Social media has totally transformed the way we network and communicate. For education professionals in particular, these platforms allow us to reach out and engage with people across the globe – in just a few, simple clicks. No doubt your school already has a social presence across sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but are you reaping the full benefits social media can offer?
Here are five unique ways to utilise social media:
Create a window into your school/classroom
We humans are inquisitive creatures, and we all like to be kept in the loop. By regularly sharing photos and videos of student projects, activities and events, parents are given a glimpse into what their kids get up to on a daily basis, like this one https://twitter.com/HMH_teach/status/1051063149250654208 helping to close the ‘home to school’ communication gap.
But it also serves another purpose – two in fact. Provided the photos and videos you share are interesting and portray your school in a positive light, they’ll essentially become marketing tools, inspiring parents to list your school on their application forms, and candidates to apply for vacancies.
Mix up the school newsletter
School newsletters can be (how do we put it?) somewhat uninspiring. Not to mention they often, rather miraculously disappear by the time your students stuff them in their rucksack and get home.
Enter Twitter: the no-frills platform gives the traditional newsletter a modern makeover, allowing you to send short-and-sweet updates straight to the digital devices of the parents and teachers who ‘follow’ your school https://twitter.com/HertsLearning/status/1081234254175109120. Doing this will ensure more of your important messages get seen.
Give your job adverts incredible reach for free
You need to get over feeling ashamed for having vacancies. Turn it around instead and use your veritable network of locals to attract your next teacher instead of paying an agency to do it! Some schools, like Greenways Primary, are great at this https://twitter.com/GreenwaysPri/status/1062287807966838785. Once you have an online advert (via eteach.com or other) schedule it to post repeatedly for the next few weeks on your social feeds and vitally, share it to every parent and staff member you possibly can, then ask they to reshare it. Remind them that for every teacher they source instead of an agency, that’s about £5,000 they have saved for a school trip instead. I know where every parent would rather you spent that cash.
Share insight with fellow educators
Social media allows your school to pair up with other schools, educators and industry bodies, where you can learn from them and share unique insight with them, as well as start and get involved in meaningful conversations about the education sector, Like Gary at LIHT https://twitter.com/grwonline/status/1056813309813497856.
This might involve you tracking and using industry-relevant #hashtags on Twitter; writing and sharing news and thought-leadership articles on LinkedIn with a comment from your school; or demonstrating your support for campaigns on industry body Facebook pages.
Again, being active on social media in this way might see your recruitment efforts receive a welcome boost. If your school is seen as taking an active stance on issues that really matter to candidates – like workload management and salaries – this will help them to see you as an employer of choice.
Create global opportunities for your students
It’s not just staff who can benefit from social media opening the door to global experiences and interactions. Unique hashtags can be created (and monitored) by schools to allow pupils to interact with peers from different classes, schools, counties and countries. For instance, they could share ideas, photos and videos relating to topics they’re currently learning about.