If you are the lucky one who has the responsibility of posting to your classroom, school, or district Facebook page, you likely spend time wondering what the heck to post. You might even wake up in a cold sweat wondering if you posted anything the previous day or beating yourself up because you didn’t post something that was awesome and now the moment is gone. Like everything else in school leadership, if you can create a system for the reoccurring task, you will be less stressed. This is my 4 part system for Facebook (and potentially other social media) posting. You simply need to create a content calendar, crowd source your content, automate the posting, and audit for equity.
Create a Facebook Content Calendar
The content calendar can be a simple Excel document or Google Sheet with a column of “who” will be featured, and a row for “when” the “who” will post. The who is made up of clubs, athletics, departments, schools, staff, grade levels, classrooms etc. Basically, I think of the who column as my content buckets. You want to make sure that your Facebook Page tells the story of your school, so you want to make sure the content buckets come from all relevant and important voices. For the when row, you want to make sure that you decide how many times each day you want to post and create a column for each time. Use your school calendar to begin filling in the content calendar. Remember, I’m not advocating turning your Facebook Page into an event calendar, simply use Facebook to link people to the calendar already on the school webpage. One last thing to indicate is the type of post you want. You can do this by color coding the types of posts. For example photos could be red, videos green, text updates blue. This will help you see variety at a glance. To make sure each “who” has a voice, set goals for how many times each group should be shared from each month.
Crowd Source the Content Calendar
When you are creating the content calendar, asking students and teachers and other stakeholders to contribute will help you create the plan much faster. There are a variety of ways to crowd source the content. Here are my 3 suggestions:
1. Share other peoples’ pages. If the FFA has a page, share their content. If the second grade teacher has a page, share the content. If the National PTA posts a great article that would add value to the community, post it!
2. Create a form that is easy to find on the school website. Show people where the form is and ask them to fill it out if they witness something great happening at school. Use the information when creating the content calendar.
3. Create a shared document or folder where people can put pictures or videos with explanations. Use this document or folder when creating the content calendar.
These tips are only helpful if people actually do these things. Take a couple minutes in a staff meeting and ask teachers to put information where you find it most useful. Celebrating students and staff is a great way to start every meeting.
Automate Automate Automate!
Once you have built your content calendar, you can automate the posting. Facebook allows you to schedule each post. As you can see in the picture below. Simply pick the date and time you want to the post to go live. This is helpful because you can sit down for an hour or two every couple of weeks and “batch” a bunch of content. This will relieve you mind, and you can continue to focus on the other work of being a school leader.
In addition to scheduling on Facebook, you can use other tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, Meet Edgar, and Post Planner. Personally, I use Post Planner because I fell in love with their blog. I always find really great suggestions about what content to post. Their automation tool allows you to schedule content on up to five social media channels which is great. It also provides lots of content from other page (and you can add other pages to follow in your niche — like your school rival’s page), and it rates that content, so you can see just how viral the post went. I often share content from other Pages I follow. Post planner also lets you repeat posts which is great for Twitter because the life of a tweet is very short.
If you’d like to try Post Planner and you use this link, I might get a dollar to buy my daily McDonald’s Diet Coke because it is an affiliate link, but I wouldn’t put the link here if I didn’t think the product was outstanding. Its really affordable, and the content suggestions make it totally worth the $84 a year investment.
Audit Your Content
Equity is extremely important in our schools, and while there are a lot of equity issues outside of a school leader’s control, what is on the school’s Facebook Page is absolutely within our control. The content calendar helps us make sure a variety of student voices are heard from on a regular and consistent basis. However, the content calendar cannot identify our internal biases. It is important to do an audit once a month to check for equity in regards to gender. When you look at your athletic posts, if 75% of the posts feature boys athletics, it is your responsibility to even that out. It is also important to do an audit once a month to check to equity in regards to race and ethnicity. Is your Facebook Page representative of your entire student body? That is important! If it is not, fix it. Just having read this suggestion will help you be more aware of the content you put out there. Tony Sinanis, author of The Power of Branding: Telling Your School’s Story, always says, “Be sure your brand promise matches your brand experience!”