In an atmosphere of school choice, where parents and families can opt out of public schools for any number of reasons—a bad phone call, a difficult conversation, a less-than-stellar first impression—the reputation that your school district keeps is vital to its survival.
Your community needs to know who you are and what you stand for. Author and ed-tech blogger Brad Currie put it this way in a recent blog post, “If you do not tell your story, someone else will and it could be wrong.”
If you don’t follow Currie, you should. He writes frequently about the need for schools to differentiate themselves by communicating early and often.
Currie stresses how important it is for educators to understand where and how people communicate, a point we touched on in a recent post.
By now, you know the mainstream channels that are available to help your school or district get its message out. Many of you already have Twitter and Facebook accounts. You already use more traditional means, such as emails and phone calls and news articles, even advertising.
Branching out into new forms of communication amounts to a daunting prospect, especially for schools. But these tools and resources evolve quickly. If you want to differentiate yourself, to tell your story in a memorable way, a more progressive tool might be the solution.
Below are a few social media channels, among others, that Currie suggests your school consider:
Tumblr is a very visual medium with a focus on mobile. While it’s not as well-known as, say, WordPress, for example, it’s still pretty cool. Start a stream for your district and personalize it for students and parents.
Who doesn’t love video! Periscope gives your community a window into what ‘s happening in your school or district in real time. Allow your community to literally peer in on what your district is doing and provide opportunities to connect.
Snapchat worries and confuses a lot of us over the age of 24, but it’s one of the fastest-growing social media apps in the world—and is nearly ubiquitous among teenagers. Considering some simple and easy ways to integrate this growing channel into your communications strategy now could return real dividends in the future.
It’s true: keeping your community members informed about your programs and strategies helps them understand the great work you do. And staying on top of social media trends ensures you’ll be able to effectively communicate in the future.
But, remember, communication needs to amount to a two-way exchange of ideas. Listening and responding to what your community needs is just as important as crafting and sending the perfect message.
Want to read more from Currie? You can check out his full blog post here.