Social media has become a way of life. It’s where much of society meets and discusses life.
Students are there. Their families are there. Why shouldn’t schools and educators be there, too?
Some people are wary about it, but the truth is this: social media is a free, powerful, safe way to spread positive news about education. With a little bit of observing people that do it well, anyone can learn how to leverage social media for students’ benefit.
Want some examples of people who do it well? Look no further than Jason Markey, Joe Sanfelippo and Tony Sinanis. They’re two principals and a superintendent that have spread the good news from their districts far and wide.
- Jason Markey, principal, Leyden High School District 242, Chicago, Ill. (#LeydenPride / @JasonMMarkey)
- Joe Sanfelippo, superintendent, Fall Creek School District, Fall Creek, Wis. (#GoCrickets / @Joesanfelippofc)
- Tony Sinanis, principal, Cantiague Elementary School, Jericho, NY (#Cantiague / @TonySinanis)
Note: Joe and Tony have written a book on this very topic called “The Power of Branding: Telling Your School’s Story” (click this link to buy it on Amazon).
Where do they promote the awesome work of their kids and staffs the most? On Twitter, where you’ll find plenty of students, a good deal of parents and a huge network of other educators with whom to share ideas.
Sharing great posts on social media can be daunting, much like staring at a blinking cursor on a blank document waiting on inspiration. Never fear, because you can implement any of the posts mentioned below immediately to jump-start your social media account and build your presence (or that of your school or district). Each is presented with an example from one of the three school/district hashtags mentioned above.
This list is adapted from an episode of Michael Hyatt’s podcast, “This Is Your Life,” entitled “Grow Your Social Media Following with These 10 Different Kinds of Posts”. I’m presenting it, along with other recommendations for leveraging social media in education, at a workshop. (Check out the bottom of this post to see the slides I’m using!)
As you read, think of the other kinds of posts that could be on this list and add them in a comment below!
1. Share a resource. The Internet teems with articles, how-to’s, data and other resources. Be the digital go-between for your followers and pass those golden nuggets along.
2. Repost somebody else’s post. Other area schools, news media, parents, students and others have good news and interesting content to share as well. When you find it, share it.
3. Make an announcement. If an event is going to happen or news breaks, post it immediately on social media. Twitter thrives on its lightning-quick reactions to world happenings. Leverage that for your students, families and/or followers.
4. Reveal something personal. Let’s not get into the “TMI” (too much information) category here, but getting personal to a healthy degree is really important. We want to know people we follow on social media on a more personal level. That’s human. Even if it feels counter-intuitive at first, tell people about yourself.
5. Report on what you’re doing now. This type of post works as long as it’s in line with your audience. If it’s a school, posting about field trips is perfect. If you’re an educator, posting your top lessons from a conference you’ve attended is appropriate. Or connect this with No. 4 above and give a quick post about your vacation. (Just don’t overdo it!)
6. Ask a question. This type of post puts the social in social media. Need help planning a lesson? Want some feedback on a project you’re working on? Post a question to your followers. You never know what you’ll get in return.
7. Offer congratulations. Praise is unbelievably motivating, especially when it’s merited and specific. Spread it around.
The best way to get started is just to start! You’ll never improve your social media skills with inaction. Jump in and try!
BONUS #1 — Here are the slides I’m using for my presentation on social media today. Check them out!
BONUS #2 — Interested in getting better at branding your school or district (or yourself)? Here are some good resources out on the web.
[reminder]What other types of posts can educators, schools and districts use to promote the good in education?[/reminder]
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