Twitter for schools: strategy, management, measurement

There are a number of schools on Twitter. Many tweet board of education meetings or link press releases they just posted on the district’s website. For some, they rarely update the account after they set it up because they find it is repetitive and scarcely followed. Twitter is one of the most powerful social media platforms out there, though it isn’t for every district. What I have discovered is that more and more high school students are using it, the media is all over it, teachers are using it, and community influencers (politicians, chambers, business owners) are using it. So, while Twitter may not yield as large of a following for your school district as Facebook, it may be the key to reaching influencers.

Strategy suggestions:

  1. Don’t just recycle Facebook or website content, bring personality to your Twitter account by having a team of staff members tweet and share photos using Instagram or TwitPic. I suggest building administrative teams using Twitter to open up communication and bringing transparency and awareness to the day-to-day activities of your staff and students.
  2. Create niche Twitter accounts. Instead of just one district Twitter account, perhaps you have a charismatic superintendent who can represent the district on Twitter or maybe you have principals who can tweet regularly. It isn’t about being on Twitter as a district, but rather making it so an audience of influencers wants to follow your presence.

Management suggestions:

  1. Time is always the biggest excuse for why Twitter cannot be used successfully in a school, but there are ways to schedule tweets to compliment live tweeting from district representatives that makes it manageable. Check out Hootsuite, SocialOomph, Tweetdeck, Buffer or SocialBro to schedule your tweets ahead of time.

Measurement suggestions:

  1. No one working in school PR wants to waste his or her time on a tactic that yields little results. With tools like SocialBro, analyzing who is being reached and what is being discussed on Twitter is manageable. Obviously, if 75 percent of your Twitter followers are spammers or from Belgium, you may want to re-think investing time on this social community.
  2. Use hashtags. By promoting various hashtags for your district (ex. #JFKTigers or #FDRProm12 or #TigerHoops) you are encouraging your followers to tag conversations. These conversations can then be easily moderated or monitored using tools like TweetChat or by doing a simple Twitter Search. Sometimes listening is just as important as tweeting.

2 Replies to “Twitter for schools: strategy, management, measurement”

  1. Shane, I agree that twitter isn’t for every school district but is a great way to connect with community influencers. I also like your suggestion about using hashtags for events or conversations. I blogged about twitter and school districts and would be interested in hearing success stories about twitter.

  2. Thanks, Faith. I am looking forward to reading your blogs about this. I am getting ready to start a new project with one of my clients that will attempt to strategically utilize Twitter. One of the best stories I have read on how a large district is using it was featured in The Washington Post. The district’s superintendent loves Twitter and encourages all of his principals to tweet and use photos on Twitter. Very “transparent”. Here is the story:

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