Social media undoubtedly holds a crucial place in school communications and public relations. It’s a window into the happenings of schools; a chance to tell the stories that bring school communities closer; a way to humanize the experiences of students and teachers; and–perhaps most importantly–an avenue for sharing positive messages on an ongoing basis. Class Intercom’s annual Social Media in Education Report aims to dive deeper, collecting survey data from education professionals across the sector to provide tangible insights about what’s actually happening and what it means for schools as the social media landscape evolves. On the heels of the release of the 2023 report, here’s a look at seven interesting stats from this year’s data.
1. Classroom highlights and student life updates get the most engagement.
People love to see the kind of human experiences happening inside schools and classrooms, and (as the data shows) this kind of content produces the best engagement. Other high-engagement types of content included: staff news; spotlights on students, staff, or community members; awards and recognition; athletics-related posts; and community questions. Less popular were posts about major campaigns such as blood drives or bond initiatives/referendums and live updates from events or extracurricular activities. The takeaway? People want to see an authentic glimpse into the heart of the learning experience and the people (read: students, educators, and community members) who are part of it.
2. Instagram is the number one channel for engaging students.
Instagram is the platform of choice for students, something to keep in mind when planning and publishing. Driven largely by stunning visuals and video content (Reels), Instagram is a great place for visuals of great moments, student experiences, athletics games or competitions, and projects. Use stories to post updates, announcements, and information that’s perhaps less visual and inspiring. Use Reels for video content offering student perspectives and depicting their unique experiences.
3. Facebook is the number one channel for engaging school community members.
Facebook remains the top channel for engaging parents, staff, the community, and alumni. This makes Facebook an ideal channel for certainly classroom highlights and student life updates, but also alumni stories, athletics updates, service projects, fundraisers, after-school programming, community impact efforts, and volunteerism.
4. 0% of schools surveyed regret having students contribute to school socials.
According to survey results, not a single school expressed regret for involving their students in the content creation process (that is, allowing them to contribute to school social media posts). This statistic underscores the tremendous value that students bring to the planning and execution of social media content–not only from a logistics standpoint in that small-but-mighty school PR teams and educators can divide and conquer when it comes to covering events and activities on school socials, but also from the standpoint of perspective. Indeed, students have a powerful and unique (read: authentic) perspective on what’s happening at their schools. And with the right technology and controls in place, schools can empower and amplify student voices in a way that truly engages their school communities.
5. The four most common areas with their own social media accounts are: districts, schools/buildings, athletics teams, and clubs/activities.
It can be difficult for schools to make decisions about reigning in rogue accounts, determining which groups, classes, or areas of their schools need their own social pages. Survey results show schools most commonly have separate pages for their districts and schools/buildings, as well as for their athletics teams and some specific clubs and activities. This is an important but delicate balance: Schools want to maintain channels with existing or potential followings that are substantial, tailoring content accordingly. At the same time, it’s important to avoid spreading audiences and oversight too thin.
6. 63% of schools with student content creators provide guidance through either clubs, advisors, or as part of a class.
A notable 63% of schools that have student content creators supporting their social media efforts offer them guidance and support through clubs, dedicated advisors, or integrated within curriculum. This structured approach ensures that students have the necessary mentorship and resources they need to plan, capture, curate, and submit content for approval both consistently and strategically. This guidance can exist as part of a class (English, journalism, yearbook, student government, business/marketing, design, or media, for example), as a club, or within an internship opportunity.
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7. Schools report numerous positive outcomes in engaging student content creators.
Certainly there are substantial benefits to involving students in school social media content creation. The most commonly observed student outcomes reported in survey results were: improved design, photography, and journalism skills; increased engagement in activities and clubs; increased awareness of marketing and branding; increased awareness of media-related education and career paths; and increased awareness of advocacy, current events, and other timely campaigns and issues. Other outcomes reported by survey respondents included: increased classroom engagement; improved written communication and storytelling skills; and improved digital citizenship. When combined with research-based education strategies, these outcomes are even more substantial.
More Stats & Insights
These seven insights are just the beginning. Get the full Social Media in Education Report for free from the Class Intercom Resource Library for a full picture of what’s happening across channels and in schools and districts nationwide. And, if you’re interested in learning more about building a team of content creators across your school or district and the technology that makes it possible, contact us directly at email@example.com.