Social Media in Schools – hints and tips
Implementing social media in school can be daunting however if handled in the right way your social media accounts can be a great communication tool as well as a marketing and PR tool. We’ve looked in depth at how schools use social media to connect with their school and wider community and have put together the below hints and tips in order to share good practice.
Setting up social media in school
Put protocols in place to ensure you present the right image for your school and that those responsible for managing your social media accounts know what they should/should not be doing, these can include:
- Using your School logo as the profile picture and an appropriate branded header image
- Consider your intended audience, this could include students aged 13+ (social media does not support accounts for children under this age), parents, teachers and your wider community
- Clear guidance on the use of pupil photos and names
- Implement a ‘no follow’ policy for pupils/parents i.e. they should follow you but you should not follow them back
- Decide if using the private message function would benefit your school, most choose not to use it
- Don’t share a post with a link without checking the contents of link
- Decide who you’re going to follow; perhaps education organisations that share information relevant to your school and community, companies that provide free links to help support learning at home such as ParentApp, community organisations etc.
What to post
The key thing to remember is keep it relevant and consider if what you are posting really is of interest to parents and your wider community or are you just repeating an existing communication method i.e posting about homework set.
Bear in mind that posts with pictures are 72% more likely to engage your followers so the majority of your posts should include a picture.
- Great student work, include a photo or scan of the piece
- Information and reminders on school trips, visits and events.
- Menus and special meal events – some schools have managed to drive uptake by posting menus and special meal events on their social media accounts
- Latest news relevant to education or specifically to your school
- Run Competitions/polls
- Revision and support materials
- Links to websites to support home learning such as ParentApp
- Posts that not only are great for parents to share and discuss with their children, but also articles that help parents better understand education in today’s world.
Your goal should be to create advocates and real partners in education. To do that, they need to be informed.
What not to post
Remember, your schools social media account is not your personal account and therefore it would not be appropriate to post about your personal/political views, music you like, offers you like etc. Keep focussed on the account being the public face of your school.
When to post
Most schools choose to put a policy in place such as they only post between 7am and 7pm and there can be an argument for that, after all schools don’t operate 24/7, but aren’t most parents busy or at work between 7am and 7pm?
During our investigations on the use of social media in schools, we came across schools that were innovatively using free platforms such as Hootsuite and Tweetdeck to schedule posts that would be published outside school hours and over weekends/during school holidays across all their social media accounts. These schools saw a massive increase in engagement with their posts, the most likely reason, they were posting when the majority of their parents were actually on Twitter or Facebook.
Facebook has its own post scheduler that you can use.
Getting your audience to follow/like you
Ensure you launch or re-launch your social media accounts by writing to parents. Explain why you are using social media and ask for their help in making it a valuable tool and positive experience for your whole school and wider community. Give them clear indications on its intended use and what will not be tolerated, perhaps include a Social Media policy with the letter.
Use every opportunity in communications with parents to drive them to your Twitter/Facebook account.
Keep posts relevant, interesting, informative and encourage parents to like or share posts.
Finally, remember that it’s called SOCIAL media – be human, interact authentically with your community, and start conversations. Your ‘hard to reach’ parents may not be as hard to reach as you think!