During a recent Campus Suite Academy webinar on How to Build a Social Media Program for Your School, we had some questions we couldn't get to live. Following are most of those we didn't have time to answer. Many schools are looking to either improve or implement their social media program, and there are many questions surrounding the topic. Check out what some of your colleagues asked during this recent Campus Suite Academy webinar.
Q: Any advice on setting benchmarks for social media, specifically Facebook?
A: Tracking your social media efforts is important, for it not only shows if your posts are working, but the more you know about what’s working can help you integrate your social media strategy into a larger communications plan. The key performance indicator (KPI) for Facebook, for example, is engagement rate, which is defined as the percentage of people who liked, shared or commented on the post. The ‘Insights’ menu at the top of your school Facebook page is a good starting point to gauge engagement. Simply select a published post and select engagement rate. Twitter too has built-in analytics that you can use to create KPIs that will help you benchmark and measure your social media success.
Q: Can you provide an example of a school social media mission statement?
A: A social media mission statement is critical to a school. It shows you’re serious about using social media, it helps you put social media into perspective with your overall communications, and can serve as a reminder to all involved about the what and who social media is all about. Your school’s social media mission statement will likely vary, but here’s one you can use verbatim or as a starting point:
Our School Social Media Mission: “Share content and create meaningful dialogue with parents, students, staff and the community to improve communications and support the educational goals of the school.”
Q: Will there be an archive of this webinar we can share with our district?
A: Yes indeed. You can watch a video of the live webinar here. You can also find links to other videos, ebooks, guides and all sorts of school communications resources at the Campus Suite Academy resources page. Feel free to share it with your colleagues.
Q: We already have individual school Twitter accounts set up. Is there a way to merge accounts without losing followers?
A: There is no way to merge accounts with a flip of a switch. However, if you have Twitter accounts already in place across schools in your district, it’s never too late to create some structure to your Twitter program. Here is a workaround you can use to combine existing Twitter accounts:
- Update each school bio. As an initial announcement, change each school account’s bio to let followers know you’re moving to a new account.
- Inform your followers. Tweet 3-4 times a day for a couple weeks that the account. E.g., “We’re moving on May 15. Follow @xyzschooldistrict to continue getting our updates.”
- Direct message where needed. (This tip comes from Sarah Elson at Communiqué PR.) “Reach out to each person who isn’t already following the new account to notify them about the move. An easy way to do this is to export each account’s followers and compare them. SocialBro and Simply Measured both offer this feature.
Once you make the transition, you can segment your users with a hashtag strategy. See The Ultimate Guide to Twitter for Schools.
Q: Do you have resources to share that we can use to find regular education/parenting tips?
A: There are several good outlets that offer a wide variety of free family resources. They range from homework tips, family activities, games, contests and just good advice on engaging parents in your students’ education. Discoveryeducation.com/parents is a super place to start. The National Education Association’s parent site is a good clearinghouse of parent resources. The NEA Pinterest board presents all kinds of ideas in a visual, neatly organized manner. And don’t forget the the PTA: the national Parent Teacher Association has a great family section at http://www.pta.org/parents. These are just a few. I’m sure there are many more out there. Please share yours below in the comment section.
Q: How do you effectively use the social media language whilst still having a professional image?
A: Social media is having a profound effect on our language, and as a bit of linguist myself, I’d strongly urge you to hold fast to good solid language when it comes to communicating on behalf of your school. Certain words or terms, obviously, like selfie or friend, which used to be just a noun (see befriend) have crept into the vernacular, but I’ve just a couple simple tips for keeping it professional.
First off, avoid any of those hackneyed abbreviations/shorthand (LOL, OMG, IDK). Who really laughs out loud anyway while reading posts? Secondly, keep your language very conversational. Your word choice and tone should be very approachable and engaging. Some educators fall into the habit of using eduspeak: language filled with teaching/learning jargon. Social media conversations should be just that – conversational. Keep in friendly, don’t be at all negative, and if something negative should come up, refer to the section in our Social Media Guide for Schools on how to handle negative comments on social media.
Q: What is the best way to establish a uniform, social media policy for a 30-school district?
A: With a large district such as yours, it’s important you build your social media program from the ground up. Start with crafting that social media mission statement, and share it with – and get buy in from – your school leadership team. Get your communications team together and let them know how important social media is to your total communications effort. Appoint building-level ‘field editors’ who have responsibility for not only creating content, but monitoring and interacting. Our Social Media Guide for Schools is a good ‘how-to’ on putting in place a school social media foundation.
If you’re the communications lead in your district, start small, get some early successes with, for example, a superintendent's blog, a Facebook page that’s updated at least daily, a district Twitter account.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him @jay4schools.