Everyone is talking about Facebook and Twitter and YouTube. If you aren’t taking advantage of those resources to tell your school’s stories – and to connect with students, parents, faculty, and alumni – you’re really missing out. Maybe you should go to social media bootcamp!
Administrators and some staff members at The Webb Schools in Claremont, California, recently attended a day-long social media bootcamp, and they’re glad they did.
“The days are gone where people will come to you for information. You have to be where they are, and they’re on social media,” Karen Bowman, the private school’s director of marketing and communications, told the San Bernadino Sun. [read more]
The school’s bootcamp was hosted by edSocialMedia, a company started as the natural evolution of four friends’ conversations about the direction of social media in schools.
Many of the bootcamps that edSocialMedia has led to date involved private schools where contact with potential students and alumni is crucial, said Jesse Bardo, director of edSocialMedia and a former admissions counselor and communications coordinator at Northfield Mount Hermon School. However, Bardo tells Education World, more and more public school systems are approaching the company about training their district leaders in the benefits of using social media to create connections with their wider school communities.
“What we are hearing is that not only are districts interested in facilitating better communication between their schools and parents, they’re also keenly focused on bringing social media technologies into the classroom to enhance and grow portfolio based learning,” said Peter Baron, an edSocial Media partner and founder of AdmissionsQuest.
GETTING STARTED WITH SOCIAL MEDIA
“Social media happens every day, and it is happening with you or without you,” Bardo added. For those who are willing to jump in, he has some practical thoughts and tips:
Content is king. Using social media is not about Facebook or Twitter or YouTube. It is about the content you put up there. Nothing is going to happen if the content is not good.
Make connections and develop relationships. Creating good content is all about finding the right people willing to tell the right stories. Reach out and find those people on campus who are enthusiastic about social media and willing to share stories worth telling.
Don’t inundate. If you choose to use Facebook, post something new just three or four times a week. When you do post, be concise.
Show it rather than tell it. Whenever possible, let images – photos, art, or video – tell the story.
Don’t try to do it all. There are dozens of tools out there to help you connect with your wider school community. Instead of trying to use them all – YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Blogger, and the list goes on – and spreading yourself too thin, choose one form of social media and become good at it. Do what you do best and then branch out from there.
Involve your fans. It is vital to involve your fans if you hope to create an authentic reflection of – and buzz for – your your school! If you are able to create authenticity you will experience the “fireworks effect” – those little bursts of attention that follow after you send out the initial big plume.
Highlight all that’s good about your school. Just because the football team is having a great year doesn’t mean that every post should be about the football team. Do that and you’re missing a huge opportunity to connect with everyone else.
Make time for social media. Don’t think of social media responsibilities as “one more thing” on your plate that’s already piled high. Instead, think of it as simply adding one more short conversation to your day, except that this conversation is taking place online.
Don’t be afraid. You know you need to do this! Being afraid of social media just means you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to build enthusiasm within your school and engage people outside its walls.
Social Media Bootcamps
edSocialMedia’s full-day workshop provides an in-depth introduction to social media technology for school leaders and administrators, complete with an opportunity for them to create content and get their hands dirty.
Designing Your Social Media Strategy
Social media strategies are not “one size fits all.” This webinar explores how to utilize popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Flickr to build a successful social media strategy as unique as your school.
The Conversation Prism
This dramatic visual illustrates some of the social media tools that are available for use. The graphic is already out of date as new services evolve and emerge.