School districts are increasingly turning to social media to engage with their communities. Whether it is your staff, faculty, students, or parents, everyone has a social media account. So why not take advantage? Having a strong website presence for your district is a must for communicating school news, but research shows that having a strong social media presence can have the same impact and even increase your reach. With that being said, we compiled a list of four social media platforms that will boost engagement within your community. Keep in mind you don’t need to use all four, just the ones that fit the needs or your district.
Facebook is a great platform for your district to use because it has the largest user base of the four. Although Facebook is used by a wide variety of ages, the primary audience for a district Facebook page would be parents as well as your adult staff. If your main goal for social media is to share information and communicate, then Facebook is a great option.
In terms of the variety of posts it will allow, Facebook is certainly the most robust platform. It gives you the ability to share videos, photos, events, and even list job postings within your district. We suggest starting small with a district-specific page, and slowly expand to add your individual schools to the mix. Once you see higher engagement with consistent posting then add school pages with someone from each school to run them.
If you are looking for a primarily photo sharing social network, then Instagram is the way to go. Posting through Instagram is a great way to visually showcase what your district is doing. You will find the audience to be your students and younger parents on this platform. Some district pages can even reach close to 10,000 followers on this platform, so the sky is the limit!
Everyone loves to scroll through photos, so make sure you are posting images and videos to your district page. This is a great opportunity to post photos of athletics, performances, and other school highlights. Before you do this, however, make sure that you are complying with all FERPA guidelines and regulations regarding sharing photos of students. Be sure to investigate all Instagram’s post offerings like stories, highlights, and reels in addition to normal posts to get the most out of the platform.
Twitter seems to be a perfect fit for school districts, which is why schools use Twitter at a higher rate than almost any other social media platform. This is because it is so easy to post and send communications between your community and your district. Parents and staff make up the primary audience of twitter with the general age range being 30-60.
The platform uses a character restriction, which forces each post to be simple and direct. When posting always make sure to use a hashtag, as this will give your Tweet context and allows people to easily follow topics that they are interested in (like your district!). Although you don’t have to post a photo, we find that visual content is more engaging with your audience.
Currently, LinkedIn is the least utilized of the four but still has a bunch of opportunities for your district. While the previous three platforms focus on engagement from your community, LinkedIn branches away from them. This is not to say you cannot post similar content as the others, just keep in mind that LinkedIn is a professional development site. Once you have created your page, we suggest you alert your staff and let them add you as their employer. The more staff you add that engage with your district page, the more credible your page becomes, and those outside of your staff will be more likely to engage as well. LinkedIn is a great recruiting tool as a career-building site, so make sure you post links to your website with job openings.
Social media is a great way to engage with your students, faculty, staff, and parents in a less formal manner than an email or website post. It allows you an opportunity to post highlights of your school and celebrate your accomplishments with your community. Not only can you post highlights of your school, but you can also share relevant information from and engage with other social pages as well. We at i3 Education have a huge library of relevant blogs and social posts that you can share with members of your community.