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Author Archives: Andrea Gribble

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Are Your Facebook Posts Reaching Fewer People? This Tip Will Help!

Are Your Facebook Posts Reaching Fewer People? This Tip Will Help!

It is getting tougher by the day to show up on people’s Facebook news feed.

This means that fewer eyes are seeing all the great things happening at your school.

NOOOOOOOO!

If you are confused by this idea – then I’m going to suggest you read this blog: Facebook Algorithm 101 for Schools: What is it and how does it work?

So with this reality, what can we do to increase our reach? How can we improve our algorithm ranking so that more people see the important things we share about our school?

Are Your Facebook Posts Reaching Fewer People? This Tip Will Help!I am an active podcast listener, and one of my favorite shows is Social Media Marketing with Michael Stelzner. I’ll turn it on in the car (the podcast app will play these shows for free), and learn all about social media. The content is geared toward businesses, but it can always be applied to schools, too.

I learn so much that I can apply to my school partners. And then, of course, my goal is to pass what I learn on to you.

In one episode with Dennis Vu, he was breaking down the algorithm calculation in terms that we can understand. For the full episode, you can listen here.

Are Your Facebook Posts Reaching Fewer People? This Tip Will Help!

Here is the cliff notes version. To reach more people, you have to score more points. When it comes to the algorithm, it breaks down like this:

  • 1 point – A like (or love or any reaction)
  • 7 points – A comment
  • 14 points – A share

So a share is 14 times more helpful than a like.

The more interaction on a post, the more people are going to see it. If post #1 has 100 likes, but zero comments or shares, their score would be:

  • 1 point X 100 Likes = 100

Compare this to post #2 that received 50 likes, 5 comments, and 20 shares, their score would be:

  • (1 point X 50 likes) + (7 points X 5 comments) + (14 points X 20 shares) = 350

OK – I know you don’t like doing math, but it’s easy to see, right? Post #2 is going to be seen by a lot more people because its total score is 350 versus the first post which scored only 100.

Even though the total number of interactions (100 likes) is more than the total number of interactions on post #2 (75 total of likes, comments and shares) – post #2 reached more people.

All interaction is not created equal!

So how can you use this to help your school’s Facebook page?

Let people know this scoring system! If your staff realizes that hitting the share button (which takes exactly the same amount of time as hitting the like button) will result in a better reach for your school, they’ll do it!

In the same way, you can share this knowledge with your PTO or PTA group, or other involved community members. They want to help the school – and interacting on social media is free and takes literally no time! They will be happy to help.

Last week, I took time to share a short Facebook Live post on this topic. Check it out here.

Are Your Facebook Posts Reaching Fewer People? This Tip Will Help!

So what do you think? Will this be helpful for your school? If it is, make sure you sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter so you never miss another tip!


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Rating Your Posts on Social Media

Rating Your Posts on Social Media

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…

Rating Your Posts on Social Media

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.

Rating Your Posts on Social Media

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.

Rating Your Posts on Social Media

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.

Rating Your Posts on Social Media

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.

Rating Your Posts on Social Media

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!
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  • 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.
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  • 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.


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What Can I Do About Unofficial School Facebook Pages?

What Can I Do About Unofficial School Facebook Pages?

So I’ve needed to write this blog for quite some time. This issue is facing many schools out there. Can you relate to this message from Matt?

I was hoping you could offer some advice and insight on School Facebook Pages. We eventually want to get all of our schools an official Facebook Page. My main question is about getting rid of or “claiming” unofficial pages (community pages that have been set up due to people checking in to the school). Facebook used to have an option that said “Is this your business?” and you could start the process of claiming that page. That option is not on the two pages I am trying to claim and I can’t for the life of me figure out how to go about that process.

Do we just create official pages and promote those and hope these just go away??

Oh Matt, how I wish I had the perfect step-by-step process to resolve this problem.

I don’t, but I’ll do my best to give you (and many other schools) some guidance.

First off, you are making social media a priority at your school. That is AWESOME!

But these other pages on Facebook look like they are official. It is confusing for Facebook users. And it’s tough because you have no idea who created them, who is currently running them, etc.

Let’s break this down. There are basically two types of pages that I’m going to talk about today. You have to take very different strategies to attempt to remove or claim them.

  1. Facebook created an unofficial page
  2. Another person created a page that represents your school

What Can I Do About Unofficial School Facebook Pages?

What Can I Do About Unofficial School Facebook Pages?
 

So why would Facebook create a page for your school automatically? Well, because people on Facebook have shown an interest in your school by checking in. Some pages have the option to claim the page as your “business” – which in our case is our school.

If you do have the option – you will likely have to upload a utility bill. See the photos below. I tried just merging it with a verified page, but it did not allow me to select it.

What Can I Do About Unofficial School Facebook Pages?

What Can I Do About Unofficial School Facebook Pages?

What Can I Do About Unofficial School Facebook Pages?
 

If you are unable to claim the page, the best thing to do is to promote your official page. Make it easy to find on your school website. Mention the customized URL everywhere you can at your school. I think main entrance signs are awesome (here is a blog on that). And here is another blog offering 16 ways to promote social media.

Now, what if another person started a page that looks like an official page for the school? This requires a different approach. The first option is to ask around within your school to see if anyone knows who started it. Many times it could have been started by a teacher several years earlier. That teacher may or may not still be working at your school. Simply reach out and let them know that you now have an official page, and hopefully they’ll delete the page.

If you don’t have any luck finding out who it is, you have to do some detective work! If the page accepts messages on the page, you can reach out with a nice message like this:

Hello! I located this page when searching for our school on Facebook. We now have an official Facebook page run by our school. We are excited to celebrate our students in a safe and compliant way. We are curious on who runs this page, and whether you would consider closing it so that our community is not confused on which school page is official. Thanks in advance for your help!

If they do not accept messages, you may be able to post on the page itself with a similar message as I suggested above. Falsely representing your school, using your logo, and sharing photos of your students are serious considerations for people running an unofficial page. You don’t want to threaten those things right away, but you can consider sharing them if you don’t receive a response.

You can also report the page. Trying to report it as the use of your intellectual property is tough, but you can try and follow the prompts. Sometimes these pages do have inappropriate content on them, so you can report it as such.

Facebook does not have a 1-800 number that you can call. The final strategy that could help for both types of pages is to report a problem. You’ll have to walk through a series of instructions provided by Facebook, but you should be able to share your concern with them. I cannot guarantee that it will be fixed, but I have had some schools report success!

What Can I Do About Unofficial School Facebook Pages?
 

Good luck – and please comment below if you have had success in closing unofficial pages for your school. Your advice may help others!


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Teacher & Staff Recruitment Using Social Media

Teacher & Staff Recruitment Using Social Media

It’s a competitive world out there!

If you are responsible for recruiting new teachers, paraprofessionals, custodial workers, bus drivers, principals and more – you know what I’m talking about.

It is tough to find qualified candidates in our schools today. So how can social media help?

Attract people who aren’t actively looking
The best candidates for your open positions are likely happily employed at another school or company. Since they are happy, they are not actively looking at your state-based posting website. They are also not looking at the local newspaper (come on, it is almost 2018).

With a simple social media post, you may catch the eye of someone who isn’t looking but may consider applying if they know about it! The best spot to share is Facebook, but Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn are great sites to use as well.


Teacher & Staff Recruitment Using Social Media

Most job placements happen through referrals
Referrals are the number one source of hire. Nothing is easier to share than a Facebook post or a Tweet. Everyone knows someone who might be looking for a job opportunity, and social media is just so simple.

Asking current staff members to share Facebook posts is also easy. It also makes your staff feel like they are part of the process!

Reach More People for Lower cost
Facebook has over 2 billion users. With your local paper is not seeing many eyes nowadays, social media provides an amazing opportunity to reach people.

And posting jobs on social media is completely FREE! You have the option of boosting posts as well. You can do it at a very effective rate (as little as $5 on Facebook). Facebook demographics allow you to pinpoint the target you are looking for, including age, education, interests and more. LinkedIn can do the same.

Facebook also has a special “Publish a Job Post” option that you can use. It is easy, free, and will be favored by Facebook’s algorithm!


Give prospects a glimpse at your school
Before anyone applies to work in your school, they are going to visit your website. Websites are an important hub of information for your district, but the place that the potential candidate is really going to get a feel for your “school culture” is on social media!

Build trust and transparency by consistently using social media to tell your school’s story. This is a critical piece to attracting top talent. Frequent classroom photos, videos, and celebrations from the school will showcase the amazing culture you have. By frequent, I mean several times each day. Posting just once a week to social media sites is not enough.

Some schools even use social media as part of the hiring process. Fall Creek has taped some job offers that were actually made by students to the new teachers, and then shared them on social media.

And once they are hired, you can give them a huge social media welcome to your community. New staff posts like this one from New Auburn give everyone a chance to see and send a message to the new person. This Facebook post reached over 6,100 people, had 187 reactions and 28 comments.


Teacher & Staff Recruitment Using Social Media

What Now?
Get creative with your hiring strategies! Great graphics, mixing in live video, building stories of current staff – all can be used to help recruit new talent.

Share with me!

How have you used social media to recruit new hires? I’d love to hear how it worked.


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Referendum Communication Guide

Referendum Communication Guide: A Guest Post from Dorreen Dembski

Communication with the public plays a pivotal role in any school district. It is the cornerstone of building relationships with your constituents. The true test of how well you are doing often is presented when you must go to ballot to ask your community for funds. Whether it is for operational or facility needs, you need to ensure the voters know why you need the money.

To share insight on this topic, I reached out to an experienced school communications professional, Dorreen Dembski. She has worked as a communication director for a large public school district and now helps consult with schools on various communication projects both large and small. She is recognized by the National School Public Relations Association as a legacy leader and has earned a reputation as a reliable, knowledgeable and passionate communication professional.

Dorreen Dembski
 

Dorreen shared:

A referendum communication plan should feel more like a special news bulletin within your community, rather than the only news your district shares. Schools and their employees, as public entities, cannot promote or discourage voters to be for or against a referendum. The role of communication before a referendum vote is to inform and educate about the needs of the district and the proposed solutions presented in the referendum.

Long before a referendum, a strategic organizational communication plan should establish well-worn communication paths between your school district and your stakeholders. Then, when a referendum comes onto the scene, the pre-referendum information is a special topic plan within an overall strategy.

Every communication plan, including referendum communication plans, has four key components. Let’s apply the RACE formula to a referendum communication plan.

RACE Infograph

Research (R)
Community engagement: surveys, face-to-face advisory committees, community conversations.
About a year in advance of a referendum on the ballot, begin with community engagement. What may seem like obvious needs to district leaders – new roofs, maintenance needs, and operating funds for programming – are not at all obvious to the general public. Community engagement, at its core, builds awareness and collects feedback about potential projects. This engagement should help establish mutual understanding between key school decision-makers and the public about viewpoints, potential questions, and priorities. There is a skill to effective and authentic community engagement, so seek professional advice. Many districts use surveys. I believe face-to-face opportunities, such as advisory committees, are very effective, too. Remember to include all your stakeholders – staff, parents, community members at large, business owners or representatives, and other elected officials – in outreach efforts.

Analyze (A)
Identify the priorities of your stakeholders.
Try to discover the community’s priorities through careful and objective analysis of the survey results and/or outcomes of face-to-face meetings. Good listening is required. If you’re open to listening objectively, well done community engagement will tell you the community’s priorities for your district, and what community members are willing to support for your schools. Listening isn’t easy or quick and when you truly listen, you may change your mind. However, listening is essential to finding a referendum proposal that addresses the community’s priorities.

Communicate (C)
Formulate and implement a tactical plan to deliver the key messages.
This is where some districts jump into pre-referendum communication. Actually, this is the third step. Use your research and analysis develop an effective communication plan.

  1. Develop key, consistent messages. Once the referendum resolution has been decided, communicate how the projects and their components present solutions for the district’s needs, addresses community priorities, and present an educational value to the community. (All staff and leaders need to speak the same language so involve and inform staff of the solutions, too!)
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  3. Identify the many channels of communication you will use.
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    • Fact sheet: A fact sheet grounds the key messages into one single document.
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    • Website: Dedicate a section of the website to store all the materials for a voter.
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    • Social media plan: Ideas for social media posts include “Did you know” posts about your referendum needs and solutions; announcements of where to find information; pictures – lots and lots of pictures; answers to frequently asked questions.
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    • Videos: Think about how to incorporate short videos into your overall and social media plan.
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    • Other communication tools: E-newsletters, print flyers, mailers, information open houses, presentation boards and posters, frequently asked questions, and an email address where the public can submit questions are all helpful. All communication tools are integrated into an overall calendar and used to organize and implement your communication plan.

     

  4. Deliver your key messages through various communication channels.
    A communication plan will have many prongs because of the diverse communication tools used by your diverse audiences. Think carefully about all stakeholders in your community and how to best reach them. Carefully implement the plan.

 

Evaluate (E)
Just as you might taste-test a soup while it simmers on the stove, and add a few ingredients to improve it; so too it is important to regularly evaluate the communication plan as it is being implemented. Has a pattern of questions emerged in the community that were not on your radar? How will you proactively provide the answers via social media or your print campaign? Evaluation of the communication plan is ongoing and adjustments may be necessary.

In the end, a referendum is a special topic communication plan within your organizational communication strategy. Like all communication plans it follows the RACE formula – research, analysis, communicate, evaluate. Remember – your purpose is to inform the public, so simple language and transparency is key.


Levies & Communication For Schools

For more information on Dorreen, please visit www.ddcommunicationservices.com.

Also, check out this free webinar that dicusses referendums and how social media can play a pivotal role.

 


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Why you need ONE district-wide Facebook page

Why You Need ONE District-wide Facebook Page

The debate is real!

When it comes to school communication and social media – should your district have one district-wide Facebook page, or should each school have its own page? Or should you try to manage a district account plus all of the individual schools?

I know I have opposition out there, but today I’m going to make a case for the district-wide Facebook page approach. Please note that I am only talking about Facebook here. Twitter and Instagram – go crazy with more pages (if you’re comfortable with that). This blog is just about Facebook.

Now I may be biased because I got my start in a small K-12 school with only 325 students. When you talk about district versus schools, well, there is only one school! One wing has elementary (K-6) and the other wing has 7-12.

Why you need ONE district-wide Facebook page

But since I started with that small school in Wisconsin, I’ve grown to work with schools up to 11,000 in enrollment. My advice is to always create that strong district presence with one Facebook page first, and here are 10 reasons why:

Why you need ONE district-wide Facebook page

    • One page builds a consistent district brand. One message, one hashtag, one story, one family. Ideally, all communication from your district should have a similar message, look, logo, colors, etc. This obviously extends to your Facebook page.

 

    • One page builds district pride! The momentum builds and once it’s started, it truly is a force to watch.

 

    • District Pride easily translates to community engagement and community pride. You can measure engagement on your Facebook page.

 

Why you need ONE district-wide Facebook page

 

    • One message on a central page eliminates confusion and provides consistent communication with families and the community. Just think of the nightmare a snow day could cause if notifying parents means posting to multiple pages……

 

    • The Facebook algorithm – it’s real! There is competition out there and your school pages are trying to grab the attention of your community. If you have multiple pages, they are competing against each other. If you only post once per day on each school page, then why not combine those onto one page and get 3-5 posts out per day? If you don’t understand the FB algorithm, check out my two blog series on the topic. Part 1: What is it and how does it work? Part 2: 11 Ways to Improve Your Reach

 

 

    • Many parents have children in multiple schools. They want to stay up to date on all events and happenings, not just those of one school. And worst yet – if one school does a “better” job of posting on Facebook than another (frequent updates, reminders, videos & more) it creates a negative feeling toward the other school.

     

     

    • These parents and families “age up”; they transition from elementary school to middle school and eventually high school. One stop shopping is imperative. A district-wide page ensures that families “stay in the know” throughout their years in your district. If I have a kindergarten child, why wouldn’t I want to see the amazing opportunities available in high school? Trust me (I’m a Mom of 6) – parents are thinking that far ahead.

     

     

    • Merging existing pages into one district-wide page is simple and requires nothing on the part of the fan. Your fans stay the same, just the look and name of the page changes. Want to know how to do it? Check out this blog.

     

     

    • One district page with a few people posting (or better yet, #SocialSchool4EDU) takes the pressure off of schools, secretaries, tech support people, and administrators. Put someone in charge and make it a priority! Use the tools and tricks Andrea shares weekly in her blog. Sign up for that here.

     

     

    Why you need ONE district-wide Facebook page

    • One interesting byproduct of a district wide Facebook page, and more importantly, telling your district’s story in a consistent and positive manner, is teacher (staff) buy in. Teaching is a busy profession and many times teachers rarely have a moment to see what their colleagues are doing, especially in other schools. District pride amongst staff pays off big time! It builds morale, it builds trust and turns the tide of a what can be a negative work atmosphere.

     

     

    A district-wide Facebook page is just good business! Let #SocialSchool4EDU help you tell your story, a story that begins with one page. You can reach out to me at andrea@socialschool4edu.com for more information!

     


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Facebook Live Contributors for Your School

Facebook Live Contributors for Your School

Facebook Live is so HOT right now!

It has never been easier to broadcast live, and schools across the world have seen the positive impact it can have. Check out this live book reading Chippewa Falls did the night before school started:

Facebook Live Contributors for your School

The stats on this post speak for themselves.
72 comments
Reached 7,200
172 reactions
27 Shares

Facebook Live Contributors for your School

But how can you use it more this school year when only a few people within your school are Facebook page administrators?

Well, Facebook now allows you to assign people as Facebook Live contributors. This means that they can go live from their own Facebook account, without the ability to post or edit other content on the FB page.

Facebook Live Contributors for your School
Once a contributor, that user will see the option to “Go Live” when they access your school’s Facebook page.

Facebook Live Contributors for your School
 

Facebook Live Contributors for your SchoolIf the new contributor needs a little more instruction on what to do now, here is a short video that will help explain things for them. And we even created this handy little checklist! We broke down what you need to think about a week before, minutes before, and during the taping.

Grab the checklist here!

Do you have a successful Facebook Live post from your school? I’d love to hear about it! Comment below.

 


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What’s the Story Behind #SocialSchool4EDU?

What’s the Story Behind #SocialSchool4EDU?

“What a great idea!”

That is a frequent response I get after explaining my business model that helps schools use social media.

And I wish I could say that it was a well designed plan, but…

It is quite by accident that I’m talking with you today.

What seemed like the absolute worst news back in 2013 turned into the absolute biggest blessing of my life.

So if you want to learn the “behind the scenes” story about how #SocialSchool4EDU came to be, check out this awesome article from University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (my alma mater).

The power of social: Blugold grad takes social media to education.

What’s the Story Behind #SocialSchool4EDU?


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7 Mistakes You’re STILL Making with Social Media - (And Easy Ways to Fix Them!)

7 Mistakes You’re STILL Making with Social Media – (And Easy Ways to Fix Them!)

I’m on a mission to help schools tell their story using social media.

After working with schools for 3 ½ years, I’ve learned a lot. I share what I learn each week here on my blog. I hope you’ve tuned in for a while, enjoying the 100+ articles on topics from Facebook to Twitter to Social Media Policy and more.

Last week, I was preparing for a discussion with a group of schools in Wisconsin. When I talk to a new group, I always take time to review their current social media pages to get an understanding of where they are at in their journey.

I saw a mix of results for the dozen schools. Lots of great things, but more of the basics that just aren’t being done right.

I guess sometimes I think that the people I talk to have been on this journey as long as I have – and that they’ve read every article I’ve ever published… Well, they didn’t because I shared this article on the 5 Biggest Mistakes for Schools Using Social Media nearly 2 years ago.

Since many of these mistakes are still being made – I want to take a minute to help. Whether you are new to social media, or have been doing it for a few years, check your channels to see how you’re doing when it comes to these seven mistakes I see a little too often.

And if you want a bit more help – check out this free webinar I have coming up on Wednesday, September 6th. I’ll be going LIVE at noon and 8 pm EST to share Social Media 101. You have to sign up – so register here.

OK – back to those 7 mistakes:

  1. Posting with no image
    Our CIO, Heidi Feller, once said that “Posting without an image is like opening the front door of a school and yelling out an announcement.” No one is going to see it. You have to stand out in the newsfeed – and text only updates do not get seen. Create some standard images that can be used when you don’t have an adorable photo handy.
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    7 Mistakes You’re STILL Making with Social Media - (And Easy Ways to Fix Them!)

  3. Not having a school hashtag
    I was just in a room full of school leaders, and when I asked them to raise their hand if they had a school hashtag, only 25% of the people raised their hand. You are missing out on great stories happening in your schools if you don’t have a hashtag! If you need more information on the why, what and how of hashtags, read this article.
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    #HASHTAG Questions: Answers for Schools

  5. Kids as your profile photo
    Schools should use their logo as their profile photo, not an image of students or staff. You want to differentiate yourself in the newsfeed from personal pages – and your logo will help you stand out. In the image below, the eagle logo is the profile photo. The photo collage is the cover photo.
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    7 Mistakes You’re STILL Making with Social Media - (And Easy Ways to Fix Them!)

     
    7 Mistakes You’re STILL Making with Social Media - (And Easy Ways to Fix Them!)

  7. Keeping Facebook Reviews visible
    The reviews on Facebook do not have to be shown on your page. I just saw a school who had a rating of 2.4. Yikes! I’m sure they have a great school, but a few disgruntled people out there can ruin your score. And you can’t hide or delete written reviews. In Facebook, you can go into settings and edit page to turn the reviews off.
  8.  

  9. Not customizing your Facebook URL
    Make it easier for people to find you on Facebook by customizing your URL. You do it by creating a username – click on the area right underneath your name to the left of the page.
  10.  
    7 Mistakes You’re STILL Making with Social Media - (And Easy Ways to Fix Them!)

  11. Cover photo – outdated or just your school building
    The cover photo used on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube is prime real estate when it comes to branding your school. If you still have 2017 graduates – you need to update it to focus on the current school year. My biggest pet peeve is just using a photo of your school building. Jazz it up to provide a feeling, like this one from Rockford Area School District in Minnesota. If you’re interested in getting some graphics help, #SocialSchool4EDU can help. Check out the prices here.
  12.  
    7 Mistakes You’re STILL Making with Social Media - (And Easy Ways to Fix Them!)

  13. Not utilizing Facebook Live
    Reaching your audience with live video coverage has never been easier. The best thing is, Facebook really favors FB Live – so it will be seen by your followers! And you can use it to get them involved. Check out the example below from Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD in Texas. You can get your staff involved by assigning FB Live contributors. Not sure how to do that? Stay tuned for my blog next week and I’ll explain it in detail!
  14.  

    7 Mistakes You’re STILL Making with Social Media - (And Easy Ways to Fix Them!)

There you go! If you were 7 for 7 on these items – you might be a school social media pro. If you feel like you need more of the basics covered, check out this free webinar!
 

 


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Hayward Community School District

Telling Our Story #LikeACane

Guest post by Superintendent Craig Olson

Even schools that do a great job with communication have room for improvement. I thought our school was cutting edge with how we communicated information to parents and members of the community, until we added social media. Through the use of social media, we have made a huge improvement in how we are branding our school district, and I thought we were going a great job of it before.

Hayward Superintendent Craig OlsonSetting a Strategy
Prior to making social media a priority in our school, we had no strategy at all. We didn’t have time and it wasn’t at the top of our list. We did as well as we could with the tools we had, but I was giving a half-hearted effort to something I half-heartedly knew something about.

A school social media expert had approached me about having her company manage our social platforms, but even then, I didn’t think we needed help. I thought, “Thanks for the idea; we can do that.”

Eventually, I realized we weren’t doing it! Without a plan, it ended up on the someday list every time other tasks took priority. The solution for creating a strategy for our school was to hire #SocialSchool4EDU, a company that would take care of managing everything for us. We were able to fund the program with donations from our community, which has been a wonderful solution for us. Other schools have a designated staff person who is the social media strategist. Either way, having a strategy and a plan of action is key.

Getting the Stakeholders on Board
The school board, teachers, administration, parents and students are all stakeholders when it comes to communication in your school. Our students have been excited about the addition of social media. It gives them a stage to share all of the positive and fun things they do and they enjoy seeing the interaction from people in the community.

I was worried about whether or not our staff would provide enough content for posts, but they have come through in a big way. As with the students, this is another platform for them to showcase what they are doing well. It gives them a voice in the community.

Our biggest impact has been in the community. Parents love that we have upped our game and they are positive about the way we communicate with them. Community members who don’t have students in the school can also interact with the students in our school through social media.

Hayward Community School District

Hayward Community School DistrictEngaging the Community
We are the Hurricanes, and we have a saying that has been used for years—”like a cane.” It means doing your best every day. Around our community we see more than 150 banners with “Like a Cane” on them. Businesses and organizations have joined in the campaign to do their best. Now the campaign has transformed into our district hashtag #LikeACane! We incorporate that message into everything: Speak like a cane at our school board meetings. Collect data like a cane when we present. Study like a cane for a test. Talk like a cane with our peers.

Through our district hashtag, and consistent sharing of engaging pictures, video and other posts, we are hearing positive feedback all over our community. And, we have the Facebook data to back up the increase in engagement as well.

Hayward Community School District

 

Hayward Community School District

Reaping the Results of Greatness
I thought using social media would be a bonus on top of all that we are already doing. I used to think it didn’t matter all that much if we added one more thing to the mix. I didn’t realize until we jumped in that it was a need more than a want. I never anticipated the impact that it was going to have.

Hayward Community School DistrictBranding and marketing is important! I have been speaking on this for years and sharing about all of the efforts we have launched in our district, but I was missing this one piece. Social media is foundational in the way we communicate because it is so engaging. We can tell our story, and we can get feedback from others. It is a listening channel. If you’re overwhelmed and aren’t sure how you can take on one more thing, I encourage you to partner with someone who can take your school from great to even greater. However you decide to get started, do it #LikeACane!

Craig Olson is superintendent of Hayward Community School District in Hayward, Wis., home of the Hurricanes. Craig has been with Hayward for 17 years, and has been superintendent for the last seven. His team has worked hard to develop a community outreach program with their “Like a Cane” campaign.

E-mail: colson@hayward.k12.wi.us.
Follow the school on Facebook @HaywardSchool.