Despite only entering the dictionary in the last 20 years, social media is a huge field that can take a lifetime to truly master.
For schools looking to use their social media accounts to their fullest potential, there is a lot to learn. With a wealth of experience setting up and managing social media platforms for school, we’ve built a comprehensive social media guide for schools covering everything you need to know.
In this blog, we introduce you to the basics, so that you can start seeing your posts lead to real benefits.
Know Your Platforms
Each social media platform is different, and each requires a different approach.
Facebook is the best place for your school to reach parents and spread positive sentiment. It is the most popular platform among parents and families, and through the pages system, it is designed to encourage discussion and engagement. Facebook should be your go-to for spreading positive news, building up an audience, and getting parents and members of the community actively involved in your school.
You want your parent community to have positive discussions on your Facebook page. To facilitate this, ask questions, run polls, and set up events!
Twitter can also be a useful way of reaching parents, but it is more geared towards professionals. That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth your time though, it still has a huge audience which will be distinct from your Facebook audience.
The key with Twitter is to keep your updates brief and to include pictures. You should focus on posting quick good news updates, and making your posts stand out from the rest of the feed by attaching pictures whenever possible and appropriate.
LinkedIn is above all else a recruiting tool and should be used to share vacancies and update on staffing changes. However, job postings aren’t the only part of recruitment marketing. You should also be using LinkedIn to show why your school or trust is a great place to work. For this reason, don’t neglect to share stories and news that demonstrates this.
You should still bear in mind that as a platform for professionals, the tone you use on LinkedIn should veer more towards the professional side than on Facebook or Twitter.
Different considerations related to how to build your audience, what security measures to put in place, and how to design your social media policy also apply according to the platform. To get the full picture, take a look at our complete guide to how your school should use each social media channel.
Know Your Audience
While you can often make largely accurate generalisations about the make up of each channel’s audience, the reality will be different for every organisation. You won’t be able to get the right content across if you don’t know your audience.
With good use of analytics, you can continually be improving your content to match your audience. We’ve written extensively about how analytics and subsequent change can make your school’s social media presence a success.
Know What To Say
Once you’re set up, what content should you be posting, and how often?
First of all, you should be sharing positive activities in your school. Everyday classroom activities will often be enlightening and engaging for parents. It might also be worth sharing or retweeting news from the area that is relevant to your school.
What content you post will of course depend on which channel you are using.
Here’s an example of some school social media campaigns, and the most effective platforms to use for each of them:
- Celebrating good news with your school community — Facebook and Twitter, the most commonly used social media platforms.
- Advertising vacancies at your school — LinkedIn, which has a predominantly professional usership.
- Promoting awards won by pupils — Facebook and Twitter for maximum exposure.
- Increasing attendance at an upcoming event — Facebook, utilising the platform’s events feature.
- Attracting business engagement or sponsorship — LinkedIn, the business-based social media platform.
- Promoting your school’s new Ofsted rating — Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, as the news applies to all audiences.
So far, we’ve gone over the broad usage of social media. In this section, we’ll cover some key guidance to make sure you don’t get in any sticky situations.
Don’t use copyrighted material. Over the past decades, copyright laws have only tightened. This means that if you post content that doesn’t belong to you, you can risk a heavy fine. With many companies using software to search for images, it’s especially important to make sure you own any images you post. At Eduprise, we can create copyright free images to make sure your posts appeal, but don’t incur any unwanted costs!
Check pupil image permissions. Make sure to keep track of which pupils you have permission to use the image of, and which you don’t.
Use hashtags carefully. You should always check what a hashtag is used for before using it yourself. There’s a lot of different content on social media and a lot of it isn’t suitable for schools. If you use a poorly researched hashtag, your school’s post could end up alongside inappropriate material.
Keep strict control over passwords. Losing the login details for your accounts is a nightmare you should be doing everything you can to avoid. You should limit your passwords to as few staff as possible, using software such as tweetdeck to share access to the account without needing to share passwords.
The points above cover only a small part of the guidance you need to make sure you aren’t getting your school into trouble on social media. At Eduprise, we help schools and trusts to make the most of their social media channels by writing social media policies to make sure that all their staff are on the same page. Our team has over 20 years’ experience in drafting successful social content that can improve your schools’ engagement. If you’d be interested in getting set up with a robust social media policy, or would like any other help with getting results from social media, get in touch with us today.