See You at the Social #SchoolPR Sessions In San Antonio!

It’s almost here! The NSPRA seminar in San Antonio is just a few days away, and you’ll be able to learn from our nation’s best experts on using social media in school PR.

Check out some of these sessions!

Saturday, July 8 (pre-seminar workshops):

  • Carla Pereira, APR: “Up Your #SchoolPR Social Media Game: Build Transparency and Trust Through Online Engagement”

Monday, July 10:

  • Sarah Greer Osborne and Greg Okuhara: “Get Trending on Twitter: How to Socialize Your Schools to Social Media”
  • Athena Vadnais, APR: “Go Where Your Voters Are: Using Social Media to Inform, Persuade, and Pass Your School Bond”
  • Kimberly Willis-Green: “Maximizing Your Story Using Multi-Platform Channels On Your Own”
  • Adam Harris: “Say What You Mean: Podcasting to Reach Your Community”
  • Justin Cortese: “Networking: Website/Digital Media/Video Management”
  • Daniel Thigpen: “The Social Network: Navigating Trust and Expectations among Gen-X and Millennial Families”
  • Patricia McGlone, APR: “We Are Trending on Facebook — And Not in a Good Way”
  • Greg Turchetta: “From Educator to Journalist: Creating an Army of ‘Tweetchers'”

Tuesday, July 11:

  • Paul Tandy, APR, Annie Dickerson and Derek Duncan: “#The Big Idea Brainstorm”
  • Brian Woodland, APR: “Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Reality TV: Putting Relationships Back Into Public Relations”
  • Kristin Magette, APR, and Cathy Kedjidjian: “Make Twitter Great Again: Overcome Fears and Frustrations with Friends”
  • Evelyn McCormack: “Tell Your District’s Story with These Cool Tools”
  • Jake Sturgis, APR: “#SocialVideo: Tips for Creating Catchy Videos On a Tight Budget”

Wednesday, July 12:

  • Danielle Clark, APR, Valerie Van Ryn, Staci Bradbury and Matt Gohl: “Can’t Stop the Feeling! Creative Storytelling in a Crowded Media Landscape”
  • Jill Aurora and Nicole Graf: “Meet BERT! Learn How a Social Intranet Can Help Increase Staff Engagement”
  • Heidi Vega, Carla Pereira, APR, and Ken Hobbs: “Digital Diversity: Using Communication Technology to Address Equity in Your Schools”
  • Esperanza Soriano-McCrary and Zach Whitaker: “Want to Reach Your Parents? Move Your Workshops Out of the School Cafeteria to an Online Format”
  • Justin Cortese and Aaron Cagwin: “How Video Content Has Changed and Why You Should Too”
  • Justin Grayson: “The Science Behind Facebook Engagement: Quick Tips to Increase Your Likes, Shares and Comments”

See you there!

On Facebook, Less May Be More

A recent blog post from the pros at Buffer confirmed for me what I had been suspecting for a year or two: post too much on Facebook, and your content will reach fewer people.

In a nutshell, Buffer decided to cut their Facebook posting frequency in half, and after six months their post reach more than tripled and their average daily engagements doubled. “When trying to fill the queue with content for the simple sake of posting and having a presence on Facebook, content tends to become diluted and lost in the news feed.”

Our success as communicators trying to get through on Facebook lives and dies by the news feed algorithm, and it is a difficult beast to please. Turns out, it only wants the crème de la crème.

Instead of throwing every piece of content on Facebook, Buffer staff realized they had to figure out what categories of content work best, and only post that, up to no more than two posts a day. The results, as I highlighted above, are impressive.

Although the folks at Buffer suggest that the most popular Facebook content can be categorized as either entertaining or educational (“Edu-tainment”), I intend to look at our school district and school page analytics and figure out which buckets of content have worked best for us.

Further, posting one or two times per day may not be what works for you. The bigger lesson to take away is to only post the best content from the categories that are proven to give you the highest engagement.

Time for some research and experimenting!

Next-level video analytics

During the summer months filled with strategic planning, professional development and hopefully a little vacation time, it’s a great opportunity to step back and review your year.

Facebook offers tremendous depth on video analytics. Traditionally, we have always looked at reach (total number of unique people who have seen your post) and engagement (number of times someone reacted, commented or shared your post). On video posts, there is so much more available to you that might be worth looking at.

For example, look at one of our recent videos. This video was a little long at 3:32. One stat available to you is audience retention. This shows how long. your audience watched the video.

derek 1

It gets better. If you click the circle at the bottom, the graph changed to show you average watch time of people who clicked to play vs. letting it auto-play.

derek 2

Another metric worth looking at is the 10-second views. Facebook counts a video view when the viewer has seen a video for at least three seconds. Historically that’s all we’ve cared about. But 10-second viewer numbers are probably more accurate into figuring out how many people truly viewed your video.

derek 3

You also see the sound-on vs. sound-off numbers. You might have heard recently that around 80 percent of all Facebook videos are viewed with the sound off, which is another reason why it’s necessary to include captions in your videos. However, in our example video, 47 percent of viewers turned the sound on.

These are just a few of the next-level video metrics Facebook provides for you. I’d recommend looking at these numbers as a way to measure how you’re doing. Shameless plug: we’ll talk more about video analytics at my DIY Video 2.0 session at the NSPRA seminar in San Antonio next month.

Hope to see you there.

Look to Our Students for Inspiration


In school PR, it’s our job to view our organization through different lenses. At times, we literally spend our day looking at the world through lenses. Whether we are sharing stories, advising our superintendents and principals from different perspectives, or advocating on behalf of our students and staff, we are adept in finding the proper angle and shedding light on the subject at hand.

I believe it’s also important for us to step out from the background and bask in the great work being done by and for our students. My charge to you today is to make the purpose of your next classroom visit to appreciate and become energized by the students we serve. No photos, no interviews, just take it in. If you’re inspired to tweet out a thank-you to those teachers and students, by all means share the love. Better yet: write a thank-you note.

Today is the last day of the school year in our district. It’s a day of transition and mixed emotions. I readily admit that during my eight-year career teaching sixth grade, on the last day of school, I went from hugs and high-fives with my students and colleagues to slobbery tears alone in my empty classroom. (Side note: I’ve learned you get less of all those things in the district office.)

The pace of play and the nature of our work in school PR provides similar guideposts and transitions. With summer, we shift toward strategic planning, professional learning at the NSPRA seminar, and thoughtful reflection on our plans, successes and challenges of the past year.

As Covey so succinctly stated, it’s our time to sharpen the saw. In my mind this translates as a time to charge up the batteries for the summer work ahead. Today is the last day I’ll have access to schools and rooms brimming with energy, teaching and learning for the next two months. There are a lot of things I have to do today. I think I’ll start by visiting some students for inspiration. And maybe a hug, a high-five and a tear or two.