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Shifting focus in school social media

It’s always challenging working in school PR, but the pressure is even greater as we navigate through COVID-19. Since last March, school social media has primary focused on logistics, closures, and re-openings related to COVID-19. Even though this type of information is important, it’s time to shift the focus in school social media back to stories about students and individuals in your schools. Learning is happening in schools whether on campus or online and it’s important to continue sharing this message with your community and families. Your job may look a little different now, but the story should not go untold.  

In an effort to be proactive and continue to be positive, here are a few reminders regarding social media use and school communications.

Shift the focus.

Generally speaking, much of the recent content is centered around procedures and policies.  Proactively shifting the focus to students and sharing the already great things happening will continue to create positivity while narrowing the perspective and focus. We must continue to show that our students are learning and growing. Showcasing student projects, volunteer work and celebrations are great ways to continue sharing stories. 

Photos.

Everyone wants to see photos showing the learning and great things happening in our classrooms and activities. By limiting photos to one or two students without a busy background, you are less susceptible to criticism or misunderstanding.  A group photo with social distancing may not look that way on the viewer end.  Pro Tip: If your school or community has a mask mandate, be mindful of asking students to remove masks for photos and how that would look to your audience. Certain captions might need to include a disclaimer listing when the photo was taken.

Video.

Are you using video to tell your school’s story? Video showcasing learning, growth and class events is amazing. Before you start recording video in your classroom or outside, be sure to have a plan. What is the goal of the video? Are you interviewing someone or are you showing what a student created? Be sure to think through those questions before and after you record the video. Again, just like the photo reminders above, video sharing can follow similar suggestions noted above.

Events.

Events may or may not be happening at your school. Many school events have either been canceled or the audience will be limited.

Privacy.

As always, please be aware of students (families) who have requested not to be featured on school social media, tv and other outlets.

Finally, when in doubt ask yourself, “Does this content create more questions than answers?” This question will help guide you in the proactive approach  to content creation.

Special thanks to Heather Callihan for contributing to this post. You can follow her on Twitter.

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