Give ‘Em What They Want: Three Things the Data Reveal

Are you looking at your social media insights? You should be!

NSPRA: Social School Public Relations

One of the benefits of social media is how much more measurable it is than most of our other communication tools. We can see what people like, what they click on, what they respond to and what messages resonate for them.

In my district, using Facebook insights, Twitter analytics, survey data and focus group feedback, we developed a picture of what our key audiences want to hear from us:

  1. Things that affect their lives
    If it answers the question, “What does this have to do with me?”, it is great content. This is why the school board approving the calendar is such big news. It is also why people care more about pictures and videos from their own schools. In my district, we make sure to cover every school in the district at least once a month.

    When we, like the other districts in the Kansas City area, canceled school for the Royals’ World…

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Practical Tips for Helping School Administrators Start a Social Media Account

Great tips for helping your school administrators set up Twitter accounts. A few things I added before sending to my principals:
– Twitter is a great place to share reminders — events, holidays, testing dates, etc.
– Use it to cross-promote content in your newsletter or on your website
– Parents love “behind the scenes” looks at what kids are doing during the day. They enjoying seeing what students are doing when they’re away, especially when their child comes home and says they did nothing all day. 😉
– The media tends to use Twitter a lot. That can be great if you want coverage but also be mindful that your Tweets aren’t protected unless you set up a protected account (Meaning the only people who can see and/or retweet you are followers you’ve approved.)
– Photos and videos get the most attention!

NSPRA: Social School Public Relations

This school year, as part of our strategic communications plan, we started Twitter accounts for several of our school administrators and counselors. Since it is the new year and many of us are getting reorganized and refreshed for the second half of the school year, I wanted to give you some practical tips we share with our school administrators when they start a Twitter account. Feel free to use these or share with any staff members in your district who are considering taking the leap to social media.

Twitter tips:

  • It’s recommended to tweet three to five times a day. You can be both serious and silly. Be sure to include fun anecdotes, interesting facts and post many photos of what is happening in your school. It is also OK to have fun and show your lighter side.
  • If you’re finding that tweeting three to five times times a day is too…

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Facebook wishes granted in 2016

Great news for districts with Facebook pages!

NSPRA: Social School Public Relations

Despite the rapid growth and change that takes place in the social media landscape, Facebook still crushes its competition. With more than three times the daily traffic of Twitter and 10 times the traffic of Instagram, it remains the place where the largest audience goes to socially connect online.

For districts using Facebook to engage with key audiences, 2016 has already delivered new features with great value.

  • Verified pages. It now only takes entering a unique code delivered by phone to get that all-important check mark next to your district or school’s account name. This has been available for school districts on Twitter for more than a year, but has only just recently rolled out for all pages on Facebook. In five minutes or less, you can help protect your brand and social media presence against confusing, malicious or other unofficial accounts. Get started here.

  • Privately contact commenters directly…

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Engage Your Audience and Grow Your Following During Snow Days

What would you do if you knew that thousands of people were simultaneously watching your social media accounts waiting to see just two simple words, “snow day”?

NSPRA: Social School Public Relations

What would you do if you knew that thousands of people were simultaneously watching your social media accounts waiting to see just two simple words, “snow day”?

Like so many school districts, when there is a possibility of snow, parents and students take to our social media accounts knowing that we will announce a snow day there first. So, if you knew there were going to be so many people looking at your social media all at one time, what would you do? The answer should be ENGAGE THEM!

On our most recent snow day, we added more than 700 new followers across our district and superintendent social media channels, and our engagement was six times our normal rate.

  • If your superintendent is on social media, have him or her engage in the conversation (before, during and after) and let them make the first official announcement.
    • If your superintendent is new to Twitter, like…

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Building trust during a crisis

Sooner or later every school PR professional faces a crisis that has the potential to damage or derail a school’s or district’s reputation, says Naomi Hunter, APR, director of communications for the Redwood City (Calif.) School District.

“Bad things happen in every school — but you can maintain and build trust when your school’s reputation is at stake” is the title of her article in the December 2015 edition of Principal Communicator, a monthly newsletter from the National School Public Relations Association.

You can read the article online here.

January observances

  • Jan. 1-31 — National Mentoring Month, recognizing the need for every child to have a caring adult in his or her life
  • Jan. 4 — World Braille Day, celebrating the birthday of Louis Braille (1809)
  • Jan. 17 — Bald Eagle Appreciation Dya
  • Jan. 17 — Kid Inventor’s Day
  • Jan. 18 — Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • Jan. 18 — National Day of Service
  • Jan. 23 — National Handwriting Day
  • Jan. 27 — Holocaust Memorial Day
  • Jan. 28 — Christa McAuliffe Day, commemorating the teacher and six other astronauts killed in the Challenger explosion in 1986

Your thoughts: PR for donations/drives for needy students

One of our KYSPRA members asked:

What’s your take on covering events where groups from the community come to your schools to give gifts to students in need and they (both the school and groups) want you to publicize it?”

This a great — and timely — question. Many districts and schools have holiday programs, coat drives and other events to make sure all our students have a wonderful holiday.

But there’s no good press that makes up for embarrassing a kid and their family.

All of us appreciate the generosity and good intentions of businesses and groups that want to help our students, and the gifts are needed by many of our students who live in poverty.

But, our first priority is always our students, not our own PR goals or the PR goals of the businesses and schools. Coverage of an event like this can hurt in two ways:

  • Identifies specific students as being “poor,” which violates regulations if if’s tied to free/reduced anyway. Not to mention it is just flat-out demeaning.
  • Gives the image of certain schools/districts as being “where the poor kids go,” reducing the school down to just a label.

Well, we asked and KYSPRA answered. A compilation of responses yielded two main points:

  • Limit photography to the adults/volunteers who are bringing the gifts or doing something with them (sorting/unloading, etc.), or your school staff interacting/receiving the donations. KYSPRA members consistently said they avoid having the students that are receiving gifts in photos/videos — and if they did, they were shot in such a way that they could not be identified (backs of heads, hands, feet).
  • Be proactive in finding other stories that share the story that you want to tell about these schools. Are these students/schools giving back to the community themselves in some way? Are they exceeding expectations in any areas? Are there individual stories of teachers/students/ classes that break the mold of the stereotype? Talk about those.