Social Media Checklist: Parent Engagement Made Easy Social Media Checklist: Parent Engagement Made Easy

Social Media Checklist: Parent Engagement Made Easy

#Culture
by Lexi Beecher
Lexi Beecher Lexi Beecher Edtech Thought Leader
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Increasing parent engagement is a common goal among school districts. Even though this objective lives on the mental vision boards of countless K-12 professionals, achieving this aim is easier said than done.

We know that high parent engagement is linked to positive outcomes like better academic performance and smoother school-to-home communication. So, how can we invite parents and guardians to engage in a way that’s convenient, easy, and FUN? Get ready to stop, drop, and scroll, because we’re talking social media.

 

1. Promote your Presence

First things first—you need to meet your audience where they are. Then, you need to let them know you’re there!

While not every parent is on social media, a sizeable chunk of them log in every day. In fact, about three out of four adults in the U.S. are active social media users! So, take a look around and see where your audience is online (when in doubt, Facebook is a great place to start).

That said, your district probably already has a few social media accounts running. If this is the case, do families at your district know about them? A few simple tricks can help you increase awareness (and followers!):
  • Add icons and links on your parent-facing communication channels
Think district website, faculty email signatures, pamphlets—the list goes on!
  • Have a school newsletter? Include links to content on your channels to drive traffic to your social media pages
“Our annual art show took place last night! Head over to our Facebook page to view the award recipients.”
  • Plug your accounts during the enrollment process
After all, your social pages can help families to stay up to date with important announcements and alerts—things every parent is interested in!

 

2. Provide Value

Now that families are aware of your district’s social media presence, you need to make them want to stick around. Why would parents want to follow and interact with your school’s social media content? Ask yourself this and be sure you have a clear understanding of your answers.

When in doubt, go right to the source—you can always ask your audience what they’d like to see!

What’s more, with an endless stream of content available, parents and guardians have a limited amount of attention while scrolling. Your job is to give them a reason to stop, consume, and interact with your school’s content—no easy feat when there are plenty of other posts they could be looking at. Here are a few ways school districts provide show-stopping value:
  • Share important dates, events, reminders, and alerts
No family wants to forget their child’s holiday concert or the upcoming half-day on the schedule!
  • Provide fun behind-the-scenes content
Share the artwork, share the science projects, share the learning—parents want to see it!
  • Celebrate your successes
Have a faculty member who goes above and beyond? A student who won an award? A sports team heading to state? Shout your successes from the rooftops!

Pro Tip: Be sure to follow your district’s guidelines regarding the use of student likenesses in photos or videos. Oftentimes, parents indicate whether or not their students have permission to be pictured in content. Always ensure you have this permission before posting!

 

3. Encourage Engagement

Now that your pages are chock-full of value, it’s time to optimize your posts for engagement. This might seem too good to be true, but if you want to boost engagement, just ask for it! By actively inviting families to participate in posts, your pages will be less of a sounding board for your district and more of an active conversation stream for stakeholders. To spark engagement, you can:
  • End a caption with a question
Asking something like “What was your favorite subject in school?” is a great way to invite families to leave a comment.
  • Leverage interactive content
Polls provide another quick and easy way for parents to get involved.
  • Add “stickers” to Facebook and Instagram stories
Creating a quiz, adding an emoji slider, or answering follower-submitted questions are fun ways to encourage responses.

Always remember the golden rule of engagement: the easier it is for someone to engage with a piece of content, the more likely they are to do it!

 

4. Engagement is a Two-Way Street

It’s not enough to post valuable content that’s primed for engagement—your district needs to engage right back! Now, this doesn’t mean using your district pages to comment “Happy birthday! 🎉” on parents’ accounts. In fact, they’d probably find that a little odd. What you should do is acknowledge individuals when they engage with your accounts and content. Here are a few easy ways to do it:
  • Respond to direct messages
You’ll want to be timely, professional, and responsive when families and community members send you a message. Even if you can’t answer their question right there in the chat, point them in the direction of someone or something that can help.
  • React and reply to comments
When people take the time to leave a comment on your district’s post, be sure to like it (or love it, or celebrate it, etc.). A simple reply, such as, “Thank you for your kind words, Mary!” can go a long way, too. Everyone wants to feel acknowledged and appreciated.

By now your head is probably buzzing with great ideas to implement on your school district’s social media accounts. Try new things, find inspiration in peers, and share your school’s successes with the online world. Your classrooms and hallways are already an engaging place to be full of meaningful conversations—let’s bring that energy to your social media channels, too!

 

Follow-up resource: Learn from other districts

Learn how districts use technology to tell their stories. From branding to social, there's something new for you to learn!

 

Lexi Beecher Lexi Beecher Edtech Thought Leader
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