Written by Clay Reisler, Digital Learning Specialist at Pulaski High School
Back in the day, cruising the strip was a way to show off your ride and interact with kids from high school. It’s no different now, except “showing off your ride” is showing off your high school through social media on the digital strip. At Pulaski High School, our students want to show off all of the great things that make up their school.
I have learned that it’s one thing to start a social media team at your school, but it’s an entirely different thing to sustain it. We have had students creating content and monitoring our social media feed since March of 2018, but to “keep things running” we have incorporated several strategies that have helped in sustaining quality created content throughout the year. Here are some of the strategies that have worked for us:
1) Connecting Names with Events
Create a list of events on a spreadsheet that needs to have content created for it. Connect dates with that content and at a meeting ask students where their interests are focused. When students display their interests, type their name directly with the event. We learned that once the name gets connected with the events and dates, students become more accountable. It’s displayed every meeting to ensure that students understand their connection with events in their school.
While adding names and events to a spreadsheet has been great, not everyone looks at this spreadsheet. Having a single whiteboard dedicated to social media ideas, tools, and responsibilities in a visible place in our meeting room creates a stage that allows no one to hide. Attaching names and ideas and viewing them every week has added to consistently creating.
Since names have been attached to events, teams, and successes when a post has been missed the rest of our students notice. In a recent event, a baseball game day post was missed. One of the student members of our social media team emailed the group and essentially called that post and that person out for missing the event. As the advisor, this was interesting because it proves that since the inception of our group, students do have a sense of ownership to the point of holding each other accountable.
2) Highlight and Celebrate Students
It’s important to praise students. I’m continually amazed that students create content for other people without getting much in return. The creator is essentially anonymous as they promote other students and their high school. Success has been found in several strategies that promote our creators. Sending a positive email once someone completes a task is vital. Seeing them in the hall and thanking students during every opportunity builds acknowledgment and appreciation. Another successful strategy is to promote the individual Twitter or Instagram accounts of social media team members. A successful slogan placed in a “quote retweet” has been “Hire This Person”. This places an indirect arrow toward the students that continue to create the content for our high school. It also helps to model great social media behavior.
During our weekly meetings, we view and congratulate students on the posts that are created. We also emphasize the amount of interaction with the posts that we review. We feel this gives validation and encouragement to the authors and helps us to see what posts work.
3) Encourage Digital Collaboration
Developing a shared resource or folders with logos, audio tags, and ideas has also assisted in sustaining content. As the advisor, modeling great online creation and interacting has been imperative to sustaining content creation as well.
Like anything, starting something is easier than sustaining something. We have found that so much of our success by the social media team run by our high school students revolves around ownership, connection, and collaboration. Connecting to something meaningful is powerful. The students connect to this high school and work to “tell their story”. Connect the students to their high school, sit back, and watch them “cruise the strip” by creating content that tells their high school’s story.
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