Sunday, January 24, 2016

Don't Just Be A Firehose

When Eric and I wrote Your School Rocks...So Tell People, it wasn't just about trying to hustle some books. We have witnessed a tremendous positive impact on our schools by using different social media platforms and we wanted to share those strategies with anyone who was interested. Now that the book is out and in the hands of educators, we want to continue to provide ongoing tips that will make your use of social media that much more effective.  The one point I want to really hammer home is this:  do not be a firehose.

Often times, when we talk about communicating as a school, it happens to be one-way communication.  I don't think we do it on purpose and we do it with the best of intentions.  We want our community to be informed. Just as much as our communities appreciate being informed, they also want something else.  They want to be heard.

As you are using the various forms of social media to share all of the great things that are happening in your classrooms and schools, don't forget to listen.  Two-way communication does not have to happen in the comment section of Facebook.  If it is appropriate, then go for it.   If it is not, pick up the phone and have a discussion.  But don't just use social media to disseminate information.  Use it to build relationships and have meaningful conversations.  That is what is going to benefit your school 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Video Trick for Instagram

Our school does a weekly video newsletter each week (Chapter 2 in Your School Rocks...So Tell People) and we distribute the link via a variety of platforms (Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, email, and our school website).  That hits pretty much everyone except our students.

The social media tool of choice for our student demographic is Instagram.  The problem we have encountered is, a video on Instagram is limited to about 15 seconds and you cannot put hyperlinks in your Instagram posts (well played Instagram, well played).  With our video newsletter usually being 2-3 minutes in length, it has been difficult to use the tool our students use most as a method of distribution.

Many of our parents have told me they watch the weekly video newsletter together as a family.  That is great, but how can we reach our students in which that does not occur?  How can we reach them on Instagram?

I'll admit, this is not the most seamless way to do it, but it is a fairly simple work around.

  1. Edit your Instagram profile and insert the link to the designated video where it allows you to enter a website.
  2. Post a screenshot of the video or a short clip of the video itself as you would normally do when posting to Instagram.
  3. In the caption, inform the user they can see the video in its entirety by clicking on the link on your profile.
Our plan is to change the video link on our profile page each week.  Here is a quick video that will walk you through the process.

Are you using video newsletters or Instagram to connect with your families?  If so, we'd love to hear about it.