First, Ask a Few Key Questions
Learn how your community participates on social media. (Try a simple email survey.) You may discover that your school’s parents are big Facebook users but don’t use Twitter. Or it may be the other way around. Follow their lead.
How will you use social media? You can post event updates, but consider using it to engage your community by highlighting all the great stuff you do and asking parents to comment, too.
Then, Take Care of Organizational Tasks
Designate a person as your social media administrator. Limit administration privileges to one or two people to keep things simple. Administrators set up the accounts, add photos, post information, and monitor and delete comments as needed.
We recommend connecting with the principal to convey what you want to do with social media. Technically, you don’t need the principal’s permission if you are an independent group. But most principals will appreciate a heads-up.
Now you’re set to begin!
Stay focused on building your community. Promote your page with its URL and ask parents to “like” your page. Search for Facebook groups to join. Scan your news feed and share good content from others.
Keep your posts on the short side. Experts suggest posts of just a few words (think one brief sentence) perform best. Encourage people to like them, comment, and share.
Keep it simple and rely on images to tell your story. A 30-second video from your spaghetti supper tells the story better than several lines of text.
Encourage comments and don’t squelch negative ones unless they are inflammatory or false. Respond to negative comments with a helpful, constructive post. These are actually good opportunities to get out information or clear up a misunderstanding.
Plan regular discussions with your board to decide what content to post. It helps to plan ahead and you’ll find it saves lots of time. So sketch out a plan for posts or create a detailed calendar—whatever works best for you.
Other Social Channels
Time permitting, you can set up additional accounts for the more popular channels like Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter. Make sure you have the manpower to monitor these accounts, and post on a schedule that works for you.
Keep in mind that photos and videos rule on the most popular channels and you will generate more engagement by including them. So make sure you have the necessary permissions from the staff and parents to use photos.
Pinterest has evolved from an online bulletin board to a pretty powerful way to save and organize visual information.
Set up a series of boards using categories that reflect what your group does—for example, welcome-back party, fall festival, community service, etc. Then upload photos (again, check on photo usage issues) and populate your boards.
Also create boards that can be resources for parents. These could include important educational, parenting, and social topics.
Spend time in your Pinterest feed to find pins from others that you can repin to your boards. Also plug in relevant terms into the search field to find pins for repinning.
Instagram is a popular photo- and video-driven channel that would be a great way for your group to share images from events and program.
Think of Instagram as a truly mobile channel. While you can view Instagram on your desktop or laptop, it needs to be managed from your mobile device.
A rule of thumb: It’s best to share photos and video that capture a moment rather than share general information in an image format. In other words, grab a series of photos from the ice cream social and post them to Instagram. Infographics, instructions, calendars, flyers, and other visual information items tend to perform better on Facebook or Pinterest.
Twitter continues to be a great way to send out short bursts of information.
For PTOs and PTAs, this channel works best for reminders, announcements, and sending out thank-yous to volunteers. Lots of folks regularly include images in their tweets now as well, and Twitter has made it easier to attach photos and quick videos.
It’s also a great channel for sharing links to articles and other resources on parenting, education, and parent group topics, like fundraising and parent involvement.