School buses are warming up, families are packing kids’ backpacks, and teachers are gearing up their classrooms. That’s right – it’s Back to School Time!
As we embark on a new school year, it’s the perfect opportunity to revisit your social media processes and start filling out your content calendar. And while the first few weeks tend to go by in a blur of activity, you’ll be happy that you set yourself up for success NOW so that you’re not scrambling for fresh content, later.
Today’s blog is all about how to get more stories to post on your school’s social media channels.
Tip #1: Build Relationships with Key People
No matter how big (or small) your district might be, it’s always important to build relationships with key people. This doesn’t just mean the leaders with the most clout (although building principals are an amazing resource, as we’ll discuss in a moment) – it means the people who have an eye for positive stories and a willingness to snap a quick picture.
Think… Administrative professionals. Classroom aides. Librarians. Tech ed teachers. Instructional coaches. Lunchroom volunteers. Assistant coaches. Room parents. Etc.!
You know your schools best! Perhaps begin with the building principals, asking them to be your allies in collecting content. They might be your best submitters, or they may point you in the direction of some of the people listed above.
Pro Tip: If you’re running low on content, don’t just blast out an email to an entire building or district. Instead, email individual people and ask something like, “Hey, what’s been going on in art lately?” or “Have you done any cool projects in tech ed?” or “When is the next buddy storytime?” By reaching out individually with a specific request, you’re more likely to get a good response.
This blog is chock full of amazing stories that are often sparked from these key relationships.
Tip #2: Get ALL Staff on Board with an Easy System
While you might find yourself going back to the same people for content, time and time again, it’s also critical that you have a system so that ANY staff member can submit content. That way, every classroom and activity has the opportunity to be featured! You can’t be everywhere at once.
I’ve found that the best way to do this is to have a simple, easy-to-remember system for collecting content.
Seriously, it’s not rocket science! You don’t need a 17-step form. Start by setting up an email address just for collecting social media stories. This short video will walk you through why this is important.
Communicate to your staff through a staff meeting, a lunch ‘n learn, or even a mass internal email about your simple submission process. Let them know that submitting stories is easy – you just need a sentence or two about what’s happening in the photo(s) or video they’re sending, and you’ll take it from there.
If your school allows teachers and coaches to run their own social media accounts on behalf of their classrooms and teams, make sure you’re following all of them. Create a Twitter list or a folder of bookmarks on your browser, so you can quickly visit these pages and grab content when you’re running low. Here’s how to make a directory of all these sites for easy access!
And if you’re convinced that a form is necessary, then you have to listen to this podcast with Brian Bridges. QR codes are back – and Brian puts them to use with his Jot Form that staff use to submit content for social media. It’s a genius idea that is actually working. You’re going to want to listen!
Pro Tip: Re-communicate your story submission system every school year, even if it hasn’t changed. You’ll have new staff members, of course, but even veteran staff members need friendly reminders.
Tip #3: Lean Into Social Media Features
One of my secret weapons to a consistent social media presence is weekly features. These take a huge load off your shoulders because you can work ahead by creating months of content at once!
I’ve written many blogs on this topic, so I’ll link a few of my favorites below to get your creative juices flowing:
- #ThrowbackThursday (plus, this blog includes 52 plug-and-play #TBT captions!)
- “What I Learned This Week”
- Staff Features (read several ways you can approach this)
- Student Spotlights
- Wellness Wednesday
- Tip Tuesday
- Flashback Friday (reshare something memorable from the last 12 months)
- Question of the Week
Tip #4: Ask for User Generated Content (UGC)
Why limit yourself just to school staff, when it comes to collecting content? You have an entire community to help you! They’re at sporting events, after-school activities, and much more – after all, you can’t be in every place at once.
The beauty is that you can ask for content right on your social media pages. On Facebook, you can create a post that invites people to comment with their photos. This short video shows you how to open up your Facebook Settings in order to do this. And if you have the New Facebook Pages Experience, you’ll need to go to: Settings & Privacy – Settings – Privacy – Page & Tagging – Who can post on your page? – Toggle from “Only Me” to “Everyone.”
- “Share a school spirit photo in the comments below!”
- “Snap a photo of your kid on the first day of school and share below 👇”
- “Did you get any photos from Friday’s game? Share below so we can see!”
- “Concert pic collection time! Share your best pics in the comments.”
- “Who’s got #SCHOOLHASHTAG swag?! Share a photo in the comments below.”
Then, you just need to save the photos submitted and use them in future posts. Easy peasy! Just don’t forget to change the setting back once your request for photos is complete.
Pro Tip: If your posts aren’t gaining traction, try making it into a contest. You’ll be amazed at what the promise of a $20 school store gift card can do. Maybe a local business would even sponsor it!
You could also have a simple form on your website (remember, you don’t need 17 steps!!) that is also shared on social media and in external emails, where people can submit content, similar to your process for school staff if you use a form. A great title for this is “Tell Me Something Good.” Your social media email address could also be shared as a means to collect content.
Here’s another great UGC collection method you can replicate in your community that involves a branded hashtag.
Tip #5: Create Accountability with a Content Calendar
Do you have a smaller school or district? This tip is perfect for private schools, charter schools, or districts with less than 500 students.
Just create a content calendar where every staff member is responsible for submitting content on a given day, week, or month. This blog walks through how to create this accountability system, step-by-step!
Out of these five tips, which one will work best in YOUR district? Leave me a comment below – I can’t wait to see all your amazing stories. Have a great school year!!