Social media is a growing part of school life, whether you enjoy using it or not. Being active on your social media platforms gives your school unparalleled access to parental engagement! We’ve spoken a lot about parental engagement before, it’s essential to build a strong relationship between home and school. If you want a more in-depth look then check out this blog post on Parental Engagement is not good enough! So how exactly can using social media improve your parental engagement?
Why Use Social Media?
Firstly we need to talk about why you should use social media in schools. With life having been a little strange over the last year, social media has played a vital role in keeping parents, students and schools connected. Social media is constantly evolving but always has one specific goal; to give information to your audience quickly and concisely. As of 2021, people spend on average 2 ½ hours on social media and there are currently 4.2 billion users on social media. Not only is it a powerful free marketing tool, but it’s also a great way to communicate with parents both current and prospective. By being on social media your school has the constant opportunity of being able to stand out and share everyday school life.
Engaging Parents on Social Media
Let’s take a look at how we can engage parents on social media. There is always a lot of information for parents to consume in regards to their child and school, so what’s the best way to do this? By using social media to its full advantage! This will 100% improve your parental engagement.
A good thing to do first is to always make sure you link to your social media channels on your website and on any communication that you send out to parents. This makes them aware that you are on social media. Next, you need to identify what social platforms parents are on, is this Twitter or Facebook. Once you’ve done your research you can then start to create a social media strategy, planning the content, how often you’re going to post and who is going to be in charge of your social media accounts. This might seem like a lot of work but it’s necessary to improve your parental engagement.
Content is key! You need to share content that gets seen, this means posting visual content. It’s no surprise that video is the no.1 way to capture your audience’s attention, this can be a professional video or even a photo compilation from an open day or school event. A really great tip is to pin this video on your Twitter page, this means it always shows up at the top of your profile or add the video to the header section on your Facebook page.
Professional photos aren’t just for your school website, they’re excellent content for social media. A quick tip, the next time you get your professional school photos get the photographer to take some candid shots as well. These are always great to post on social media and they’re way more natural. Your photos tell the story of school life so always get as much content as you can. If you're interested in new school photos or even a video day, we have an amazing offer just for you so email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more!
When sharing everyday school life think about what your audience wants to see. Your audience is mainly parents so share the awesome things their kids get up to. Do you have a class that’s baking today? Take some fun pictures of how messy it can get. Is it a gorgeous sunny day and some kids are gardening. Take a picture. Photos don’t have to be professionally taken for them to be enjoyed on social media.
Other great visual content are infographics, these are easy to create and a great way to share helpful tips for your students and their parents. For example, when exam season is coming up you can share tips on how to study. This is why a social media strategy is so important because you can plan out this type of content and provide really valuable information to your audience.
There is obviously some content that you can’t plan for, like an unexpected school closure but if you create a bank of resources then you’ll always have a stack of visuals to use at the drop of a hat. Canva is a completely free tool that you can use to create some really amazing graphics for your school’s social media.
All you need to do to engage parents on social media is be consistent! If you’re posting regularly and your content is good then your parental engagement is going to improve.
Not on Social Media?
I have seen some schools that aren’t on any social media platforms, all I can say is that you’re letting down your school’s brand.
If you sat there thinking, “yes this is my school”, then don’t panic it’s an easy problem to solve. Now yes there are many different social media platforms out there, but not all of them are going to be useful to your school. Do your research, find out the platforms your audience is active on. If you can’t get this information then, I would recommend starting out with Twitter, it’s simple to use and generates a lot of reach within the education community. This also looks great when you link your Twitter account to your website.
Need some inspiration, check out these schools using social media well!
Carr Hill High School
A brilliant example of a school using social media well is Carr Hill High School, not only do they use Facebook and Twitter but also Instagram and YouTube. They post consistently across all platforms, use some great graphics to engage their audience and tailor their content to each specific platform.
The Joseph Rowntree School
An example of a school using only one social media platform but doing it really well is The Joseph Rowntree School. This school has clearly thought about where their audience is and decided that Twitter is where their resources are best spent. They post regular content, whether this is school updates or sharing their students' success, as well as posting engaging graphics.
Remember you don’t need to use every social media platform out there, use the ones that are best for your school and make sure you have the capability to manage them well.