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Social Media for Schools

We recently undertook some social media training for schools for London Grid for Learning (@LGfL) along with the wonderful Katy Potts (@katypotts) and Matthew Beevor (@mbeevor) from Islington Council.

We focused on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram but also looked at how to utilise your Google Local Entry.

The session covered types of content best suited for each platform; ensuring your social media accounts are optimised and set up correctly; social media policy and GDPR; then finally some best practise and practical tips for managing your social media.

A school’s social media and digital footprint is now an essential part of their marketing and PR strategy.  It is not only a great way to improve communications with parents but it is also used by prospective parents and indeed even Ofsted will search out a school online before a visit.  It is therefore essential for schools to take ownership of their online reputation rather than leave it to chance.

Social media can show your school is active and engaging as part of your local community and indeed even globally.  Many schools look for sponsorship from local businesses for their school fairs and fundraisers, and what better way than to reach out to them on twitter for example.  All small businesses are using twitter as a cost effective form of marketing so they will be delighted if your school engages with them online. 

social media for schoolsSocial media is a great way of building connections with outside organisations, use it to join an already established campaign or indeed create your own campaign and hashtag.  Use it to highlight your school and your pupils’ achievements.  In this way the advantages from social media far outweigh the negatives, as long as you set out a clear social media policy. 

When creating a social media policy, decide who will have access, what type of content you will share and what tone you will use.  Ensure your parents have consented to images of their children being used but also have a policy around what sort of images can be used, (perhaps you don’t allow close ups of pupils but rather cleverly set up images that convey the event without highlighting individuals).  Your social media policy should also include how school trips are represented, locations should not be divulged so perhaps share the trips images the following day rather than immediately.

Your school’s Google Local Entry is more than likely going to be the first thing a user sees when searching online, even before your website, so it makes sense to make the most of it.  Claim your entry and add good images and location details.  Google have recently created the option of ‘posting’ to your entry, this is added content that will be tagged to your entry and is a brilliant way to market upcoming events and even available school places.

There is a great deal to think about when setting up your school’s social media but using it well could greatly improve your schools profile and sharing positive content will only help to maintain your school’s online reputation.

Social Media Training

We recently undertook some Social Media training for the Islington Youth Council.  The Youth Council are a millennial savvy bunch when it comes to social media but it’s important to remember that using social media on a personal level is different to using it to represent your business, brand or enterprise.

As Youth Councillors they need to reach out to other young people in Islington to spread their campaigns and reach their target audience.  The main platforms for young people are Instagram and Snapchat.  However they also need to build their presence amongst like minded organisations, connections and influencers who are mainly present on Twitter, and possibly Facebook.  We therefore decided to structure the training around the role of Keywords and Hashtags as part of any businesses online presence.  On a professional level these elements are key to any social media campaign so we felt this would be valuable knowledge for them moving into social media on a professional level.

E-Safety
We began the session buy highlighting the importance of staying safe online,  there are several videos available but we chose this one Easy Ways to Stay Safe on Social Networks as it clearly sets out the three areas of e-safety: Sharing, Privacy & Settings, and Location Settings.

Keywords
We then moved on to explain the importance of keywords.  How web developers pick specific words which sum up web pages and incorporate them into the text on the website.  These keywords and search terms are picked up by search engines to match up websites to online searches.  It is therefore essential that you know your target audience and you know what they will be searching for when they’re looking for your service.   It is important to remember that Google rewards relevance, so your website needs to contain the content relevant to your business.

Hashtags

Having looked at Keywords we could then move on to the important roll that Hashtags play in any social media campaign. Once a # is entered in front of a word it becomes a clickable link taking you to a page featuring the feed of all the most recent tweets/posts that contain that hashtag.   You can then search for others using the same hashtag and connect with like-minded people and accounts.

We looked at topics which the Islington Youth Council will tackle over the coming year including: Apprenticeships, Diversity and Careers Advice to try and come up with some hashtags they could use when posting on Twitter and Instagram.  Initially we searched manually in Twitter and Instagram to see what related hashtags people were using for these topics.  For apprenticeships we picked #apprenticeships #apprentice #GetinGoFar. We particularly liked #GetinGoFar as it has been used for apprenticeship campaigns up and down the country so is a handy one to jump on.

We then looked at a web tool called www.keyhole.co which you can test out hashtags to see how popular they might be and for related ones shown in a word cloud.  We picked #workexperience which we had selected when researching Careers Advice.  Here is what keyhole showed us:

social media training

social media training

We then ended the session by asking the Youth Council to come up with a list of hashtags that they will use in their identity and campaign.

We look forward to seeing these integrated into their Instagram and Twitter accounts.  Do follow their progress with us!

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