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.

     

When the Thunder Rolls…Dealing With A Social Media Storm

Great tips on weathering a social media storm from NSPRA

NSPRA: Social School Public Relations

We see it on social media ALL the time. Someone posts something that seems innocent enough, and before we know it, the post or tweet has gone viral as a misstep. The thunder rolls in and a social media storm develops.

This fall our district dealt with a social media storm when we least expected it.

The backstory:
When we changed from carton milk to bagged milk, we tested it in several schools the year before. We implemented it this year. All seemed to be going well…until one day. We posted about one of the local media stations doing a story on the new milk, and the storm hit! The district became inundated with comments of parents unhappy with the decision to change and rumors began to fly.

Now that the clouds have dissipated and the storm has passed, here are a few things we were reminded of during our social media storm:

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OASIS 2015

Distinguished and Proficient Awards (pdf)

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Links to distinguished entries:

Calendars

Brochures

External publications

Tabloid publications

One-time publications

Miscellaneous printed materials

Feature release

News release

Feature photography

News/Sports photography

Display photography

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Nelson (10 photos used in display for food services)

Videos — program length

Videos — in-school programs or training videos

Videos — PSAs/short subject informational videos

School websites

Electronic newsletter

Miscellaneous electronic communications product/program

  • Carroll (app linking various electronic communications tools together)

Special events

Community engagement programs

  • Oldham — Fiscal Outlook 2014 (4% tax increase)
  • Nelson — Teacher Notes
  • Knox — Career and Technical Center launch/recallable nickel

Miscellaneous public awareness programs

  • Oldham — OCS Engineering Academy launch
  • Daviess (coming soon)
  • Knox — Pursuit of Perfect Attendance

Social media pages

December Observances

December is a busy month with holidays, breaks and semester’s ending. If you’re looking for something to promote that doesn’t include crafts or classroom parties, here’s a list of December observances.