Today, without really intending to do so, I started to craft what I’m calling a “social media plan” for our upcoming school year. Through the past several years we have built a very strong social media system in our building, and it’s continuing to grow as more classrooms are sharing learning online. I’m very proud of the work we’ve done in establishing:
Even though we’ve gotten very good at these things I’ve felt strongly that we aren’t using these and other tools to the fullest. I feel that I can be using them much more as a school leader to reach families and the community, thus the creation of a social media plan.
Now mind you this just kind of happened, so there wasn’t a template or a plan, so if there are suggestions on how to do this better send ‘em my way please!
The first thing I started with was outlining the systems that we already had going and what can we do to enhance those existing systems. For example:
- Facebook – We currently use Facebook to share school events, repost classroom blog posts and this is the only place that we post information about camps and offerings for students outside the school. Facebook probably has our highest subscription rates within our learning community and is also where we share the most information. Given that high rate of involvement it seemed like a logical next step for us in improving is to present more feedback opportunities for families via Facebook, so that went in the plan
- Our School Blog - We have a strong school blog that feeds both our Twitter account and our Google + accounts (we also repost our blog posts on Facebook). We’ve built a great practice with our blog, now going strong with multiple authors in the building contributing. Again, we have extensive subscriptions and high levels of access to this so the areas of enhancement really centered on:
- improving the depth of our content. We share events like nobody’s business…video, photos, etc. and they’re awesome. I feel strongly that we should be sharing more of the instructional insights, curriculum information and involve more teachers in the communication of that information. So that will be a big push for this coming year.
After reviewing what great stuff we already had going I just started to brainstorm some of the areas that I know we can do well in but aren’t really accessing at the moment:
- Instagram - There are several staff that have an Instagram account as I do and we all occasionally post photos and info about things that are happening at school (and many times due to the nature of Instagram they are completely amazing photos!) and we try to retweet those when we stumble on them; but, we never had an account dedicated to the school. Well we do now!! I’m a firm believer in the power of images (and video) so my hope is to use this medium to continue to share amazing photos that really share who we are as a school community. The management of multiple Instagram accounts isn’t a whole lot of fun at the moment, so if anyone has insights, please leave them in the comments below!
- I put Pinterest on the list, but I’m not sure about using it effectively or efficiently on the school level. I was just brainstorming and thought that maybe a Pinterest account could be used to share projects, reading tips, resources for parents, etc. versus using it as a posting platform. One of the reasons I added it to the list was simply that I know it’s very popular and I have a philosophy that you need to try to meet people where they are! We’ll see. I’ll need to research if other schools are using it.
The next section took a geeky turn, but it’s where I live so…it is what it is. I wrote down the words Video/Audio/Visual and just started listing all these great tools that I’ve noted other admins or schools using. As I mentioned earlier I have a big bend toward audio-visual and the power it has to convey feeling to an audience. As a school community we’ve got the videoing of events down to a moderate science, but there’s sooooo much more that we can do and ways that we can include the student scholars in the process too. So here’s my list:
Touchcast - This is a great app that allows you to basically be an entire television studio on your mobile device. It’s great and many schools are already utilizing it and involving students in the production of video.
Ustream - We currently don’t offer live streaming of school events…could be a great option for families that can’t join us. We’ve tried with Google + a few times but not totally successful.
Fotopedia - Great app for showcasing images and text
As you can tell I really got into this today (shame it wasn’t on my list of things to get done!). By the end of the time I was working on it I was convinced that I should produce a podcast program looking at education across our state! That’s when I knew it was time to take a break and back away from the computing devices! Still, I think what felt good was that sometimes we establish great practices and stay static with them, not considering the continuous growth. Outlining a plan felt good and helped me think about the systems for the coming year. Great use of time and energy for the day!