Random thoughts (or not so random thoughts) for school district social media use …
Some of these guidelines have been learned the hard way, others have been through trial and error, and some guidelines I just lucked in to. Here they are in no particular order:
Social media is a communication tool. Remember that. This is just one more way to talk to people - but in a public setting. And guess what? They can talk back - but in a public setting.
Think about everything you post. Take a moment before you press send. Maybe think twice. OK, think three times. My 4th grade teacher Sr. St. Catherine said to my class “Everything you write is a permanent record of your professionalism”. Wow! Doesn’t that hit home when we think about using social media?
Develop a social media schedule. Put together a timetable when you’re going to post. Are you posting after hours? How about weekends? Think of the ramifications. Even though it’s a 24/7 world, do you want to be on call 24/7?
Quality vs. Quantity. Who cares how many tweets you’ve tweeted. Are they significant ones? Are they ones that send a message?
Be selective about who you follow. A campus or district account is a corporate account. If you’re in charge of the campus or district social media account, only follow other district corporate accounts and trusted educational organizations. Never follow personal accounts, even if those personal accounts are educator accounts. Why? Our corporate accounts can been perceived as an endorsement of an individual.
Anticipate issues. Are you prepared for any negative feedback? Do you have all the answers?
Don’t use school district SM as your personal platform. School district social media should be school district social media. Make sure the stuff you are posting reflects the school district’s goals and objectives, not yours.
Take advantage of your friends. Don’t be the first to respond to a negative comment. Lay back. That’s what friends are for. Remember that if you answer too quickly to a negative comment, you are validating that comment.
Re-purpose your content. You’ve already created a bunch of stuff. Maybe you have written letters and releases for the web. Why re-invent the wheel? Look for SM avenues that your stuff can be posted to. Remember not everything you create in the traditional marketing world should be used in the social media world.
Situational awareness. Be aware of what is happening around you. How will your actions impact your goals and objectives?
Don’t be a pain to your followers. Sometimes you can post too often.
Widgets. If you are going to add widgets and buttons, make sure they work. There is nothing more frustrating then clicking a dead link.
Visit corporate and public sector SM sites often. Get your ideas from others. See what works and what doesn’t.
Followers. Treat your followers with respect. Give them pertinent information. Interact with them.
# of followers. School district “A” has 350 followers and school district “B” down the road has more than 1,500. Who cares?
FERPA. Yes, you still have to follow the law even when posting on Twitter or Facebook.
HIPAA. See above.
Have fun. But not too much fun. Save the pictures of you at the beach or having fun at the pizza joint for your personal account.
Watch the acronyms. ISD is appropriate. LMAO is not.