About Nicole Kirby, APR

Nicole Kirby, APR is the director of communication services for the Park Hill School District in Kansas City, Mo. She is a past NSPRA vice president for the South Central region and a past MOSPRA president. She was named one of NSPRA's Learning and Liberty Legacy Leaders, and she received the NSPRA Frontrunner Award and the MOSPRA Professional of the Year Award.

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!

Using Facebook to respond to your district’s patrons

On my district’s Facebook page, there is a little badge that sometimes turns green and sometimes does not, depending on how quickly we respond to questions and comments from our patrons.


The badge itself is not an incentive, because we don’t have the staffing to try to beat Facebook’s target of responding to each message in about 15 minutes. In addition, if you don’t get the last word in the conversation, Facebook sometimes doesn’t count your response. We don’t want to make our interactions awkward just to game this measurement.

However, we do try to get back to people within 24 hours, as the Messages tool is a great way for students, parents, community members and alumni to reach out to us. We turned off the ability for people to make public posts on our page, so they tend to use this feature to contact us.

Recently, Facebook beefed up the Messages interface, and we find it easy to use when responding.


How do you use this tool?

How far should you take the humor in your district’s social media?

Recently, several districts made national news for their reactions on Twitter to students campaigning for a snow day:

The common guidance is to have a conversational, humorous tone in your social media, when appropriate.

But where is the line for what is appropriate?

In my district, although we’ve been tempted to return snarky tweets with equal snark, we always resist the urge. If we respond, it is always with a business-like tone. On the other hand, our feeds are not as fun as other districts’.

Where do you think the line for social-media propriety lands?

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:


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What Do the New Twitter Rules Mean for Schools?

The news is sweeping social media, so you’ve probably already heard: Twitter plans to stop counting images and videos toward your 140-character limit.

On Tuesday, Twitter came out with more details:

  • What Counts and What Doesn’t?
    To avoid counting against your character total, you’ve got to use an attachment rather than a link. So links to your article on the school-district website count against you, but using Twitter’s built-in photo or video uploader would not. Quote tweets won’t ding you for the link to the original tweet. And for those who like adding polls or silly GIFs from Twitter’s library, you’re in luck – those don’t count, either!
  • When Will This Happen?
    Twitter is giving developers time to work with the new rules, so it will roll out over the next few months. I expect we’ll just be surprised one day when the changes take effect, and we might not all get them at once.
  • How are Replies Different?
    If you reply to someone, the @handle won’t count toward your character limit. And for those of you who know how to use “.@” at the beginning of a new tweet that starts with an @handle, the period will no longer be necessary. New tweets that start with an @handle will go to all your followers, and if you want everyone to see a reply, you will just retweet yourself.



How the Latest Facebook Tweak Affects Your District

Facebook’s hacker culture means constant changes.

The algorithm the site uses to decide which content rises to the top of your news feed is getting one of those changes.

Up to now, the main factors that decided whether your school district’s posts got lots of eyeballs included

  • How many people already liked it or commented on it
  • Whether it includes a photo
  • Whether it includes a video uploaded to Facebook’s player

Now, content that people spend a lot of time reading will also rise to the top, even if your page users don’t click on a reaction button or comment.

So your article about your school board’s big decision might get a lot of attention, even if it doesn’t inspire a lot of reaction.

In the same announcement, Facebook’s wizards said they will “also be making an update to reduce how often people see several posts in a row from the same source in their news feed.”

So if you’re posting a lot of content on your district page at once, chances are that some of it could get lost in the shuffle.