When it comes to leveraging social media for business purposes, schools have been some of the last organizations to adapt. The reason is that schools often view social media in a different light. They’ve seen the backlash that mistakes can have and don’t want to deal with parents on such a visible platform.
However, the truth is that schools can and should be using social media.
Five Best Practices for Schools
From the elementary school system all the way up through college, social media has become a critically important aspect of marketing and communication. Deciding you’re going to implement a social media strategy in your school is the first step. But the second step is to understand how to use social media effectively.
Let’s highlight a few best practices to get you started.
- Set Social Media Guidelines
Before you ever even think about posting or interacting with people on social media, your school needs a concrete set of guidelines and policies to follow. Only select individuals should be allowed to post and they must adhere to specific rules that regulate what, when, and how they post.
In the early days, you should require every post needs to go through at least two individuals. By having a second set of eyes review the content, you can not only check for grammatical errors, but you can also expose language and ideas that may be considered offensive to your audience.
- Develop Shareable Content
At the heart of social media is the process of sharing content and using that content to garner views and generate traffic back to your website. As you invest in content, make sure you’re producing high returning formats.
List posts – such as this one from Learn and Play Montessori School – do exceptionally well. People also like photo blogs, videos, and infographics. As a rule of thumb, the more visual a piece of content is, the better it will perform.
- Never Engage in Fights
Few things are more unbecoming than getting in virtual spats over social media – especially if it involves a student or parent. It’s almost impossible to come out of a fight looking better. You’ll either be exposed for doing something negative, or you’ll look like a bully. Neither are good looks for a school that’s supposed to be empowering today’s youth.
- Be Careful About Posting Photos
As noted, images perform well on social media. In fact, some of today’s leading platforms – such as Periscope, Vine, Instagram, and Snapchat – are based solely on images and video. With that being said, be very cautious about posting photos.
Depending on the age of the children, where your school is located, and a variety of other factors, it may actually be illegal for you to post images of students without written consent. Be mindful and include photo policies in your social media guidelines.
- Establish Parent Groups
One of the best things you can do is establish parent groups for each grade level at your school. This creates some semblance of a virtual community and allows parents to freely communicate with each other. You should, however, make sure you also have some teachers in the group. This allows you to stay abreast of what’s being discussed and shoot down any rumors that are untrue.
Use Social Media the Right Way
There are right and wrong ways to use social media. As you probably know from studying the mistakes of those who’ve gone before you, mistakes and errors are exacerbated on social media. The highly visible nature of the platform makes it easy for word to spread quickly. However, the opposite is also true.
Do things the right way and you’ll discover that social media can be your greatest ally.