Social media management in schools #1

This is the first of a series of posts I plan to create for social media managers in schools. This one focuses on my social media channel of choice, Twitter. I hope it will be of use to people who run school Twitter accounts and provide a source of ideas for how to gain some traction in the Twittersphere.

  1. My first piece of advice would be to recognize that, done well, your role will cut-across multiple areas of school life. Teachers in schools - particularly in independent settings - are expected to be Eierlegende Wollmilchsau; you should embrace this approach too. Think about all the various facets of the school life (the diagram on this post is a useful starting point) and aim to give your followership a flavour of each. Study the calendar and plan your week to try and capture the essence what is going on by reporting on aspects of each area of school life.
  2. Connected to this, I'd encourage you to think big. If all your posts are of the 3rd XI hockey results your posts - no offence to the 3rd XI - are going to be dull for most people. You might get a little following of doting mums and dads, but that will be it. Intersperse domestic posts with posts that will have a wider appeal. Think: what is going on in your school that might get someone in, say, Chile excited? Go on, have a go - build up a engaged community somewhere totally random. The whole fun of Twitter is the serendipitous connections it facilitates.
  3. Avoid being 'broadcast only'. Nothing is more off-putting that being in a conversation with someone who speaks all the time, but never listens; so it is in the online world. Make every effort to actively engage with your audience - search out humour, be human. Here's the sort of thing that I mean. It raises a smile, offends no-one and keeps things fun:
  4. Use Tweetdeck and spend a good deal of time organising your various consituents into lists, to better keep and eye on what is going on. Here's my set up in TweetDeck to give you a flavour of how it can be used:
  5. Another great tool is Buffer. Even with the free version you can queue up a decent number of posts and drip feed your followers news throughout the day, even when you're not at your desk.
  6. The Holy Grail with Twitter is engagement. Posts with pictures get more engagement, tagged posts more still. Study the metrics; play the game.
  7. Spend a good deal of time trawling the blogosphere for material that might be of interest to your constituents. Use Feedly, or something similar, to curate your favourite blogs. Share widely, try to be helpful - after all, what's the point in social media if it doesn't actually benefit your constituents? Here's the sort of thing I mean:
  8. Every so often do something wacky. Hide something in the school and offer a prize for finding it. Post some pictures of teachers' shoes and offer an early lunch pass to the first person to guess the owners correctly. Encourage parents to take selfies of themselves whilst they wait in the school car park... If you can think of something fun, that will up your engagement do it.
  9. Lastly, and most importantly, get out, prowl the corridors, the playing fields and the classrooms. Catch people doing interesting things; catch them doing normal things. Sitting at your desk should be a rarity - particularly if you have the luxury of being able to focus solely on social media in your role. Use the school calendar, but don't be hidebound by it. Social media is about speed and immediacy - no one is going to care if your photos are not picture-perfect.

Tag me in something, and I'll always respond. See you in the Twittersphere :-)

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