Social media is a great way to communicate your message quickly. But when it comes to using social media to communicate important information, what does a good strategy look like?
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The checklist below is a good first step toward helping your school develop an effective social media communication strategy.

Getting Started
  • Designate a “social media manager” to manage your account. Make sure your social media manager knows how to communicate properly and professionally. Be certain they have the right judgment to make quick decisions. Your online voice should reflect your school’s views.
  • Establish a voice. Everyone can benefit from using social media. Keep your account active and engaging year-round by sharing:
    • School updates, awards and other news
    • Industry news and blogs
    • Tips and resources related to your industry
  • Build your network. Follow other local businesses and organizations, but don’t follow everyone that follows you. Only monitor those accounts that are directly valuable to your school.
  • Spread the word. Let staff, teachers, students and parents know you’ve gone social.
    • Consider hosting a “lunch and learn” to educate staff and teachers on your social media communication strategy
    • Assist and encourage nonsocial users to set up accounts and learn the ropes
    • Hold a contest to encourage participation
  • Work with your communications/PR team to coordinate your social media policy and share this policy with your employees.
  • Use an online monitoring tool to help schedule posts, filter messages and keep communication efficient. 
  • Create an “emergency employee-only” hashtag, i.e., #<schoolname>employees. Use this hashtag to relay important information to employees, such as closures, delays, alternate locations or other updates. Make sure employees are aware of this special hashtag BEFORE an emergency.
  • Be sure your social media manager has a backup. Designate one or more team members (depending on your size) who are well-versed in your social media plan. 
Using Social Media Effectively
  • Keep it up. Don’t neglect your account for days or weeks on end. Share tips and resources mentioned above to keep followers engaged.
  • Make sure you use best practices to protect your school and follow copyright laws.
  • Join the conversation. Use hashtags to connect your tweets with what others are talking about.
  • Use your emergency employee-hashtag to send out employee updates.
  • Monitor keywords, including your school’s name. Use the search feature or set up alert notifications via your online monitoring tools.
  • Provide accurate, clear and trusted information.
  • Reply to concerns and posts in a timely manner.
  • Respond to problems. When responding:
    • Acknowledge the issue. Let them know they are heard and you are there.
    • Address the issue and provide helpful resources.
    • Apologize when necessary and show empathy. Offer to discuss offline if necessary.
    • Identify and address any rumors or false information related to your school.
    • Be cautious of word choice and tone. Stay neutral and keep communications helpful and professional.
  • Consider converting links to shortened and trackable URL codes using a free service like www.bitly.com. This will help keep messages under 140 characters and will identify which information your followers find the most useful.
  • Unless authorized, do not give official statements or handle media inquiries via social media. Make sure everyone is fully aware of this policy.
Follow Up and Measure
  • Review data to understand what your audience found useful to help guide social media operations going forward.
    • If you converted your links to shortened www.bitly.com links, determine which resources your followers found most useful by analyzing click-rate statistics on each link.
    • Identify what information received the most retweets and mentions.
  • Look into any concerns you were unable to address. Apologize for the delay and follow up as needed. It is better to respond late than not at all.
  • Have a discussion with your team on how to improve your social media strategy.
    • Send a survey to staff and ask for suggestions.
  • Continue to communicate. Keep your social feeds active. Post regular updates, resources and tips.
Additional Resources

Whether you are a social media pro or just starting out, the world of social communications is constantly evolving. The following list of free resources will help you to plan and prepare as you develop your school’s social media communication strategy.

 How To  Link 
 Set up a LinkedIn account   https://www.linkedin.com/start/ join?trk=uno-reg-guest-home-join
 Set up a Twitter account  https://twitter.com/i/flow/signup
 Use Hashtags   https://twitter.com/hashtags
 Create trackable bit.ly links  https://bitly.com/
 Stay in the know https://www.socialmediatoday.com/

We hope you find this information useful. As you develop your social media communications strategy, remember to stick with it. Building an online voice takes time. Content for this newsletter was provided by Agility Recovery.