School communications doesn’t stop when the last bell rings at 3 p.m. Managing a school’s presence across all channels — both digital and nondigital — is a full-time job that requires nearly constant attention. A good school communicator knows this and is constantly looking for ways to make his or her busy, long days more effective and efficient. One way to do this? Manage your school website from your phone.
Adjusting with the times
Smartphones are everywhere. The PEW Research Center found that 77% of Americans own a smartphone and that percentage is bound to be higher among school communicators. It’s a well-known fact that your school website should be mobile-friendly for your users, but is it also mobile friendly for those who manage it? Here’s how mobile access can streamline your website or app management.
At the very least, your school should have a website with responsive design – one that adjusts to any device on which it’s being viewed. An app is an excellent way to connect with parents, make social media connections, and provide instant communication with push notifications. There are also a number of drawbacks to using a mobile app, including limited reach and potential integration problems. But the purpose of this article is not to discuss the pros and cons of a mobile app versus a responsively-designed website.
Whether we’re talking school mobile apps, a website, or both, it’s important that your platform is easy to manage from a phone. When shopping for a CMS for your school, make sure that it is built for easy mobile management.
'Round the clock access for everyone
When a school’s website and CMS tools are easily accessible from a mobile device, more people can access it. Mobile access should be available not only to the PR/communications lead, but also to other staff and faculty. When school officials can access the website easily, they can manage their end of the site’s content without having to go through the school communicator.
The ability to manage your school website from your phone will accelerate and simplify a number of common tasks. Throughout the day, there are a number of ways a staff member might need to change or update the school website, post social media, send push notifications or update a schedule.
The school schedule is an ever-evolving creature, subject to unpredictable factors like weather and community health, so the ability to easily update the school’s platform about event cancellations and delays can be invaluable to both administrators and community.
With the simplicity and ease of mobile management, more members of the school community will be inclined to handle their portion of the website, which will ultimately put less pressure on the school communications lead(s).
- Athletic directors can access the site to update game schedules from the locker room.
- Coaches or team managers can post scores right after the buzzer or final play.
- School secretaries can be empowered to post important information and announcements on behalf of the principal.
- The extracurricular leaders can stay in touch with their respective communities about meetings, practices, performances.
- Teachers can even use the site to communicate with parents or update their syllabi while walking down the hall.
Mobile management builds community
Social media posts are much more effective when done in real-time. With phone accessibility to a school social media, communication managers can do increasingly creative posts, such as Facebook Live feeds from assemblies, pep rallies, drama performances, and other school events. Live posts are a very effective way to engage your audience, as Social Media Today found that viewers watch live videos for 3 times longer than regular videos.
Social media accounts are an excellent way for schools to share those special, human interest experiences that happen throughout the school day: a picture of students laughing together at lunch, a quick profile of the school’s newest teacher, or a video clip of the student choir rehearsal. These are the moments that connect and build school community. To capture and share these moments, one needs to be armed and ready with a mobile phone capable of updates. When it is easier to access these accounts, communicators and other school officials will be far more likely to update them with information that is both functional and fun.
Mobile management helps keep your school safe
Mobile phones provide a location-independent way for school officials to provide immediate information to parents and students. In the event of an emergency, weather or otherwise, it will not always be convenient to access a computer and update the website. When you can do it from your phone, you cannot only provide functional safety updates about early school closures or cancellations, but can provide real-time information in the case of an emergency situation such as a fire or campus intruder.
Streamline school communications management
The ability to manage the platform from a phone is vital to efficient school communications operation. By providing mobile access to administrators, teachers, athletic directors, music directors, and more, you can expand the reach of your platforms and reduce pressure on school communicators. Mobile access can simplify schedule changes, build community, and even help to keep your school safe. If you aren’t already managing your school website from your phone, it’s time to start.
Do you manage your school website from your phone? What are some other creative ways mobile access can improve school websites?
Marketing director and content strategist for Campus Suite, Jay’s a former school public relations specialist who’s helped businesses, schools and colleges use the power of web communications to improve their image, generate support, and optimize relationships. Reach him at email@example.com or follow him @jay4schools.