Are schools using social media effectively?
Today I am presenting at the Northamptonshire School Business Managers Forum, talking to primary & secondary school business managers about what schools should be doing on social media – and how to do it.
An increasing number of schools, colleges and universities are inviting me to conferences and events as a social media speaker. This marks a real culture shift in recent years.
It used to be the case that social media was restricted in schools for both staff and students, with many institutions having a “not in work time” policy. So it is great to now see social media being increasingly embraced within the education sector: with an increased understanding of reasonable risk mitigation, allowing more open discussion about opportunities and benefits.
Often, the first stage is seeing social media as a way of disseminating messages quickly and cost effectively to stakeholders (ie to parents and students). But in addition, more and more schools and colleges are now also recognising the long term benefits of establishing a positive and proactive social media presence and engaging regularly and effectively with both stakeholders and wider audiences – including business engagement, connecting students with potential career development opportunities too.
We’ve come a long way since I spoke about social media in schools at the 2012 AMDIS annual conference. But are schools fully embracing social media yet?
Before today’s conference, I sent out a survey to the school business managers attending my talk. Although not statistically robust, the results provide an interesting snapshot of social media use.
Here is what the school business managers said:
- 30% have written a few blogs – this is great!
- 60% said their school doesn’t blog
- 24% blog monthly
- 16% blog weekly
This is a good start. Here are some tips on using blogging to improve stakeholder communications and increase your school profile.
SEO for schools:
- 40% said they have never heard of SEO
- 12% said they fully understand it – this is great!
Here are some basic SEO tips and advice on boosting your school website SEO.
School business managers on Linkedin:
- Most said they were not using LinkedIn
- Only 1 person said they were actively engaging on LinkedIn
This is interesting. For school business managers, one of their goals is likely be about building links with local businesses and promoting hiring the school out to them. LinkedIn is a perfect place to do this! Most businesses will be on LinkedIn, and the advanced search allows you to do very localised searches. Follow the links below for more detailed LinkedIn advice:
- Using LinkedIn for effective relationship management and business development
- The power of LinkedIn groups for business networking
- Chris Brown LinkedIn insights: top 3 LI features for business
School business managers on Twitter:
- 16% said they use it daily
- 12% said they use it weekly
- 64% hardly ever use it or don’t use it at all
While most don’t use Twitter, those that do are on there regularly and find it useful for finding information, advice and events, as well as connecting with experts and peers. More tips and how to use Twitter effectively in the article below:
What about schools on social media in general?
40% of the school business managers interviewed said they had had measurable success using social media. This is really positive. By setting clear objectives for your social media campaigns, focusing activities specifically on these objectives, maintaining a regular active presence, and monitoring/measuring success, these results can improved over time.
What can you achieve through using social media in schools?
- Better talent identification and recruitment (LinkedIn is great for this)
- Improved communications with parents
- Two-way dialogue with parents to improve student outcomes
- Bigger or better profile for your schools – building public awareness of your achievements, successes and specialisims
- Business engagement for both student career development opportunities and potential sponsorship or venue hire income etc
- Improved internal communications among staff and students
- Students who understand how to use social media not just for connecting with friends, but also with potential employers – and better awareness of hwo their social media presence can positively or negatively affect their chances of getting a job (read this review on ‘From student to salary with social media’)
If you need a social media speaker for your school or college conference or event, or would like to discuss how to use social media to promote your school, contact me today.
- Does your school have its on blog or social media pages?
- How effective have you found social media for achieving your school communication and business objectives?
- Do share your best practice case studies below!