As a public school leader, you've likely heard concerns about the potential for negative feedback on social media. It's a common concern for school districts and often comes up whenever anyone suggests the school post more frequently.
This concern often comes from experiences district leaders have had in the past or anecdotes they've heard from peers. It's true that people will often say things on social media from the protection of their own home that they wouldn't say at an open school board meeting or in the hall of an elementary school. But we're here to tell you it isn't all doom and gloom. By sharing the amazing things happening in your district, you can empower your fans, reduce negative comments, and infrequently have to respond as a district.
Our extensive experience has shown that sharing positive stories and updates about the amazing things happening in your district can have a powerful impact on your community, and the likelihood of receiving negative comments is often lower than you may expect.
There are several benefits of communicating through social media
Builds trust with your community
Improves the district's reputation
Increases community involvement
When parents and community members see updates about the extraordinary work being done by teachers, students, and staff, they are more likely to have a favorable view of your district and be more engaged with your social media channels. Additionally, sharing positive stories and updates from around the district can help build a sense of community and pride within your district, which can positively impact student and staff morale.
By proactively and frequently sharing behind-the-scenes, positive content, you can help balance out any negative perceptions and ensure that your community sees a more accurate representation of what's happening in your district. In a recent Gallup study, 73 percent of parents of school-aged children say they are satisfied with the quality of education their oldest child is receiving. While there are a variety of reasons for this, having first-hand knowledge of the day-to-day activities in the classroom and the commitment of educators certainly increases the trust in public schools.
It's important to note that while communicating through social media can have many benefits, it's critical to do so in an authentic and transparent way. Districts that frequently share daily moments from around their schools have higher engagement and affinity than those schools that only share announcements and district news. These glimpses into the classroom, hallways, and practice fields help build a positive view of the district and reinforce the dedication of teachers, administrators, and staff.
Our public school clients post thousands of times per year, sharing content with their community multiple times daily. Not every post can be a smiling child or dedicated educator. Sometimes, they must share last-minute closures, staffing changes, or safety concerns.
When the occasional negative comment arises, we've seen time and again that parents and community members will come to the school district's defense. Frequently, we've witnessed one negative comment on a social media post met with a flurry of positive comments defending the district, effectively shutting down the conversation before it gained traction.
In these districts, the community has daily insight into the positive interactions students have with educators, with each other, and with leaders in the community. These districts have built trust with parents and non-parents, and those community members go out of their way to support their school.
Sharing on social media is essential for public schools to build a positive reputation, engage their community, and counteract negative perceptions. So don't be afraid to share the amazing things happening in your district, and remember the power of good news.