Sunday, April 10, 2016

So You Have A Facebook Page...Now What?

So you have finally taken the plunge and created a Facebook page for your school or district.  Now what? Here are a few simple steps to get the most out of your school's social media tool.

If you are a school leader, this should not be that difficult.  If it is, there is your problem, start there. Social media is good, but it is not THAT good.  If you do not have great things happening in your schools, you really don't have anything to share.  However, I find that hard to believe.  There are so many stories happening in your school each and every day just waiting to be shared.  Share those stories on your school's Facebook page.

From my experiences, here are the four most common types of Facebook posts in order of highest user engagement (meaning they like, share, or comment) to the least engaging content.

  • Video - Doesn't have to be long.  We had the Columbus Zoo come to our school, and a 6 second clip of an animal jumping from a rope was watched over 7000 times.  This is video uploaded directly to Facebook, not a link to YouTube.  A link to YouTube is a website link (read below).  Our weekly video newsletter is uploaded to Facebook and then separately to YouTube.
  • Photo - A simple photograph of students engaged in learning will engage your audience.  Have 11 students qualify for the state science fair? Even better.
  • Website link - Even if this is a link to something on your school's website, your families are more likely to see it on your Facebook page than on your school website.
  • Plain text - This is usually the least engaging type of content.  If you need to share some important information about an upcoming event, you are better off including a photo.


Okay. I am going to let you in on a secret here.  Facebook uses an algorithm to determine what content shows up on your fans' Facebook News Feed.  Wait, do you mean that all of my content is not showing up on all of my fans' News Feeds every time I post something?  Bingo!  Based on the user's previous engagement with your content, the algorithm will determine if it will show up on their News Feed.  The more you provide engaging content, the more fans you will reach. 

You would be amazed, or maybe not, how many schools have created a Facebook page and then rarely use it. Ideally, you should be sharing at least one piece of content each day.  A photo with a brief caption is considered content.  I see schools that have a Facebook page that have not posted in months.  You are not building a great relationship with your school's fans by doing this.  Can't do a post per day?  No worries.  Even if you are posting content three times per week, you are giving you audience a glimpse into the positive things that are happening in your schools.  Isn't that one of the main reasons you created a school Facebook page in the first place?

Ryan is the principal of Big Walnut Intermediate School in Sunbury, Ohio and the co-author of Your School Rock...So Tell People!

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