Using social media, and Facebook specifically, in schools has gone from taboo to necessary in a very short amount of time, and the truth is most school leaders are not trained on how to “do social”. This post aims to support school leaders as you try to embrace social media to tell your school’s story. I’m in the process of developing an online course that will dive deeper into Facebook for School Leaders. If you’d like to be notified when that course becomes available, please drop your email in the box quick.
Lets Dive in with the 3 Different Ways to Engage with Facebook
You likely have a personal Facebook profile. If you are like me you reunited with some high school friends, talked with cousins far away, and laughed at some of the hilarious memes that randomly show up in your timeline. For the longest time, I wanted to keep my personal Facebook profile separate from my professional life. I rarely shared “school” stuff in this space for fear of becoming too political or too boring. However, as I built my PLN (professional and personal learning network), the personal and professional lines started to blur. Suddenly, my “school friends” we showing up in my feed, and I was engaging in their content…and ultimately their lives. Regardless of how much school is infiltrating my Facebook feed, I chose not to share stories about students or teachers in my school on my personal page. I felt uncomfortable about that, and I was hesitant to cross that boundary. I’ll write about that at a later time. I’m adding it to my list.
Another way to engage with Facebook is through the Groups feature. Prior to six months ago, I did not get the group feature. I saw groups being used for regional garage sale sights with people buying and selling tons of stuff. I also saw some classroom teachers using the group feature for their students’ parents and grandparents. While that is an excellent way to begin if the district’s policies prevent actual pages from being built, it leaves me feeling left out of the story that I desperately want to see. Recently, I’ve discovered some very active Facebook groups that I use to for professional learning. I’m considering starting a Facebook group for the teachers and leaders I work with because what happens in the Facebook group is only visible to members of the group. You can make groups open or closed, and you can even set them to secret, so no one can search for it. The benefit of using Facebook Groups for professional groups is simply being where people already are. There is no denying that people are on Facebook a lot, so if you put learning opportunities in that space, people will click…and read…and click some more. Please join On The Vendor Floor’s recently started Facebook Group. The purpose of the group is to engage educators and entrepreneurs in conversations that enhance learning! I also have a group for school leaders managing their social media. That is a perfect group to join if you want to learn from some of the best school public relations people I know.
The last way to engage in Facebook for your school is by creating a Facebook Page. You can adjust the settings of your pages, so that they suit your needs and match up with your district policies. This includes assigning roles to others who may also post on the page or analyze the data. Facebook pages provide an array of analytics that help you see what content people are engaging with and when they engage. The data is helpful to see the growth of your page and the impact it is having on your school culture. I also use Facebook Pages to stay current on educational topics. Most businesses and organizations use Facebook Pages to communicate research and trends in education. Sometimes it is even appropriate to share their content on your page.