If your PTO or PTA is using Facebook to connect with parents, don’t shut down your social operation once school lets out. Instead, look at summer as a great time to use Facebook to build your connections with parents. Here are some tips for a summer social plan.
When to post and how often
Aim to post two or three times a week—if you are getting lots of likes and shares, up the frequency. As far as when to post each day, experiment with posting later in the evenings as everyone’s bedtime seems to get later in summer.
What to post
The key is to be helpful and entertaining. Go off script from reporting on events and programs. Summer is a great time to show parents that your group is a key resource for them.
How to post
Mix up your post types throughout the week and do more lighthearted posts than weighty posts. Create a file for saving post ideas, photos, and URLs. You can use it throughout the summer.
Share information that’s light and breezy, like silly parenting tips and recipes (especially treats to make with kids). Who wouldn’t want to know how to make pizza bombs, for instance? Check out the recipefrom Buzzfeed Tasty videos. (Click on the image, and all the images in this post, to go to the website or Facebook page.)
Keep engagement going
Post a photo of your own summer fun—a backyard barbeque or beach day—and ask others to share their photos as well. Try this at least once a week and remember to add positive comments when parents share. If you don’t have a weekly photo of your own, trying taking photos of town events.
Here’s an example: This is a photo of my daughters and me reading together on an August morning in Maine. A simple post like this could be paired with a question about favorite books or vacation spots, or how folks like to spend quiet time with their kids.
Parents are usually starved for information on how to keep their kids active and productive during the summer. Try posting at least once a week about fun activities. One great source: Pinterest. Do searches with words like “summer bucket list” or “boredom busters for kids.” When you see a pin you like, click on it to make sure the pin takes you to a legitimate website. It’s helpful to post a link and photo on your Facebook page from the website to give the source credit. Shortcut: Go to our Parent Resources board on Pinterest to grab ideas for activity posts, like this one from whilehewasnapping.com
Summer reading resources
Share information about summer reading programs in your community, and post articles with book suggestions by grade level. Ask the school librarian or literacy coach to recommend a favorite book. If possible, record a video of them reading the book aloud or talking about why they like it.
Do a Google search on “travel tips for kids.” You’ll find lots of blogs that feature ideas and hacks to make family vacations easier. Sprinkle these tips on your Facebook page throughout the summer. Here’s a good one from yourmodernfamily.com—an I Spy bag filled with little trinkets.
Summer camp hacks
Parents will love any camp tips they can get. You can easily find them with a Google search. Post tips about what kids should bring to camp, either linking to a blog with a list, or post individual tips during the early weeks of summer. This list from kidsareatrip.com is worth a share:
Parents may get local news online and from newspapers, but it’s always helpful to post about upcoming events for kids. Include links, dates, and times. Your best resources: local newspaper, library, and town recreation department.
When there’s news, post it. Parents may be waiting for the 2016-17 school calendar, for example, and even though the school will publish it, it’s helpful to get it on your page as well.
Make sure to check with the principal to see if any important news will be coming this summer. Information like new hires, landscaping, or building renovations will be exciting news to school families. Get permission from the principal before posting building photos.
As you get later into the summer, you’ll start having news about your group. As soon as you get dates for next year’s events, post them. If your group has other news—perhaps someone is finally taking an important board position!—let families know.
Hold a contest that encourages people to share a post from your group or to make their own post and tag the group. In this contest, families took a picture of the school mascot with them on their summer activities, then shared photos with the mascot in them on Facebook.
Inspirational quotes and humor
Folks love a good chuckle or a great quote. Just think about what you like and share on Facebook. Try collecting fun posts when you see them and save them to share at a later time by clicking on the post’s time stamp and copying the URL. (Add it to that file you created!) Shortcut: Go to the PTO Today Facebook page and click on photos. Grab any of the PTO Today quotes, like this one below, by clicking on the image, selecting “options,” and then downloading it. You’re welcome to share.
Share Internet safety tips and call it Tech Tuesday. For Throwback Thursday, invite parents and teachers to post a photo of themselves from their school days. On Fridays, post information about weekend events and label the posts Family Fridays.
Very casual recruitment efforts
It’s OK to occasionally ask for volunteers during the summer, but do so in a casual way. We have lots of resources on our site that are great for explaining why volunteering is important. This is more of a “planting the seed” approach, which parents will appreciate much more than anything heavy-handed.
Originally posted in 2016 and updated regularly.