In recent years, social media accounts have become more and more important to schools, and have effectively become your mouthpiece for talking to the school community.
While they can’t replace a good parental engagement system and strategy, they are still an important part of school communications.
Every social media account should serve a purpose. If you have more than one account, think about goals and aims for each of them. If, for example, you use both Twitter and Facebook, think about what each platform does for your school.
Facebook helps you to engage more deeply with parents, whereas Twitter may be better for announcements because of its format (short messages). YouTube is also great for coverage of school events and for showing off your premises and facilities.
However you use your social media accounts, everything needs to be aligned and in sync. Push your branding across all platforms by adding school logos and colours and be proud of your school values.
You should aim for consistency in branding and messaging across all social platforms. Don’t just focus on a single channel, post on them all equally.
Plan ahead and think about what you’re going to be posting for the next few weeks. You don’t need to be rigid – who knows what may come up in the meantime? However, a rough plan of important events that are coming up will help you to stay on top of your social accounts.
If you have social media-friendly engagement software, you can even plot posts across all your channels ahead of time, making it easy to stay on top of.
Be a team
If you’re in a trust, why not spread good news from your sister schools? A simple retweet or share can go a long way to showing your solidarity and can help parents to see the positive impact that your trust has on children’s education.
Get your social media handles out there and get parents to follow your channels. You should treat social media as just another way to contact parents and tell them important school news, so the more parents you can get to follow you, the better.
Pin social media handles up around school, add them to letterheads, and even send letters and messages home to get parents involved.
Whenever we use photos and video content, we have great engagement levels (people liking, sharing and commenting on our posts). Parents want to see visual content and messages about their children’s school, so give the people what they want.
Make sure any images aren’t blurry and have a main focus, without a cluttered background.
Try not to fall into the mistake of uploading the same photo multiple times, as people will quickly tire with it.
Most importantly, always make sure you have consent before posting any photos of children and ensure there’s no confidential information in the shot.
If you upload your posts manually on each individual social platform, you could be wasting hours of time every week. This also leaves you with no way to plan ahead. We use specialist marketing software in-house at IRIS to manage our social media, but there’s also a social media management tool available to schools.
With PS Connect’s parental engagement tools, there’s a host of ways to contact parents, including text messaging, push messaging, and social media account management. If you’re interested in taking your parental engagement to the next level, visit the PS Connect website for more information.
Lauren Mulcahy is a social media executive at IRIS Software Group.