Finding your voice

Social media is an expression of your district’s brand. How you communicate that brand needs to be consistent with your district’s values. When you unlock your brand, you find your voice.

Like my two-year-old son, who’s learning to string words together in sentences and understanding how to communicate with mom and dad, a school PR pro speaking on behalf of a district needs to test, adapt and learn to use its voice effectively.

Let’s take the lessons learned from the former district I worked in and a communication plan that won an NSPRA Gold Medallion Award.

Social media was a strategy to engage its audiences. Throughout the campaign, we learned about our diverse followers by monitoring reactions to content.

We explored GIFs, memes, quotes, polls and videos. Tina Fey, Drake and waving pandas flooded our feed.

Our audience responded. It was okay to play.

We asked questions. Each post never lost sight of the campaign message. We were true to our brand.

Once shy to post humor, we started to see that people responded to it. Social media is entertainment. Don’t underestimate the edu-tainment value in school PR.

We held focus groups with students. Our voice became student voice.  Students gave permission for us to be lighthearted.

Here are a few things we learned:

  • Understand when your audience is online. Be social during evenings and weekends.
  • Tag people and partners so they receive the notification. It validates the relationship.
  • Leverage times like a snow day or hallmark days of significance to engage your followers in your message.
  • Repurpose content. Share interesting and relevant articles. Tell stories.
  • Contests and pledges drive measurement. Prizes are great incentives.

Take risks. Have fun. Results will come.

In the end, the one-month campaign increased followers by nine percent on the district’s Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Because we found our voice.

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