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A pencil is a powerful tool if it’s used to write a love poem, sketch a route, or draft the opening lines to a great novel; however, that same pencil can be used to poke someone in the eye. A pencil – just like social media – may be used for positive or negative. While some people maintain that social media is the bane of this generation, I would argue that today’s educators and students are The Content Generation. A generation open to using the power of social media to impact positive change and do good in this world.

Adding one more thing to your already full plate may seem overwhelming, but what if I told you that was a little work up front, you will actually be doing less work and sharing better content with your stakeholders in the very near future? By building a team of content creators, you will be able to generate more and better quality content from a wide range of perspectives allowing your school community to tell a richer and more vibrant story for your school district all while keeping your staff and student information safe and secure. You can’t do it alone.

Keep these things in mind:

  1. Empower others
  2. Establish a sustainable system
  3. Tell the stories from multiple perspectives

Even if your school is already using social media, you should ask yourself the question “why” in order to define the purpose of your social media content. If you’re using social media only because “the person before me was doing it” or “my boss told me to do it” or “everyone else is doing it,” then you’re using social media for the wrong reasons. Social media may benefit school districts in a wide variety of ways, and it can fulfill more than one purpose.

Review the list of reasons on the first clipboard, think about the why behind your district’s use of social media, and check the appropriate boxes. If your why is not included, be sure to add specific reasons in the spaces provided.

What are our social media team objectives? 

Now that you have a better understanding of why you’re using social media, it’s time to take a look at what you want to accomplish. These objectives should follow the smart goal planning process: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and anchored within a timeframe. If your district uses a similar type of goal setting process be sure to follow your district methodology. Review the list of objectives on the second clipboard and consider the goals your district would like to achieve during the next quarter, semester, or year. Check the objectives you would like to achieve and be sure to add additional goals, as needed.

What is our communication strategy? 

A school communication planning strategy is the basis for everything you share with your stakeholder groups. A solid communication plan must include a variety of systems utilized for different purposes. Social media is particularly important in that it is essential for almost every form of communication because it is such a powerful medium. If you don’t yet have a plan, check out Hubspot’s School Communication Planning Guide: Your How-to Guide for Making the Most of Today’s Communication Channels.

What is our social media policy? Do we have one? 

A school district’s social media policy must be robust enough to include staff and student expectations while also being maintainable from an enforcement perspective. When drafting this policy, be sure to take into consideration the use of school devices from all parties as well as guidelines for personal social media use. Each school district and community is unique in how these guidelines evolve, so be sure to include a variety of stakeholders in the discussion as you develop this policy. We also suggest that you review your state regulations and consult with your school lawyers. A solid reference for beginning the process is Edutopia’s How to Create Social Media Guidelines for Your School.

Jill Johnson

Over her 30 year career in education, Dr. Jill has served in various roles including secondary ELA teacher, professional development consultant, and high school administrator. After completing her doctoral study, Technology Leadership Qualities in Secondary Principals in Nebraska who Support Student-led Social Media Teams, Jill began her tenure as Class Intercom President.