going to ignore when bad things happen. Every school has opportunities for improvement – and of course, there will be challenging issues that come up.
But do NOT post those things on social media. Use your other communication tools. I promise that this will make your job easier and help you stay sane as a school social media manager.