There’s no shortage of social media strategy articles written for the marketing department, but the same can’t be said for teachers. As a marketer, I value the input and support of my faculty members to help promote our school, but there’s often a disconnect between the classroom and communications.
One thing I’ve heard from my teachers is that they don’t want to bother me with questions, they aren’t sure if their information is newsworthy, or they don’t want to give me more work to do, so they keep potentially exciting information to themselves. Not good!
If you’re a teacher who wants to help tell the story of all the wonderful things happening at your school and create some social media gold, check out these seven tips to get involved and support your school’s social media, sometimes without even talking to the marketing department!
1. To post or not to post—teachers and public visibility on social media.
Whether or not teachers should use social media on behalf of the school can be a hot debate. While I’m of the mindset that the school and all its programs should use one central account, I do support teachers having personal accounts. Having followers and more interactions on social media posts is highly valuable to the school, and if all my teachers joined in on the fun, it would be awesome. For most teachers, it’s not about growing their following, it’s more about supporting their school and interacting with the content.
Look to see if your school's social media policy limits teacher interactions via social media. If it does, check with your administration to see if the reins can be loosened to allow teachers to interact with school content without opening the door to teacher-student social interaction. Along those lines, if you don't want your personal accounts visible for anyone to follow, consider creating a second account for professional interactions.
2. Think outside the box: Academic importance doesn’t always translate to social media gold.
I love when a teacher calls to tell me about something exciting happening in their classrooms; however, I get that feeling of dread when the call starts with: “I have a photo opp for you. My students will be giving presentations …” I immediately get visions of dark rooms, stoic faces, and students reading note cards. While presentations are often monumental in their importance to the student’s grade or serve as a capstone project, they aren’t always the most newsworthy or photo-worthy topics.
Instead of asking marketing to snap so-so photos, choose two or three projects to highlight in an article that you can partner with them on. Then, have the students properly source graphics that relate to their projects and/or stage some nice photos in a bright classroom. This way, you can avoid the dark room while still including the photo of students presenting, while also augmenting the article with attention-grabbing graphics. As schools, we want to make sure our public content is both authentic and aesthetically pleasing so that it's primed to earn social engagement from the community.
3. Location and aesthetics matter.
Think about the visual nature of the projects and activities you’re doing in your classroom. While a simple stretching exercise in gym class, a sketching assignment in art, or solving a math problem might not seem like the most exciting things to promote, it actually can be visually exciting to watch and can be related to something else the marketing department is working to promote.
High-quality pictures of students stretching in gym class could be a great way to promote sports and the importance of warming up the body before activities. Art teachers can share tips on how to sketch eyes or hands along with the image of students drawing. When it comes to math, if there’s a complex problem that students are working on, consider “where” they are working on it.
When I asked one math teacher to teach a class in our dining hall, he thought I was crazy, but that dining hall had giant floor-to-ceiling windows that made a perfect writing surface. Students stood on one side working out their math problems with brightly colored dry-erase markers and I stood on the other side getting incredible photos of them hard at work with their faces visible! Sometimes, you just need to do your normal routine in a new place or apply it to a new idea.
4. Post a review.
Don’t overestimate the power of a good review. If you have a minute, jump on Google, Yelp, Niche, or Facebook and write a rave review of your school. This simple act often takes only 5-10 minutes, but its impact is massive. When you review your school, assuming it’s positive, you help your school’s reputation grow and educate prospective students and their families on what makes your school so great.
5. Interact with your school’s social account.
Social media is essentially one big popularity contest on the internet, and the more engagement a post gets, the more it will get served up to followers, increasing the popularity of the school account. As a teacher, make sure you’re following the school’s account and working to like those posts, comment on them, and share them with your own followers to help boost the popularity.
6. Create your own content for marketing to promote.
One of my favorite things to hear from a teacher is, “I have something exciting we can promote!” And I’m still excited even if she follows up her comment with, “But I’m terrible at crafting a story.”
No problem! Most marketing directors crave content, even if it comes on a crumpled up piece of paper. I’m always happy to accept a rough draft of an article that I edit and rewrite to fit with the style of my other homepage articles; heck, I’ll even take bullet points or notes on a napkin! We’re happy to partner with you to help spread the word of all the great things happening on campus. Just be sure to like it, share it, and comment on it once I post it to the school account!
7. Create your own user-generated content to share on personal networks.
Schools don’t want to be the only ones talking about themselves—they need trusted followers to help spread the word about their incredible programs. To help do that, you can always create your own posts to share on your personal social media accounts about things that are happening in your classroom. A quick photo or 10-second video of an activity happening in the classroom with a sentence or two to describe the post, and you’re off! Just be sure to tag the school’s account and/or use any school-related or general hashtags that might be relevant, and make sure that your account (or at least that one post) is public.
Before you take this step, check your school's social media policies, and make sure you're aware of any students that are on the school's do-not-photo list.
About the AuthorFollow on Twitter More Content by Stacy Jagodowski