Using video to optimize your Facebook reach

Video is king of social media. I know it, you know it, we all know it. Even amidst the constant fluctuation of Facebook algorithm changes, video remains a huge part of Facebook. The average video post on our Parkway Schools Facebook page reaches four times more people on average than a post with a photo and eight times more on average than a post containing a link.

Rather than try to beat the game, just make awesome stuff! Post as much video content as you can. If you don’t think you can do it because you lack the equipment or expertise, consider this: the majority of content can be done with a tool you carry with you every day – your phone. Some of my favorite apps to edit video on my phone are iMovie and GoPro’s Splice. If you have an Android phone, Videoshop is a terrific tool.

Here are some tips on what type of content works best:

Interviewing kids:
Seems obvious right? But anytime you put a camera in front of a few students and ask a simple question, they often say some of the most funny, smart and genuine things you could imagine.

Spin on what’s hot:
Seen the #MannequinChallenge? Maybe the Tasty videos? Keep updated on the latest trends and create something similar that ties in to your district in a unique way.

Kindness counts:
Feel-good, emotional stories usually do very well on social media. Did students open up a food pantry, donate time or have a special friendship? Those stories tug heartstrings.

Have fun! We have terrific kids among us who do amazing things every day. Hollywood studios would love to have what we have. Go capture those moments!

Facebook algorithm changes could affect your reach

After years of pushing page content and filling our news feeds with content from area businesses, pages we’ve liked and advertising based on our searches, Facebook has made yet another change. This summer the company announced they have refocused our newsfeeds back to our friends and family – which means your page content might not be so readily available for your audience.

In our district, we’ve seen a considerable drop in analytics concerning our reach and interaction with our audience. Since we follow a set schedule for posts and have gone deep in content curation, I’m pretty sure that drop is not related to us or our information. Don’t take this as a reflection on you or your department, but recognize you need to take steps to address it.

We could boost up our paid posts (we spend a few hundred dollars a year on specific content shares), but given that the changes are focused on friends and family in our news feeds, I’m not certain that will help us. So how do we fix it? Here are a few tips that might assist you in overcoming this change!

  1. Content sharing. You can see who engages with your page. Reach out to them. Build a relationship. Have them share your content so their friends and family can see it.
  2. Marketing. Remind parents to look for information on your page. Include a blurb in your newsletters, on your website or anywhere else you have an audience.
  3. Cross-platform promotion. Link content on your other social media feeds. A link on Twitter or a fun graphic on Instagram to remind your audience where they can get deeper info is always helpful.
  4. Be relevant. Continue to post content that is relevant to you, your organization and your audience. When your audience knows they can find the information they want and need, they will navigate to your pages on their own.

Have you seen a dip in your reach? What ways are you rebuilding engagement with social media?

Good tip: Engage the people who already like your Facebook content

NSPRA’s Social School PR blog is back! We have new contributors in our rotation, so keep your eyes peeled for some great information.

At the recent MOSPRA fall conference, Charity Satterfield from the St. James R-1 School District shared a great idea for increasing engagement on your Facebook page.

Facebook now allows you to invite people who like your posts to also like your page, if they have not already. Just click on the link to your engagements with a post, and there will be a “invite” button next to the people who have not already liked your page.


MOSPRA member Melissa McConnell tweeted that the tip has already netted her district’s page several new followers:

Stay connected during our blog break

Our “Social School PR” blog is going on a summer hiatus!

For the rest of the summer and the first part of the fall, we will not post anything new here. We look forward to engaging with you when we return mid-fall!

In the meantime, here are a few great resources:


future gif

School’s out, so get schooled up!

The class of 2016 graduated. Our classrooms are empty. Now that the school year ended, it’s our turn to learn! Summer is the perfect time to add some new social media skills to your toolkit.

Not sure where to begin? Here are a few goals from my list:

Start making infographics:
Why? Images double your Facebook likes and boost your online traffic by 12 percent. And a whopping 87 percent will read your infographic text. Here are a few free tools to make it easy: Some handy tips for infographic use on social media can be found here:

• Practice live-streaming video on Facebook:
Celebrities are doing it. Now you can, too! But before you go live this fall, you’ll want to practice. Here’s how to launch:

• Organize your YouTube channel:
If you’ve been in a frenzy of video production all year, summer is the perfect time to organize your channel and work up a promotional blurb for fall. Here’s a quick how-to video:

Need help getting started? Head to Chicago July 17-20 for the NSPRA Seminar! There you’ll find a mind-blowing array of over 70 workshops, action labs and presentations by some of the best school PR professionals in the business. Find out more:

NSPRA sessions include:

Infographics & Other Cool Tools: Using Visual Content to Inform and Engage
Back from the Twitterverse: Community Engagement through Conversations
Harnessing Technology to Engage a Diverse Community
Why Video Content is King and How to Do It Yourself
Grandma’s on Facebook: Engaging Seniors to Support Public Schools
The One Day Campaign: Building Successful Twitter Engagement
Telling Your District Story: Repeating, Repurposing, Retweeting


Empowering parents on social media

When we think about social media in schools, we typically focus on the communication, teaching and learning that we manage in our jobs.

Parents are an indispensable ally in our efforts to teach digital citizenship — and schools can help parents seize this opportunity. Even the most tech-savvy parent knows the uncertainty and worry that comes when children and teens begin to use social media. Parents worry about their children’s safety and well-being in the digital world, but so often they also feel overwhelmed. With an ever-changing social media landscape, it feels impossible to keep up with every new site, scam and threat to our children’s healthy development.

In my district, we work to engage and encourage our students’ parents to take an active role in their children’s growth as digital citizens. A page in the parent section of our district website offers parents support and empowerment with the most basic tools. We’ve aimed to make it a helpful, supportive place to start for parents to navigate across the spectrum of social media. Developing this resource has given us simple content for school newsletters, social media posts and parent engagement activities all year long.

We have countless opportunities to remind our community that being a good parent doesn’t require anyone to be an expert in social media. After all, if they can have conversations about their children’s experiences with friends on a Friday evening, they can — and should — have the same conversations about their children’s experiences on social media. It’s that simple, and it can make a powerful difference in your schools and community!

Your Summer Reading List


What could be more appropriate to get summer underway than a reading list?

Whether you’ve been a PR pro in education for a long time or just a few short months, you can certainly remember taking home the summer reading list on the last day of school. Those lists were meant to keep your literacy edge sharp through the dog days and get you ready for the challenges of a new grade.

The real test was whether you would actually read over the entire summer or just cram all of that reading into the last ten days before school resumed.

This list, though, can start the summer without the threat of a Labor Day deadline. The topics covered will serve you well throughout the year . . . if you finish these books before school starts again, all the better.

Embracing Social Media, by Kristin Magette, APR (a fellow contributor on this blog)

A great beginning for those who are just dipping a toe in the social media water for their district. Kristin is a leading light in this field and her book reflects that. It’s filled with tips on developing policies and managing the workflow needed to preserve your sanity while working with social media.

LinkedIn Success, by Wayne Breitbarth

I’ve had the opportunity to attend Wayne’s presentation, which moves along at such a quick pace and with such enthusiasm that his book is vital to implementing his techniques. If you’re considering using LinkedIn as a channel for business and community connections, this book can show you how to get the most out of the free, basic account.

The Art of Social Media, by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick

Guy Kawasaki is one of the best known and most prolific users of social media and much of his output is powered by Peg Fitzpatrick. There are hundreds of tips in this book that are more than philosophical; they are practical. Even though it was published in 2014 (an eon ago in social media terms) there are still plenty of great best practices that can be employed today.

Why Social Media Matters, by Kitty Porterfield and Meg Carnes

If you haven’t been fortunate enough to attend an NSPRA Seminar workshop presented by Kitty or Meg, reading their book is the next best thing to sitting at the feet of the sages. The book is less about the nuts and bolts of how to use social media than it is about the why your district should be on social media and what you should be saying.

The New Rules of Marketing & PR, by David Meerman Scott

Are you familiar with the term “newsjacking”? Neither was I until I read this book. Google “Oreo Superbowl tweet” and you’ll find out what this new-millennium concept looks like. Plus, you’ll learn plenty more from this 400+ page handbook that will give you insights into how the biggest companies and brightest practitioners are making the most of social media.