When it comes to social media, you definitely have to think about working SMARTER, not harder! There is so much to manage and get posted in a timely manner. If you are in communications, enrollment management, advancement or admissions and you are feeling overwhelmed by social media at your school, this episode will help!
Jaclyn Day, Director of Marketing and Communications at RenWeb School Management Software, answers these 5 questions:
What tools can schools use to manage their social media profiles more easily?
Where should schools focus their energy first?
How can schools generate content for social media accounts if just one person at the school is responsible for updating and monitoring all of them?
What are some ways to make social media and inbound marketing actually pay off for a school?
How can schools get ahead of their competitors by using social media accounts or creating a content strategy for them?
Jaclyn Day is the Director of Marketing and Communications for RenWeb School Management Software. She oversees the brand’s editorial and visual strategy, coordinates all internal and external communications, and oversees digital/social content and engagement. Prior to joining RenWeb in 2009, she worked in Washington, DC, focusing on public relations that specialized in public affairs, digital strategy and corporate messaging. Jaclyn is passionate about social media and inbound marketing and how they relate to corporate communication in the digital age. After Jaclyn joined RenWeb, she developed a successful social media strategy from scratch and revamped internal and external marketing communications. Jaclyn received her Bachelor of Arts in Public Communication with a concentration in Public Relations from Washington Adventist University. She still lives and works in the Washington, DC area.
GUEST POST FROM Chris K. Syme(@cksyme) – Chris is the founder of CKSyme Media Group, working in digital/social strategy & crisis PR.
Chris has updated her book “Practice Safe Social” and I am happy to share this resource with you so you can keep your students, parents, coaches and staff savvy and safe on social media!
Practice Safe Social 2.0 by Chris Syme
We’ve come a long way from the days where school meant reading, writing, and rithmetic. Today’s classroom is bursting with technology and the pressure on teachers to learn how to use that technology grows everyday. One of the hot button issues in today’s classroom is whether or not to incorporate social media into the curriculum. But before we can do that, we need to define a standard of responsibility. How do we teach teens to use social media responsibly? Where do we start? Or do we even start?
Practice Safe Social 2.0is a good place to start. This blueprint includes all the necessary components that educators need to teach the responsible use of social media. And that’s where we start. Incorporating social media into the curriculum without teaching its responsible use is an ultimate fail. It’s like handing over the keys of a brand new car to a 13-year-old without any driver’s training. Practice Safe Social 2.0 is an updated version of my original training manual written in 2013. It includes specific instructions on how to put together a training for students, staff, coaches, and even parents. I have made the book free for the month of June and I encourage you to download a copy. In the book, I address the four necessary modules that training should include:
Privacy and safety: Users should know their privacy settings inside out. Every time they send out a picture or post, they should know exactly who will see it. They need to understand the importance of guarding their privacy and how to create an online community that is not public.
Best practices: Privacy doesn’t mean you can break every rule behind the curtain. Social media users must have a base understanding that whatever they post on social media is permanent and can be accessed by the public. There are guidelines for how to use screenshots tastefully.
Building a personal brand on social media: This module is most important for staff and older students. I don’t recommend this information in depth for middle school kids. Understanding how to build a positive presence on social media is important. Whether we are vying for scholarships or a new job, our social media is now part of our resumé.
Cyber harassment: Social media users need to understand two basic things about the four types of cyber harassment: how to lower your risk of being a victim and how to report and document it when you are harassed online. This goes as much for adults in the workplace as it does for students.
Chris Syme (Twitter: @cksyme)
I love how practical Chris gets in this updated resource! You will want to get a copy of this for your entire staff. Social media is a powerful influence in our society today, both for good and for bad. Improper use or ignorance can embarrass, complicate or even worse, ruin a student’s life. They must be smart on social media – and you can help them do just that!
When I am looking to optimize my content management strategy, productivity is important.
In our online content strategy, I am looking for content that is valuable to you (our audience), inspirational, insightful and instructional. When I am not creating content on our website or School Marketing Podcast, I curate content from around the web. I discover resourceful articles via:
Twitter (I use Hootsuite to management this application; also love the way I can set up streams of specific content that I am searching for; basically whenever someone tweets content with my identified keywords, it automatically show up in the pre-set stream)
Pinterest (I rarely look at recipes or decorating tips, but I love this tool for searching for great ideas for schools – we have over 60 boards and close to a 1000 pins….all to help you market your school).
Facebook (while I love Facebook for connecting with friends, I also find it a gold mine for great content).
Regarding the latter, here are 2 videos that show you how I use these two productivity tips on sharing great content that I find when I am on Facebook.
I’m excited to have been asked to be the instructor for “Setting Up for Social Media Success” via Strengthening Christian Schools Classes. This 4-week course will ensure churches, ministries and Christian schools install an effective social media system. These virtual sessions will be conducted on Monday nights, 7pm CT, on May 4, 11 and June 1, 15. Each class will last about 60 minutes.
SESSION 1: Essential elements of a social media system
In the first session, we will example the essential elements of a social media system, learning how to develop the right kind of content that ensures consistent engagement.
SESSION 2: How to choose the best tools, channels and platforms to use for your audience
In session two, you will learn how to choose the best tools, channels and social media platforms to use for your audience (members, donors, parents, AND prospects).
SESSION 3: How Christian Schools/Ministries should be using Facebook (and why it is still the best tool)
In session three, we get very practical and discuss how to use your Facebook page to communicate to current members/families as well as showcase evidence to prospectives.
SESSION 4: Visual Content Strategy
In session four, we will explore having a powerful visual content strategy on social media. We will examine best practices for how churches, ministries and Christian schools can use photos and videos on Instagram, Pinterest, Vimeo/YouTube and even Facebook and Twitter.
While Twitter and especially Instagram occupy the mobile devices of most of your young students and young families, most Christian school marketers still need to reach their audience through the most common network: Facebook.
Of course if you are at all familiar with Facebook, you know their algorithm changes often and lately, your posts are definitely not reaching 100% of the people who have liked your page. If you’re an admin of your Facebook Page, you probably see your actual reach significantly lower than the number of likes on your page. Discouraging, but reality. (On a side note, consider increasing high quality, shareable, remarkable content that your audience will like, comment and share. If you are not getting this “triple play” on your posts, then consider changing up your content. In addition, boosting your posts will help also help extend the reach of your posts. You can set a budget and this can work well – not for every post, but on some important ones.)
Anyone can be added but they have to be added or invited by a member
Only current members can see who is in the group
Only current members can see what is posted in the group
Current members can get notifications when something is posted in group
Using a secret Facebook group for marketing your school
As the admissions/marketing/communication director, you (and you alone) should invite specific staff members or parent ambassadors to join this secret Facebook group. Invite a small group at first, so you can see how it works. Start small with trusted parents and staff who can be trusted.
Now, whenever your school’s Facebook page posts something, you should go to the group and make a posting about the new content. Encourage the group members to like, comment and share the new post that your school’s page just posted (if necessary, include the link to the post). Since the Facebook algorithm limits your reach, this ensures that your best ambassadors see the content.
Group members receive notifications for every group post (and these notifications serve as reminders, even a day or two later, to take action).
Not just on Facebook, but when there is a new review on GreatSchools.org, something new on Twitter or Instagram, you can alert your members to share the content. You can also send urgent notifications when there is a negative review on your Google page, hopefully spurring members to write a review themselves or call out to their cavalry of friends to post positive reviews (on GreatSchools.org, they are currently listing the latest 10 reviews, so you want to be diligent to get that negative review pushed to page 2 as quickly as possible; or at least pushed way down the page where it gets “lost” among so many positive reviews).
You can also use your Facebook group to alert members of other marketing-related activities….for example, signups for video testimony day (which I suggest you do).
As well, members of the group can post content or ask questions of the group (and while the discussion shows up in your news feed, it is not visible on anyone else’s feed). Perhaps an ambassador parent hears another mom at Starbucks talking about a great success story, then the members can alert the professional staff to contact that family to share their story on a video or in a new blog post. Or a parent sees a good article elsewhere on the web that would help your school marketing. If members wanted to collectively brainstorm about a new marketing campaign, this secret group would provide an easy forum for sharing without having to assemble the group in person (who’s got time for another meeting?)
Setting up a secret Facebook group of your school’s marketing professionals and parent ambassadors can give you a marketing army who can help you market your school even better!
In a recent post, Chris presents 5 tips to help parents navigate the world of social media here in 2014 (although I don’t usually like the date my articles, it is only fitting to affix a date to an article about social media so future readers will know from what year we are talking about an ever-changing landscape).
Establish boundaries and guidelines
Stay current on what’s going on in the social media world
Be aware of how social media is used for cyber harassment, and educate
Offer social media classes for parents and students at all ages