Social media is a key way to engage your community with your school.
But it is easier said than done.
You cannot simply start a Facebook page and expect to reach thousands of people each week with stories from your school.
Having a page is an essential first step, but then you need to add some strategy.
After managing social media for more than 30 districts and posting over 25,000 times, we have boiled it down to 3 key components. And lucky for you, they are easy to remember. Each begins with a “C!”
There are amazing things happening in your school every day.
But if no one captures it, then you can’t share it on social media.
I recommend having one person in charge of posting onto your school district accounts. You can have a small group, but it may get trickier to coordinate on who is doing what. Having one person with the responsibility makes it clear.
The person who posts is NOT the person in charge of taking all of the photos and videos. To grab the content, you need to work with your entire staff (teachers and non-teachers) to submit stories to you. When we work with schools, we ask each staff member for just two items per month.
In addition to the content that is sent to you, you can search the website for no school days, concerts, parent/teacher conferences and other special events. You can also follow staff members or organizations that have their own social media pages. Retweeting or sharing posts is a good way to gather additional content.
Now your staff may ask, what should I submit? There are so many things you can share!
- Book buddies
- Video of a Phys. Ed. activity
- Photos of art projects
- Fun lunchroom photos
- Staff features – sharing a little about their family and why they love working for the school
- Volunteer work done in the community
- Video on why a student or staff member loves your school
- Senior features – sharing what their plans are for after high school
Need more ideas? Here are 100!
In order to have a social media presence that your community can count on, you need to get consistent with your posts. I define that with at least two posts a day, meaning 14 per week.
Why so often? Because social media users are on the platforms all the time and your school needs to show up in their news-feeds.
And there’s a LOT of competition to show up in their newsfeed. All posts that you share do not reach all of your fans. The Facebook algorithm is a tricky thing to beat. Not sure what the algorithm is? Check out my two blog series on the topic!
My good friend and Social Media Manager at Reedsburg, Heidi Feller, recently said that if you aren’t posting consistently – you might as well just try to open the front door to your school and yell. That’s about how many people it will reach…
My advice is that you need to post at least twice a day on channels like Facebook and Twitter. You probably don’t want to post more than five times per day on Facebook, but doing more on Twitter is just fine. Too much of a good thing on Facebook can actually hurt your algorithm.
We track our posting frequency. As you can see below, Proctor Public Schools is sharing great updates about 2.4 time per day.
This average includes weekends and even summer break. You won’t post as often on summer vacation, but you can’t disappear either. I suggest at LEAST three posts per week during the summer.
Posting at the right times is critical too. A post at 6:00 am is great, because many people look at Facebook as soon as they get up. Other times include 10:30 am (right before lunch), 3:00 pm (pick-up time) and 7:00 pm.
There is a way to schedule posts to go up at these times. You don’t have to be on Facebook or Twitter at those times to make this work! You can schedule directly in Facebook and can tell it exactly what time of day for the post to go up.
We post on Instagram at least twice a week. If you’re not on Instagram yet, that’s OK! It’s very easy to start a page. If you’re looking for help, check out this blog: How to Start an Instagram Page.
If you can only start with posting once a day while school is in session, then that is a great place to start! I talk to so many schools who think they are doing well with social media, but yet they share no photos and only post once a week (or less). Don’t be one of those schools!
The final key to a great social media presence for your school is building community. Your Facebook page can’t just be a page where you post information.
You need to listen.
You need to respond.
You need to react.
We suggest “liking” every comment that comes in on your Facebook posts. Of course, if it isn’t a great comment, or simply a tag to someone’s name, then you don’t need to. This simple act does a few things.
First, the person who made the comment is notified that the school likes their comment. It’s like saying thanks for taking the time to share your opinion. It could encourage them to comment more often!
Second, the act of liking the comment increases your engagement, which impacts your algorithm. Facebook thinks this post is important, and it will show it to more people!
We also suggest that your leaders and staff take time to comment on posts. This says so much about your school!
If questions are asked, make sure to respond! If you don’t have the answer right away, just let them know you are working on it. It is so great when our fans feel like they are being heard!
You can also build community around the use of your customized hashtag. Retweeting on your school district Twitter account is another way of thanking your students, staff, parents and more, who are using social media to celebrate your school. You should go on Twitter and search your hashtag on a routine basis (at least a few times a week) to retweet out stories.
The more you interact on your pages, the more likely you are to grow a loyal following. It can be like sitting down for a virtual coffee with hundreds of people each morning. Social media doesn’t replace the in-person interactions, but it sure makes it easier to those we don’t get the chance to see on a regular basis.
The results from following these 3 keys are proven. We’ve helped so many schools increase their reach with social media! We recently did a breakout session on this topic at the Minnesota Association of School Administrators. You can grab the full download of slides at this link that will help highlight some of the stats.
If your school is struggling with your social media efforts, let’s talk about how #SocialSchool4EDU might be able to help! We serve schools in a variety of ways, and in a variety of price points. It might start with just a $97 strategy and assessment call. You might need some ongoing coaching for just $250 per month, or you might need full on social media management that starts around $600 per month. Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-205-0429.