Two years ago when I moved to Central Alberta and hired as a Communications Coordinator for a school board, I made it my department’s mission to generate a fun and interactive online community for all schools within the school division. While twelve out of nineteen schools had a Facebook page, many were not updated regularly, and nearly none of them had chosen a username (making their URL long and their page hard to find). Schools were sending home printed newsletters and many didn’t know why parents were unaware of the content on the papers sent home. Some schools were performing well on social media while others were scared to use it.
Surprisingly, thirteen schools were on Twitter. After carefully analyzing each account, I discovered that many to not speak in Twitter “language,” didn’t use hashtags, used little to no images, and many pages were following accounts just because they followed them. Some schools were Tweeting well, while others had an account to say they were on Twitter and didn’t actually use theirs. It was clear to me that this not a good strategy to have in place, especially when wanting to communicate with parents or the general public.
A social media-based solution was apparent to myself and my colleague, in addition to using automated phone calls home, as well as texting reminder applications. While these platforms were used before I began in my new position, my Communications Department helped to guide schools into ditching paper newsletters and opting for social media announcements, and more texts home to parents.
With some guidance, training, and a combined effort, I am happy to say that my school board made the “Canada’s Top Ten School Districts on Social Media” by Box Clever.
From February 1, 2015 to February 1, 2017, our school division grew:
- Facebook fans increased by 5,812 (203% increase)
- Twitter followers increased by 6,157 (314% increase)
- Photos/videos on Twitter increased by 5,477 (3,184% increase)
- Total fans across Facebook and Twitter increased by 11,969 (248.68% increase)
I am thrilled to see positive results and growing engagement across all our schools’ social media pages. This milestone was from a combined effort of all schools and many staff members. Two new schools are opening this September, and both have embraced social media and already have active communities! Good job, everyone!