It’s basketball season. My husband, Bill, and I are volunteer basketball coaches for our kids. I help with 4th and 5th grade girls’ basketball and Bill, my husband, is a head 7th grade boy’s coach. Patience and a positive attitude go a long way!
We end up talking about coaching strategy quite a bit over these winter months (basketball season runs from early November until mid-March). When it’s cold in Minnesota and Wisconsin, what better place to be than in a gym?
Anyway, Bill was a talented player and is an effective leader for these young kids – and I find myself learning quite a bit from him. He recently shared a philosophy that I then applied to managing social media for schools.
First – the basketball strategy. We encourage players to shoot the ball. Obviously, the only way to win is to score more points than the other team. And the only way to score points is to shoot.
But not every shot is created equal. There are good shots, and there are bad shots.
Bill has a rating scale of 1-4 for shots. This has no direct correlation to whether the shot goes in or not. It’s just rating the shot selection itself.
- 4 – Great shot – you should take this every time you have this open.
- 3 – Pretty good shot – It wasn’t perfect as above, but it was a great attempt.
- 2 – Not a good shot – it may have been out of your range, you may have been too closely guarded – but it just wasn’t good.
- 1 – The shot was so bad that you’re going to be sitting on the bench. Imagine launching it from 3 feet behind the 3-point circle in the middle of the 1st quarter and someone was wide open under the bucket for an easy layup.
In a game, you want to take 3’s and 4’s. If you do that, your team has a greater chance to win.
Now as a coach, you’d think you would rate the players shots. But Bill doesn’t do that. He asks that each player rate their own shots.
He doesn’t ask them to rate every single shot out loud, but he may yell out after a great shot: “Tommy, what kind of shot was that?” Tommy will hopefully respond with, “That was a 4!”
And if a horrible shot is taken, Bill will ask again, and then Tommy will likely hang his head and say, “A 1 coach…”
The trick is, that with every shot, the player is thinking in terms of an easy rating scale. I want to take 3’s and 4’s. And I know if I take 1’s – I’m not going to be playing.
The other point is that just because you take 3’s & 4’s, it doesn’t mean that they will necessarily go in the basket. And sometimes those shots that will earn you a spot on the bench will score a bucket.
I’m sure you get the comparison to social media posts already, but I’ll elaborate with some examples.
A breakdown of the social media post rating scale would be:
4 – Awesome post! You have a great photo (or video), an engaging written post, and maybe even have some appropriate hashtags used. You might even have tagged another page to garner some additional attention. Here are some great examples that truly need no explanation.
3 – Pretty good post. When I think of a 3, I think you either have a slightly less than perfect photo but make up for it with a great story, or vice versa. You have a great photo but not the best caption to go with it. If you post a question and get a few comments, then I think that post can be rated a 3!
This story is the best – and it might be closer to a 4 rating than a 3, but the photos could possibly be just a bit better…
Every Thursday morning, it is so easy to share a #TBT photo. This one posed a question and we received many comments! If you want to add this feature on your school page, check out these helpful articles: The Power of a #ThrowbackThursday Photo and #TBT Guide – What to Look for in Yearbooks.
Teacher features also make great posts. You may not always have the best photos (it depends on what the teachers submit), but the stories usually reach a lot of people in your community.
2 – Not a great post. No hashtags, no excitement, pixelated photos…. Here are a couple of examples of mine:
This one is not even a complete sentence! I don’t use the school hashtag, nor an Earth Day hashtag. The photo isn’t awful – but the caption certainly is.
The next post is a Facebook Live invite to the craft fair. I get extra points because of the live video, but I don’t include the date of the event in the post. When inviting people to events, you want to add the date in the description. Remember, people may see the post in their newsfeed days after the actual time you posted the information. You can see in the comments how someone asked on Sunday if they craft fair was today. It wasn’t – it was Saturday only.
1 – Truly awful post. Misspellings, inappropriate photos, I really can’t even share direct examples of these types of posts. Why? Because they were deleted or changed so we wouldn’t be sitting on the bench!
Just for your pleasure, here are all examples that I have personally been responsible for. Luckily I don’t do this often (hey, after nearly 4 years, you are bound to have some mistakes):
- Sharing a photo for #TBT that had inappropriate physical anatomy drawn onto it with pencil (I don’t know how I didn’t see it before it went up). It was down in a matter of an hour after someone called the principal. Yikes!
- A 4K classroom photo with a child in the background sitting in their chair with their underwear completely showing (darn low rise pants for kids). I removed the photo after the parent of the child jokingly mentioned it. It wasn’t obvious, but you need to watch for those photo bombers or other background images.
- Captioning a photo with the wrong teacher’s name on it. That’s what happens when you receive photos with no descriptions and you try making them up yourself.
Will a 4 post always reach the most people on social media? No. Just like a 4 shot in basketball may not always go in. But that doesn’t mean we don’t try!
And if we are consistently posting 1’s – then we might not be around too long with our school. Our students and staff deserve better. You may need to schedule more time to do it right, grab more training on social media (my free webinars are a great resource), or involve more school staff to help in the efforts. Oh – and you can hire #SocialSchool4EDU too…
As social media managers for our schools, let’s shoot for 3’s & 4’s! With each post you share, think to yourself what you would rate it. If you are like me, you’ll start putting just a little more effort into developing a winning social media strategy!
Have posts that you have shared that are 4’s? Share them below with a link! We’d love to see some examples.