In the moments of spare time I have I spend it reading and thinking about ways to spread the word about the positive things my school is doing and how to connect with parents and families. At the high school level significant and consistent parent involvement/engagement, in the traditional sense, is a struggle. At least at my school. Often times when we try to make calls there is no answer or the phone no longer works. We believe that every parent wants what’s best for their child but often times life gets in the way. And they aren’t able to demonstrate this commitment in ways that we as educators can observe. In the face of this challenge we have newish tools that we can use to connect with families and market the great things we’re doing for and with their child. These social media marketing strategies are a simple free method to communicate with our families.
Talking/communicating with parents consistently is key. According to Statista, a website that tracks a multitude of statistics, Facebook had 1.79 billion active users as of the third quarter of 2016. Facebook should be the foundation of your social media strategy if you want to get your school, and the cool things being done, in front of parents .
Focusing on parents is the largest lever at our disposal when it comes to promoting our school and its culture. In Gary Keller’s book The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, he talks about focusing on a single aspect that will create a domino effect and how over time one small task can create the biggest change. Using Facebook as a conduit to your parents is the one thing you can do from a marketing standpoint that can impact your student count. It could help you retain and acquire more students.
Facebook is an option to have a slightly longer format of communicating your school’s events and post images of what your school is doing. Of course be sure to have permission from parents to have their child’s picture taken. This can be done at the beginning of the year when students signup for school.
Another social media tool you can use is Twitter. Twitter is a great way to give a distilled version of events. Where on Facebook there’s the opportunity to expand on updates, Twitter forces you to be concise. A great way to connect to parents in the Midwest is to have them follow you during the winter months. Let parents know that you’ll be announcing snow days via Twitter. I’ve also seen schools tweet out school events like band concerts and athletic contacts. In addition, because you have limited time you can simply grab headlines from your Facebook posts and tweet those out including a link back to your Facebook page.
Janelle McLaughlin, an educational expert in social media practice, recently said, that twitter is a great place for principals to start in social media. The reason for this suggestion was because of how little time it takes. She suggests setting up a separate account just for school and tweet from that account.
Posting that twitter account and tweeting out your classroom visits with the hashtag of your school is a great way for parents to find you and communicate with you.
Youtube can also be a great resource for parents. Behind Google Youtube is the most often searched for information. Often times parents have trouble accessing a certain section of a school’s website or they have difficulty logging into a particular app that the school district uses to display their child’s grades. By having “how to” tutorial videos on your webpage you can address some of those concerns. Youtube is also a great way highlight student work and their projects. Using your school’s name and the event are easy keywords for parents to search when they’re looking for you.
By integrating these three free social media tools you can increase the reach that your school has in the community and let them know what you’re up to.. The more often parents see you the more comfortable they’ll be entrusting their children to you.
If you’re a broke behind school what are some other methods you use to reach out and connect with families? What social media tools do you use to promote your school? What apps have you found that are helpful? Leave your suggestions in the comment section.
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For more short articles and tips that support educational leaders check out my blog at the http://www.theprincipalentrepreneur.com/ and/or pre order my newest book How To Be A Great Principal: 36 Shared Leadership Success Strategies. If you’re an auditory learner you can download my podcast The Principal Entrepreneur, new episodes weekly. To join the podcast as a guest email me at email@example.com. Finally, I’m part of a community of supportive principals please join our private FB group.
I'm a Principal and an Entrepreneur. I'm the former owner of a food venture Hustling Hoagies, the author of the children's picture books Detective Dwayne Drake and the Alphabet Thief, Detective Dwayne Drake and The Case of the Mathematical Misfit and the ebook Making it as a Male Model in Michigan. I've worked professionally as a model and commercial actor......