OK – maybe that headline is a little misleading. I don’t know how to COMPLETELY avoid negative comments on your school social media posts that share back-to-school information. But this tip will surely help minimize the negative comments, especially from people who have no kids in your school!
My tip is simply this: Your post will state that you have new information for parents in regards to back-to-school plans. Then, you direct them to your website.
You don’t go into details on your post about what the plans are. You simply let them know that the plans are ready to view. After all, your parents should be hearing about your back-to-school information through direct communication (i.e. emails, phone calls, text messages, etc.) before they ever spot something on social media.
Now, you might not agree with this strategy, but I’ll share three reasons why this is my recommendation:
- Outsiders won’t take time to click
Casual Facebook users who really don’t have an interest in what your plans are will not take the time to click the link. If you choose to include a bunch of details about what your plans are in the post, it’s easy for those “outsiders” to read it and then make a snarky or political comment, even if they have no relation to your school or district. The fewer details in the post, the better, in regards to users not in your community.
- You get people off social media
If people take the time to click the link and get the details on your back-to-school plans, they are now less likely to go back to Facebook or Twitter to comment. Will some still come back? Yes. But it will be much less likely because they are off the social media platform!
- You get people to the hub where ALL information is available
Posting just excerpts of your back-to-school plans on social media may lead to more questions than answers. Social media is all about putting out information in bite-size nuggets – but back-to-school details are complex, so it’s going to be challenging to share information little by little.
Directing families to your website where all information exists is your best bet. You don’t know what that person is going to be most interested in learning:
- Distance learning vs. in-person learning
- Cleaning and sanitization
- Parent FAQ’s
- Teacher FAQ’s
- And more…
Looking for website layout and back to school campaign ideas? Visit our blog, Get Inspired! 2020 Back-to-School Campaigns.
Now that I’ve explained my three reasons for posting minimal details on your social media pages, you may still think that this tip isn’t transparent enough. You might feel like if you follow this tip, your school is trying to “hide” your back-to-school plans.
Well, our schools are in a no-win situation! It seems like our entire country is split down the middle on their views of returning to school and what it should look like. Sharing any details via social media, a spot where everyone seems to be voicing their opinions lately, is just asking for negative feedback.
I also know that many of the school communicators across the country are planning extensive use of social media in their back-to-school communication plans. I recently asked a Facebook group this question:
How are you including social media in your back-to-school communication plans?
The results showed, out of 88 responses, that:
- 65% said they plan to use social media extensively by sharing videos, photos, and all information from the website.
- 34% plan to use social media sparingly. They want to focus on communicating directly to families through email, phone calls, and their website.
- 1% just said they plan to go slow with social media and just test the responses, and then make further decisions on how much to post.
So after reflecting on those choices, my best advice is to go with the 1%. Just go slow with social media. Feel free to test the waters. You know your community and what they expect to see from your school. If you post some information and get positive comments, then you can try additional posts.
But be ready to pull back. You have enough to worry about in regards to getting kids back to school – you should not be focused on monitoring social media comments 24/7!
Do you have strong opinions on what I just shared? Maybe you agree or disagree with my advice. Either way, I’d love to hear from you. Post your thoughts below.
And if you are looking for more guidance on using social media for your school – especially this school year – click this link to be added to my newsletter list. You’ll receive a free guide on responding to negative comments on your social media posts.