Whether you’re trying to break into social media for the first time or strengthen your existing presence, this quick overview provides the basics to consider when drafting your social media strategy for your school or district. You’ll get some best practices to help your online community stay engaged with the content you share.
Why Do You Need a Plan?
Attempting to launch your social media presence without a proper strategy is like trying to teach a class without a lesson plan.
Today, nearly three-quarters of Americans connect to more than one social media platform. Its widespread appeal, accessibility, and ease of use pave the way for a massive volume of conversations taking place online every day. Major players like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more have become ideal spaces to connect with your community since they’re already there. It’s important to know what you’re communicating and why; this drives the strategy.
Schools use their social media presence to:
- Deliver school news/information (e.g., lunch menus, class activities, scheduled events)
- Connect with your community to encourage its involvement and support of service project, extracurricular activities, etc.
- Take a pulse of the community by learning about its shared interests, get involved in public discussions related to the school, identify trending topics (including potentially dangerous viral challenges).
- React to, or communicate about, emergencies.
Given the possibilities of what you can share on social media, devising a plan shapes the routine needed to maintain a successful presence. It also helps you think through what content you’ll share–reducing the guesswork of what you should post. There’s a lot more to consider then you may realize. Far more than creating a Facebook page and typing some thoughts.
Plan to Succeed
Below are 12 starter questions to ask while making your plan. Preparing answers early on sets the stage for how your presence is managed and provides forethought about the types of content you promote.
- Who should champion your district’s social media presence; an individual, a team?
- How will content be reviewed/proofed before it’s shared?
- Who should champion an individual school’s presence?
- Who should manage the administrative side of your various accounts (login IDs, passwords, etc.)?
- Who should post on behalf of individual clubs, teams, organizations within the schools?
- If it’s decided to funnel those updates through a single individual, how should post content make its way to him/her, and how often?
- Who should review comments made on the posts you push out?
- What topics will be beneficial to your school/district’s community – and how frequently should you share them (daily, weekly, as something happens, etc.)?
Next, you’ll want to consider how to bring your presence to life.
- What social media platforms will you use, and why?
There are many options out there, and more choices pop into existence daily. Choose wisely. Start by determining where students and parents are already engaged. Then think about what type of content best fits the platforms you select. If you need a hand, Buffer provides a definitive guide to help.
You don’t need to use all of them. It may be more beneficial to test your plan with a single platform, then build out your presence from there.
- How will you promote your presence?
Dedicate space on your school/district’s website for links to your social media pages, so it’s easy for parents and students to find you. We found this example of a school district doing it right! Some schools go the extra mile to state the goal of their social media pages to show community followers what to expect.
- How will you finetune your content?
Ask! Ask your community what are you doing well. Ask what improvements can be made. Ask what your students and their parents want to see. The more you can dial into what the community wants, the more engagement you’ll see.
- How will you keep it going?
Maintaining momentum can be a daunting task. For it to generate the most interest, your feeds should be consistent and relevant. Remember, you’re competing for attention from a flood of other sources. Post frequently and meaningfully to keep your community coming back.
The more you engage the community and make them a part of the process, the more success your school district will have in putting a useful, thoughtful social media strategy into action. And don’t forget that when it comes to safety and security on social media related to your school, Social Sentinel is your trusted advisor.