“Should schools use social media?”
It’s a question that is asked by the media, parents, teaching staff — almost everyone who has a stake in the success of a school.
The answer is yes, schools should use social media. We’ve written before about why social media is important for schools, and also how to make it a success for your school. But, we wanted to investigate why people still need to ask this question.
To do this, we spoke to a number of schools that don’t use social media and asked them one question: why?
The Risk of Damaging Comments
The biggest fear highlighted during our conversations with schools was damage caused by others. Reputations are important for schools, and negative comments made against them can be costly. By having a presence on social media, schools worried they were making themselves a target.
Social media channels are wise to these concerns and have acted to address them. Facebook has taken the lead on page moderation. They give the admin of your school’s Facebook account access to many page moderation settings. One of them allows your school to prevent comments containing profanity being posted on your statuses or page. Further, if you want to be entirely risk-free, you can prevent comments being posted on your page or statuses at all.
Other social media channels have begun to follow suit. Twitter, in early 2019, introduced its ‘hide tweet’ feature, which allowed account users to hide comments on their posts or threads in the first instance.
Even social media channels without specific features have processes in place to protect your account. Every platform has a ‘report’ feature, which, when activated, draws the attention of the platform’s authorities to problematic content. Following a review, the content, if deemed necessary, will be removed.
We Prefer Other Methods of Communication
Many schools prioritise traditional methods of communication, and they can be very reluctant to change. While schools may be comfortable communicating through letters, radio adverts, and printed newsletters, that doesn’t mean modern methods are inferior.
It’s important to remember that effective communication is not about your preference; it’s about your audience’s preference. If parents have a tendency to ignore letters brought home by their children, and this is your main form of communication, your messages will never be received.
This means it is essential that your school has a full understanding of how parents want to communicate with you. Every school is different, but we recently carried out some research on parents’ preferred methods of communication.
By using a variety of methods and emphasising those which your parents prefer, your school can cater for different preferences and significantly improve communication with parents.
Not Having Anything to Say
It became clear to us, while speaking to the schools, that they were unsure what to say on social media. This appears to be a common concern — but it shouldn’t be.
Amazing things happen at schools every day. From children experiencing new things to making breakthroughs in their learning, there’s plenty for you to shout about.
The best cases of schools using Facebook and Twitter to communicate with parents share positive news stories. These stories are updates that highlight the achievements of your pupils, as well as events and opportunities that your school provides.
It can be challenging for schools to view events from an external perspective. But, taking on the perspective of parents and your school community offers a great insight. It allows you to better identify really positive, uplifting stories that may seem like day-to-day occurrences to those within your school.
By sharing them on social media, you can demonstrate just how special your school and pupils are.
Not Having the Time to Contribute
Teachers are extremely busy. They have a tough job and dedicate a lot of time to improving outcomes for children. It is no surprise then, that schools identified a lack of spare time as a reason for not using social media.
Schools are right to be concerned about accounts existing without regular posts. Dormant, inactive social media accounts rarely reflect positively on any organisation. Happily though, there’s a number of ways to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Firstly, it is possible to share the perceived burden of contributing. Using Tweetdeck for Twitter and by adding administrators on Facebook, you can allow various members of staff to post via your school accounts. This shared responsibility means individuals don’t need to commit overwhelming amounts of time to adding to the school’s social media profiles.
Another way to prevent inactivity without excessive time commitments is creating a school social media strategy. The strategy should outline when to post, what to post, and who should be posting. Mapping these details in line with your school calendar is a great way to ensure content is intuitive. Planning posts around school events makes creating engaging content quicker and simpler.
Developing a school social media plan is not straightforward. If you would like to get a head start, contact our team today and we’d be happy to send you a school marketing plan template to work with.
Schools Are Missing Out on Opportunities
Schools using social media have a lot of success, and there are many opportunities to take advantage of. The sheer volume of social media users is remarkable. It creates a readymade audience to which you can promote, market, and advertise your school.
With a good strategy, you school’s social media activity can:
- Increase Admissions
- Improve Awareness of Your School
- Contribute Toward Reputation Management
- Enhance the Quality of Applicants for Your Vacancies
- Promote Your School’s Good News and Achievements
- Establish Relationships with Businesses
- Encourage Community Engagement
Here to Help
No matter how concerned your school might be about social media, the positives are impossible to ignore.
At Eduprise, we’ve helped many cautious schools cast aside their worries and build social media presences they now find invaluable.
Don’t miss out on a key channel of communication and opportunity to market your school by avoiding social media. Get in touch with the Eduprise team today, and we’ll set you on your way to social media success.