5 Ways to Use Twitter June 7, 2012 10:00 AM | Tagged as Marketing your school, parent communication, parent support for schools, promoting your school success, public relations for schools, school communication, School Webmasters, social media for schools, Twitter for schools
Hopefully by now you’ve mastered the Twitter basics and are ready to begin learning how you can implement this social media platform and reach out to parents. Make sure your parents and community know your school is Tweeting, and encourage them to follow your school on all newsletters, your school website, email blasts, and so forth. That said, here are five great ways to use Twitter to help increase your school’s communication efforts.
1. Relay Important or Emergency Announcements
Twitter is a great way to get important news to parents quickly. You can also type messages from your mobile device in the event you aren’t by your computer. Perhaps a water main breaks at school and students must go home. A dangerous situation forces your school to initiate a campus-wide lockdown. A bus breaks down and students are temporarily stranded. Sending information to parents on Twitter is a quick way to keep them updated on important information, which not only helps alleviate parent worry, it also helps build your credibility and trust.
2. Share Good News About Projects and Staff
We can’t say it enough: schools do amazing things and no one ever hears about them. Twitter is a great way to share this information with parents. Did you know you can even attach pictures to tweets? You can. And just like teachers use positive reinforcement to increase student engagement and effort, you too can positively reinforce your teachers on a public platform. Highlight and let parents know about a particular strength of a teacher or a specific instance where a teacher went above and beyond their duties for a student or lesson. These public kudos not only will help build a positive image for your school within the parent community, it serves as fuel for your faculty and staff to keep doing their very best.
3. Share Ideas and Comments In Real-Time
One of the greatest benefits of Twitter is the ability to share information as it is happening and not hours or days after the event. Chances are good you attend your school’s athletic games, band concerts, and school plays. Why not tweet about the action while you’re watching it? Again, this not only compliments your students and the teachers that put on the events or coach the teams, it also lets parents know you were there. Think that doesn’t matter? It does. Your public appearance shows parents and the community that you are engaged with what’s happening at your school—that you care. And even though you are present, not every parent will see you. Tweeting from events allows you to not only share your thoughts about the event (“So proud of our fifth grade band students! They sound great!” or “Congrats to Kyle for his three-point shot with seconds to go!”) but it also lets many more people know you were in attendance.
We know administrators go to great lengths to separate their personal life from their work life. And in certain ways you should. However, allowing parents and the community to see that you aren’t just a suit-clad form behind your desk—you’re actually a living, breathing, human with thoughts, opinions, excitements, and ideas to share—can go miles towards building trust within your community. You don’t need to tweet about your latte or how you like your coffee, but messages like, “Learned a lot of great new leadership techniques at the district conference,” or “Cinco de Mayo is a great time to learn about the Hispanic culture and enjoy their amazing food!” allows people to see you as a person, not just a position. It is always easier for parents to find fault with a position, but not as easy with a person. Showing your humanity helps.
5. Gain Valuable Feedback with Questions
One of the greatest benefits to Twitter is the ability to engage parents and the community in discussion. You can gain valuable feedback about situations or potential problems within your school before you implement a strategy that might not be needed, or one that won’t actually address the problem. You’ll want to phrase the question so that it’s not an open-ended invitation for parents to dish up the negative, but one that will generate discussion. Asking something like, “What’s the more frustrating part about pick-up?” is likely to gain you valuable insight into parent opinions of dismissal time, but you wouldn’t want to say, “Tell us what you don’t like about our dismissal procedures.” It can also work for the positive; asking, “Parents, what’s your favorite type of fundraiser?” or “What’s one thing you feel that we’re doing well?” can help you keep making decisions that parents will support.
Overall, sending messages in 140 characters can not only help you gain wisdom and insight into parent opinion, but it can also help you establish trust, credibility, and rapport with your parent community.
Posted in Communication, Public Relations, Social Media | 0 Replies
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