As the holiday season approaches, you can probably come up with a gaggle of reasons to put off posting to your school’s social media accounts. And while you may want to pass on that second piece of Grandma’s pumpkin pie, you shouldn’t pass on keeping your social media power plant churning as you head into the holidays.
While working on with my son's Thanksgiving art projects and checking my Instagram and Pinterest feeds for inspiration, I was inspired. I came up with some reasons to keep posting these final weeks of 2018.
No time for a ‘holiday’ from social media
Just because your school buildings are closed for the holidays, doesn’t mean your school communications need to shut down. In fact, the holidays may just be the best time to post. A lot of your parents, after all, are taking breaks too, so they may be able to spend a little more time than usual to spend with their social media accounts.
Download a free Social Media Guide for Schools here. From the Campus Suite Academy – professional development for school communicators.
You don’t necessarily have to stay busy yourself over your break publishing posts in real time. Some social media channels allow you to schedule posts in advance, or using a social posting tool like Hootsuite or Sprout Social, you can create posts and select the date and time when you want the post to publish.
Start ‘harvesting’ new stories from your pilgrims
All around your school you’ll find the stories – and content contributors – that can can provide a cornucopia of content for your social media channels. Don’t be shy about asking for help on gathering up the stories.
Keep in mind the Content ‘Rule of Thirds’ that expands how you think about the kinds of content you can post. It’s not all about just announcing upcoming events.
One-third of your content should be devoted to news and events about the school and district – events, news, achievements. Another third can be various facts and figures about education, teaching, learning, etc. Quotes are cool, parent resources, links to cool articles. Finally, one-third of your social media content is the warm and fuzzy category:, human interest content that everyone loves and abounds around every school (cue the photos and videos of students dressed in Turkey outfits, or the principal wearing that Pilgrim hat.)
Be thankful for all the likes and kind comments
Remember that social media is not just all about creating and posting the content, but responding and engaging. So be sure to say thanks when receiving kind words, acknowledge comments, and get the dialogue rolling.
Too many school communicators still view social media as a one-way communications channel. It’s all about the engagement, so what better time of year to show thanks for all the parents making comments on your posts?
Don’t hide from the green bean casserole
Like that Jello salad filled with God knows what, or Grandma’s green bean casserole, of which there always seems to be a lot left over, not all social media is great gravy and savory pie.
The power of social media in the school setting can be a double-edge sword. But don’t let that stand in the way of your social media strategy. Negative comments may, in fact, crop up on rare occasions, and there are ways to deal with negative comments on school social media, but by and large, these channels can do a world of good for your school.
- An Oklahoma high school football team uses its official football Twitter feed to protest against Nike for using Colin Kaepernick as a spokesperson.
- A school district shuts down for two days after some parents threaten a transgender seventh-grade student using a Facebook group.
The very rare, one-off issues like some paranoid parents or an overzealous football team, certainly aren't reasons to ‘take a holiday’ from your social media posts.
Give your followers great stories to feast on
Finally, I wanted to share some examples of types of posts to consider over the school holiday season.
Message from superintendent, principal or teacher...
Staff/faculty spotlight – recognize great people...
Artwork – artists K through 12, it’s all inspiring...
These are just a few ideas. For more ideas for posts and tips on managing your school social media, check out this video of a webinar on Getting More from Your School Social Media. Oh, and it IS Thanksgiving THURSDAY after all, so be sure to schedule a Throwback Thursday post.
Do you have any ideas to keep your social media from going cold turkey over the holidays?
As co-founder of Campus Suite, Steve believes behind every great school is great communication. His tech savvy and passion for design fuel his desire to help administrators understand, embrace and seize the power of web communications.