All can agree that communicating via social media brings schools closer to their students, parents, and communities. While social media provides an instant and interactive way to communicate, the nature of social media creates a much more complex process in executing, monitoring and managing to ensure the safety of students, staff and school reputation. However, when implemented correctly, social media is an amazing resource in sharing a school’s mission, accomplishments and messages.

So, where do schools and districts across the country stand today in their social media practices and policies? How does your school district compare?

To help answer these questions, and much more, Class Intercom surveyed educators and administrators across the country to find out more about how they are using social media. Pulling together the experiences of both individual schools and districts both public and private, Class Intercom compiled the “2019-2020 Social Media Trends in Education Report” to help share both the status and direction of social.

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In evaluating the report results, here’s what schools and districts should take away as they plan for their social media practices, policies, and curriculum for 2020.

  1. Establish Process and Tools
    While many educational districts and schools have ventured onto social communications, only 35% are utilizing social media management software to securely draft, moderate and monitor social channels. Social management software provides the resources educational organizations need to implement best practices and processes to create collaborative and secure social communications for schools. Nearly another 20% of schools share that they recognize the need and have plans to implement social media management software in 2020.
  2. Know Your Audience
    Knowing your audience means that you not only know what messages need to be shared but also where to share the information. Selecting the right social channels to communicate through helps get content to the exact target audience, this means that you should be communicating on multiple social channels. Most schools and districts (88%) shared Facebook is the best means for reaching parents. When it came to students, 75% of schools felt Instagram was the best way to communicate on social and only 44% of districts leaned on Instagram for student outreach.  Audience reach was one of the top areas where schools and districts had some unalignment, view the report to find out how.
  3. Share Stories
    One of the top ways to engage your audience is to share personal stories and accomplishments of your students and staff. By personalizing your content, it brings your school and district’s events and successes closer to your audience. Schools and districts are smaller communities of students, staff, parents, and alumni brought together in a common interest of each individual school’s success. By sharing personalized stories, the faces of those accomplishments are brought closer to home.
  4. Seeing Social Media as Educational
    Schools are beginning to work on integrating social media marketing and management into their curriculum. From marketing and journalism courses to ad clubs and DECA, schools are beginning to allow a student to contribute to their social content. With 37% of the schools and districts surveyed already allowing student content contributions and another 45% planning to integrate student social into their programs in the next year, student-generated social is a popular and growing part of a wholistic cross-curricular education.
  5. Invest in Your Messaging
    Many schools have overlooked the need and value of investing in social ads and boosted social posts. With posts often getting an organic reach of less than 5%, a small budget can go a long way in increasing engagement to expand your content reach. The more engagement a post receives, the higher the organic reach it has. Only 19% of survey respondents have invested in social advertising in the past with 52% investing less than $100. While wrapping your head around paying for social may seem excessive to ensure you get noticed, compare that to the cost of paper, time stuffing envelopes and postage.

The full 2019-2020 Social Media Trends in Education Report is available for download. You can access the report here to see where schools are headed on social media in the next year.