There’s no escaping the fact that social media plays a significant role in modern life. However, weighing up the pros and cons of adopting social media into your school’s marketing and communication endeavours can leave you feeling even more confused than trying to teach trigonometry in a cover lesson.
It certainly isn’t a choice that should be taken lightly, but this guide should help you reach a decision.
The Benefits Of Social Media For Schools
Before even thinking about the adoption of social media, you need to consider the benefits and decide whether they’re really worth it. After all, all headteachers have been guilty of adopting a new trend only to realise it’s about as useful as the broken microwave sitting in the staff room.
Social media does boast several key selling points, including:
It’s (largely) free: Value for money is a key ingredient in the recipe for success. Setting up accounts on most social media platforms is free while even paid advertising is usually very affordable compared to traditional ad campaigns.
Instant communication: Anything you post on social media reaches the audience immediately. While this can certainly have some negative issues, the ability to inform people of updates or issues in an instant is largely beneficial.
It’s modern: No headteacher wants their school to be left behind. Given the importance of social media to students, parents, and teachers alike, it makes sense to adopt it. This instantly gives you an edge over those that don’t.
Social media is a modern tool that can be used to great effect. However, it’s important to use it in the correct way.
The Best Uses For Social Media In School
If the school is planning to utilise social media, it’s imperative that you do so in a manner that unlocks the full capabilities. Here are six of the best options available:
- Use social media for internal communications with the staff, as well as professional dialogues between staff and students.
- Use social media to update staff, students, and parents about upcoming events such as fundraisers, parents evenings, and AGMs.
- Use social media as an online newsletter to publish press releases to celebrate exam results, improvements to facilities, and related issues.
- Use social media to connect with local businesses to establish stronger connections that can prove to be mutually beneficial.
- Use social media as a social platform to generate support for sports teams, musicians, art students and performances.
- Use social media to ask parents and students for their opinions via votes, surveys, and related analysis tools.
Essentially, social media can be used to create smoother communications between everyone associated with the school while also boosting the school’s local reputation and status in a cost-efficient manner.
The Do’s & Don’ts Of Using Social Media
While social media can do some truly great things, every headteacher will be aware of the horror stories. Establishing a strong policy is vital, and these simple tips should allow you to do it.
Do – Make sure that the privacy settings on each social media platform are correct. While some posts are fine to go public, some items need to be for the staff, students, and parents only.
Don’t – Expect social media to be the only form of communication with parents. Yes, it’s (very) beneficial to avoid talking to moaning parents, but traditional forms are still essential. After all, not all parents will be on social media.
Do – Provide obligatory social media training for all teachers so that they know how to use social media (technically and responsibly). It’s also a good idea for students to be taught about the tool.
Don’t – Allow teachers to use their personal profiles to post the type of content some adults do. Parents might not be best pleased if their kids are seeing photos of teachers drunk at parties etc.
Do – Let students opt out of having their photos/details posted in updates about the school teams or achievements of students. Sending out a letter for all students and parents to sign is the best option.
Don’t – Post any overly sensitive information, even in a private space, as hackers could target school accounts before using the data in a malicious or fraudulent manner that could seriously harm the school’s reputation.
The Final Word
Social media isn’t a necessity, but it is a tool that can have a telling impact on the future of your school’s public and internal communications. Use it wisely, and you’ll wonder how you ever survived without it.