8 Social Media Accounts to Learn From#Leadership
Advancing K12 Staff
by Advancing K12 StaffRead time:
Social media is an essential component of any modern school district communication plan. But there's a difference between having accounts set up and actually using them to forward your mission. These eight districts have the right idea.
For this article, we combed through the nearly 2,000 districts that make up our extended Skyward family, with the goal of picking out two stellar examples from each of the four most popular K-12 platforms:
Districts need not check every "best practice" box; instead, these examples are doing at least one platform exceptionally well. You don't have to establish a strong presence on every social media site, but it helps to have a baseline to work from.
If you find your district behind the eight ball and want to make the case for prioritizing social media to your leadership team, the followings and engagement enjoyed by these districts should be reason enough to make this a priority.
1) Center Grove Schools, Indiana (Twitter)@center_grove / #E3CG
Center Grove has made an art form of edubranding. With just one glance at this Twitter page, the district's mission and culture jump off the screen. The "exceptional educational experience" slogan is reflected in #E3CG, a hashtag that checks all the boxes of unique, memorable, and aligned with the brand. The high level of engagement with the district's content speaks to its relevance and quality.
Key takeaway: Center Grove provides a model for the ideal blend of important tweets from the district account itself and consistent retweets of those who make its vision a reality. The best district Twitter accounts don't just serve as a delivery vehicle for important announcements; they also serve to amplify the voices that make up your culture.
2) Klein Independent School District, Texas (YouTube)YouTube channel: KleinISDVideos
Klein ISD's prolific YouTube work runs the gamut of purpose and audience. From live streams of important events to PSAs, board meetings, and principal spotlights, this large Texas district's video crew is doing its part to advance KISD's "promise to purpose" brand. Branded intros and channel imagery serve to reinforce the message, while adding to the production value of the content.
Key takeaway: KISD's weekly series, 90 Seconds with Bret, featured superintendent Dr. Bret Champion, is a shining example of how YouTube can serve as a primary platform for district leadership. Dr. Champion's energy in these videos is infectious, and he navigates topics ranging from informational to celebratory with the kind of transparency only video can capture.
3) Leon County Schools, Florida (Instagram)@leoncountyschools
Instagram is the most visually appealing social media platform, but few districts have incorporated it into their communication strategies the way Leon County has. With more than 3,000 posts and 14,000 followers, LCS has embraced the power of visual storytelling to open a window into what's happening in every corner of this large district. The posts come across as fun, spontaneous, and informative when necessary - an ideal combination for this platform.
Key takeaway: The LCS district account has, at times, adopted an almost Twitter-like approach to serving as a conduit and amplifier for posts from the individual schools that fall under their umbrella. Although Instagram doesn't have a sharing option similar to a retweet, LCS accomplishes the same goal by reposting the image with a small identifier of the original source in the corner of the image and caption (see example here). That's ingenuity.
4) Minnetonka Public Schools, Minnesota (Facebook)@minnetonkaschools
Parent engagement is a recurring point of emphasis here at Advancing K12, and one look at Minnetonka's Facebook page reveals this district as a national leader in that category. With an audience of 10,000, this account has serious reach! Minnetonka averages about one post per day on a variety of topics. Followers are notified of upcoming events, district programs are highlighted, and every success is celebrated.
Key takeaway: If you want to see an example of native Facebook video done well, pay a visit to Minnetonka's page. Not only are the videos beautifully edited and branded, but recent additions even include captions - a must for Facebook, where video content is muted by default. With the average video boasting more than 1,000 views (and some much higher), it's clear that the district is doing something right.
5) Pulaski Community School District, Wisconsin (Twitter)@pcsd / #RaiderStrong
Pulaski's Twitter account is proof that you don't have to be a big district to enjoy the benefits of social media. With 3,600 kids in seven schools, PCSD's enrollment is closer to the mean than any of the districts featured above, but that doesn't stop the Raiders from making their presence felt. Engagement is strong throughout the district, and the #RaiderStrong feed reveals a small-town pride and passionate educators.
Key takeaway: Share teachers' perspectives through retweeting, and see how their authentic selves engage the community.
6) Spring-Ford Area School District, Pennsylvania (Instagram)@springfordasd
Spring-Ford ASD's Instagram account offers broad appeal for its primary audiences of employees, parents, and students (along with some pretty creative snow day announcements). The district mixes in photographs and video, making full use of the opportunities afforded by the platform.
Key takeaway: Some districts make the mistake of taking themselves too seriously on social media, but the appeal of Spring-Ford's Instagram account is that they don't. Amidst the typical student and staff showcase images, you'll find a smattering of fun memes, inspirational messages, and sunsets. This district is proof that you don't need a $5,000 camera and perfect lighting to connect with your Instagram audience; a little creativity and freedom will get the job done just fine.
7) West Allegheny School District, Pennsylvania (Facebook)WASD Facebook page
WASD is another example of a relatively small district with a big social media presence. Its Facebook account is followed by more than 5,000 people, which is impressive, considering the district's enrollment of around 3,500. Followers can expect a post per day on average, every one of which is accompanied by some type of visual media. Followers can use #WeAreOne (emphasis on the W and A).
Key takeaway: If a picture is worth a thousand words, West Allegheny is miles ahead of the curve. Zillions (not an exact count) of photos and videos give all followers a taste of what life in WASD is like for students, teachers, and administrators. By sharing these images, the district is creating a lasting record of milestones, events, and successes for its community to look back on for years to come.
8) Williamson County Schools, Tennessee (YouTube)YouTube channel: wcsedu
With new videos published every 1-2 days on average, WCS has clearly made video a priority in its communication strategy. Content includes celebrations, student projects, and event promos (Garth Brooks even makes an appearance). The format showcases student journalism The district has taken the helpful step of separating out building-specific videos between their elementary, middle, and high schools using playlists. Each school has a special first day feature video. The entire channel highlights the importance of people in the district.
Key takeaway: Shouldn't your students be the ones telling your story? Williamson County's Week in Review is one of the finest series of its kind, blending student voice and simple editing into a comprehensive review of what's been happening in various buildings on any given week. Watch the example above - this is the kind of thing that any district, regardless of size or budget, can start doing right now.
It has been a joy to watch social media blossom into an important communication resource for school districts. Leadership is one of the most important factors in this endeavor, and you'll find a common theme among the districts showcased above - most (if not all) of them have superintendents who not only buy in to the value of social, but who are actively engaged and highly visible themselves.
You may not feel like you have the resources to live up to the example set by the districts on this list, but social media is one of those ventures that needs little more than a seed and some nurturing to blossom into something special.
- EdTech Playbook: The District Website
- The School District of Milton: Communication Done Right
- EdTech Playbook: Twitter for Educators
|Advancing K12 Staff Edtech Thought Leaders