Article was updated: October 17th, 2016
Get ready to tweet, like, share, and follow – all while hashtagging of course – because today, June 30th, marks Social Media Day. What started out as AOL Instant Messenger and Myspace has now blossomed into sharing cat videos and people posting photos of meals to Instagram. You know, real important stuff.
Cat videos aside, social media is a powerful tool that has completely reshaped how people communicate. Now, more than ever, people are plugged in to the people and organizations around them. Businesses have picked up on this trend and now heavily market to customers via social media channels like Facebook or Twitter.
Schools, with their large populations of young people, are the perfect organizations to really see the benefits of social media. If your school doesn’t use social media to spread your message or it’s only being used infrequently, then today, National Social Media Day, might be the perfect opportunity to take full advantage.
Social media channels, be it Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest, come at no cost. They won’t charge you a dime. Setting up your account takes less than 10 minutes so the barriers to entry are very small. Considering that most students, as well as their parents, are on at least one social media platform, your potential reach can be extensive. In the past flyers, handouts, and notes home were the only ways to get messages to students and parents. Now, with a single tweet schools can let the entire community know about an upcoming event, fundraiser, or important announcement – so save yourself some ink.
It’s Useful For Events, Like SFSP Programs
One of social media’s strongest advantages is how potent it can be for spreading awareness of events. If a school has a big fundraiser coming up there’s no better way to let students and parents know than through social media. Summer Food Service Programs (SFSPs) are a perfect example of where social media can be used to the advantage of schools and students alike. Every summer, districts spend months attempting to reach every hungry student they can – sending out flyers, putting up posters, and shooting emails. If a district shared photos of their SFSP program and posted meal locations on their Facebook, they could reach students and parents they’d otherwise miss. Parents could easily communicate via social media if they had questions or needed directions.
For more on marketing your SFSP program, see my free webinar here.
Reach Students And Parents
Social media platforms are one of the few areas that schools can effectively reach both students and parents. Sure, posters up in the cafeteria might work great with some students for spreading information, but it’s unlikely few, if any, parents will see that messaging. On the other end of the spectrum, emails may be effective with parents but will probably fall flat with students. Social media, however, cuts across generational lines. With 78% of Americans having a social media profile, one Facebook post or Twitter tweet can reach hundreds or even thousands of students and parents simultaneously.
In the spirit of Social Media Day, share something today on your school or district profile. Not everything you post or tweet has to be of the utmost importance – have fun with it! If you found this article helpful, then go ahead and share it too. Information can be a huge determinant to success, so share it with both the professionals in your program, and others in the industry you may know.