Social media is all about stories.
And while your school is filled with hundreds or even thousands of students and staff who are collectively doing awesome things every day, sometimes we have to go back to the story of ONE.
And that ONE story is the story of the student.
Taking the time to highlight one specific student is a powerful way to connect with your community. It may be a story of kindness, compassion, accomplishment, or simply a celebration of the student. I’ll break down a little guide to help you get organized. I’m going to explain how we developed the “Students Who Shine” weekly feature in New Auburn.
- Pick a style that fits your school best. You could have a student of the week, student spotlight, or senior standout. In New Auburn we decided to go with “Students Who Shine.” It would reflect students of all ages.
- Determine how students will be selected. It may be generated by teacher nominations, peer nominations, or just the work of a committee that “knows” the different accomplishments going on. For this example, we asked each staff member to nominate one student who standouts out from their peers. It could be for the extra effort that they put forward (because school doesn’t come easy for all students), or for being a great friend, or for overcoming adversity.
- Once the nominations are received, you need a high quality photo. Cell phone photos are fine as long as they are in high resolution. I wait until I have 4-5 nominations and then go out and take all of the photos at once. New Auburn is a 4K-12 school that is all in one building, so I can grab 4-5 photos in a matter of 10 minutes!
- Create your graphic with the photo you took. I use a free website called Canva. Again, I batch this process and create 4-5 features at a time. The goal of this graphic is to tell the story in the image itself. It is fine to write a description and include the photo of the student – but branding it in this way is better!
- Schedule out the student features on Facebook. You can schedule up to 6 months in advance right on the Facebook platform – and you can select the exact time of day you want the posts to publish. For New Auburn’s feature, I picked Tuesday nights at 7pm. Evening times are when the most number of your fans are online, so it is a great time to post.
- Once the publish on Facebook, I make sure to post them on Twitter and Instagram as well. I simply use the Facebook Page app on my phone, click on the image and save it to my camera roll, and then go into Instagram and Twitter to post the image. I usually copy the text from the Facebook post and use it on the other channels (but Twitter has to be shorter, of course). Don’t worry too much about duplicating content. Most people have a favorite platform that they use. And because of algorithms, every fan of yours won’t see every post anyway.
Here are a few other examples of student spotlights that you might want to try!
These features do so much for your district! They highlight great students, of course, but they do more than that. They help reflect the amazing staff you have in your school. The features build engagement, because many times people take the time to react or comment to the photo. Family members are also likely to share the feature, leading to an even bigger audience for your school.
Do you do a student feature at your school? I’d love to see it! Share a link below and let us know how well they perform for your page.