Successful school social media is a direct result of quality stories. But what if you struggle to get that content?
If you are responsible for managing the social media for your district, you can’t be everywhere. You need to rely on your staff to contribute content. At #SocialSchool4EDU, we encourage staff members to each submit one or two items each month. We ask them to send everything to one email address. Examples of these submissions include:
- A photo of a student working on a piece of art
- A video of a student reading a poem he or she wrote
- In-action photos from a class field trip
- An idea from this list or this list!
But what happens when they don’t submit content regularly? Well, that’s when you are stuck trying to fill up your school’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube pages with only the stories you personally can collect. And that’s a tough job!
At #SocialSchool4EDU, we manage social media for more than 80 school districts across the country. We are not physically located within these school buildings, so we are only able to share what the staff provides us. This allows us to average at least two posts per day on Facebook.
But sometimes, when we don’t get enough content, we utilize a tried-and-true system: A content calendar.
Here are two simple ways to create a content calendar at your district:
Method 1 – Assign Groups Alphabetically
Pull a list of all staff members in your district, including teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals, and support staff. Organize the list alphabetically and break it into four equally sized groups:
Group 1 – submit a story the first week of every month
Group 2 – submit a story the second week of every month
Group 3 – submit a story the third week of every month
Group 4 – submit a story the fourth week of every month
Send this information to your staff through a Google document or another schedule that can be easily accessed by everyone.
When you kick-off this new system, remind your staff that each of them plays an integral role in telling your district’s story! Even more importantly, their submitted content does not have to be a big, elaborate event.
An English teacher could take a close-up image of students working in small groups. A paraprofessional could capture the moment when two students greet each other with a hug in the hallway. An administrator could switch on her phone camera as she greets students walking in the front doors.
Put this photo or video into an email, add a 1-2 sentence description, and hit send. That’s it! Assignment complete!
If some staff members want to share more frequently – awesome! Rarely does a district receives so much content that they don’t know what to do with it all. Check out this example of a simple photo that warmed the community’s heart:
Method 2 – Assign Groups by Grade Level
Some districts find that elementary school content is more frequently captured. Despite the fact that those middle and high school kids are on their own phones all the time, we don’t see as many photos of them on our district social media channels! This second approach aims at trying to distribute content among all grade levels.
For this method, separate staff into groups based on elementary school, middle school, and high school to ensure you’re getting content from every building. This will help you showcase the entire district!
Quick Tip: Do you create a weekly bulletin for staff? A nice addition to the weekly bulletin or newsletter is to add the staff member names for the upcoming week who will need to submit content. They will appreciate the reminder!
Does it work?
The Edgar School District in Wisconsin has been utilizing the content calendar since the start of the 2019 school year. They used to average 14 posts per week on Facebook and now average 28 posts per week.
This means that on a daily basis, this small community is seeing twice as many school-related posts. With the Facebook algorithm as wonky as it is, we are increasing our chances of being seen by more people! Last school year, the average weekly reach on Facebook was 3,600. Since implementing the content calendar, the weekly reach is over 8,100!
Cari Guden, Superintendent of Edgar School District, shared this feedback:
Creating a calendar for staff submissions each semester helps the School District of Edgar share their stories throughout the year. By scheduling the staff submissions, we are sure to get content from a variety of grade levels and subject areas each week. The schedule also assists our staff members so they know in advance the “week” they are scheduled to submit their stories.”
Our teachers and parents love it too!
Tina Higgins, English teacher and parent in Edgar, shared:
Effective social media impacts our community so positively! Reliable communication of information and special events clears up any misinformation or misunderstandings. Celebrations of accomplishments and our most important feature, our students, contribute to a positive school environment for students, staff, and the entire community.”
One final thought: Once you have implemented this system, provide regular feedback to the staff. Show them the positive comments and share the number of people their photos reached. This is especially important for those staff members who are new to sending you stories! Let them know that their effort is making a difference.
Remember: Your followers don’t get to see the Facebook reach numbers. It is incredibly powerful to let a staff member know that the photo and story they shared reached thousands!
A guest post from Stephanie Sinz, our #SS4EDU Chief People Officer. A former elementary teacher who now collaborates with both her #SS4EDU colleagues and their partner school districts to celebrate the amazing things that happen in education. “Our shared commitment to spreading positive news about schools is an exciting and much-needed aspect of the educational process — let’s all celebrate the awesome!”