Searching for Cassandra

As the school year comes to a close for many of us, it’s often a time to reflect on the things that have happened. I can’t help but think back to my school days.

Image result for copyright free cassandra greek myth

Cassandra by Evelyn De Morgan,  1898. where my curiosity was sparked by Greek mythology.

According to myth, Cassandra was given the gift of foretelling the future, but in a twist of fate, she was cursed with no one believing her.

While you may not have Cassandra’s gift, you likely have tools at your disposal that can help you foretell possible social media crisis.

Many of us are already using social media monitoring services, but sometimes there are items the monitoring just doesn’t catch. When’s the last time you just typed your organization’s name (or another key term) in the Facebook or Twitter search tool to see what pops up?

I do this from time to time, and on Facebook, I narrow my search to the city in which I live to see what our community is really saying.

A disengaged parent, student or employee may be negatively posting about your organization without you realizing it. The more sensational, the faster it seems to travel when you consider the reach of said post.

Never heard of this? It’s because you weren’t supposed to. If this is being done on Twitter, it’s called a subtweet.

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Either way, it can be damaging to your organization’s brand.

This simple search can help you see a crisis on the horizon, giving you time to alert leadership that trouble may be around the corner.

Cassandra’s curse doesn’t have to be yours. Knowing what’s around the corner can give you the proof you need to protect your credibility as a practitioner and the time to prepare social media crisis response.

Having Fun with GIFs

GIFs have become common practice on personal and business social media pages. Is your district using them? They are a great way to engage your audience and have a little fun.

Social Media Examiner recently posted about how to make animated gifs. It is a fantastic resource for anyone new to GIF making.

With summer just around the corner for many school districts, here are some GIFs for my school PR friends.

When I think about how many days are left in the school year:clap

When I realize there are only 58 days till #NSPRASeminar2017:
giphy (1)

When I think about all the summer projects I need to complete:giphy (2)

When I think about back-to-school planning:
giphy (3)

When I think about that vacation I have been planning all year long:
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One-Day Social Media Campaign Success

When I started my job as the first public relations supervisor for my school district, the first thing I did was turn to the experts for advice! One piece of advice came from Barry Gaston award winner Nez Calhoun, who has practiced school PR in Alabama for more than 40 years. “The Duchess,” as we lovingly refer to her, told me to get a membership to the National School Public Relations Association NSPRA and to start attending the national seminars each summer.

That is the best job-related advice I have ever received! Through the years, I have learned so much from my NSPRA colleagues — and last year was no exception. Social media was the focus of several sessions, and I made an attempt to attend as many as possible.

One of those sessions was The One-Day Campaign: Building Successful Twitter Engagement, presented by Jennifer Delgado, media manager of High School District 214.  I came away from that session with a new appreciation of how important social media can be for building engagement in our local communities and so many great ideas that my head was literally spinning!

I implemented this great new strategy just a few short weeks later, with a first-day-of-school campaign called #shelbyfirstday. I enlisted the help of our school administrators and promoted it with graphics posted on all of our social media channels. It was a HUGE success, with engagement from both internal and external publics! There were adorable photos from parents of their children all dressed up for the first day, along with photos throughout the day of the excitement being experienced by students and staff alike.

Earlier this month, I did a second campaign entitled #shelbyoneday, which chronicled what a typical day in our school district looks like. Again, I enlisted the help of our administrators and teachers and provided them with a timeline of suggested posts throughout the day. The idea was to show that a typical school day doesn’t start at 8 a.m. and end at 3 p.m. when the dismissal bell rings. A typical day starts bright and early with our buses rolling out to pick up students and then continues with after-school care, athletic events, and special events.

The entire day was filled with such awesome posts that not only highlighted the work of our teachers but our wonderful support staff as well. Pictures showed students doing everything from participating in very engaging lessons to lowering the flag at the end of the school day. One school even went back the next day and posted an entire slideshow of their day!

So, Jennifer Delgado, if you are reading this post, let me say a big “THANK YOU” for presenting such an awesome session at last year’s seminar! My superintendent and board members were thrilled with the results, so thanks for letting us all borrow your awesome idea!

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.

response

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.

messages

How do you use this tool?

Reactions Now Weighted More in Facebook Algorithm

Many of us have become accustomed to the Facebook reactions that began rolling out last year. In late February 2017, Facebook completed the rollout, ensuring that users worldwide could now use reactions. For those unfamiliar with reactions – Facebook users can hold their cursor over the like button and then select from like, love, haha, wow, sad or angry.

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With the rollout worldwide, Facebook also announced that when users use a reaction rather than hitting the like button, it would be weighted more in the news feed algorithm. According to a Facebook news release:

“Initially, just as we do when someone likes a post, if someone uses a Reaction, we will infer they want to see more of that type of post. In the beginning, it won’t matter if someone likes, “wows” or “sads” a post — we will initially use any Reaction similar to a Like to infer that you want to see more of that type of content. Over time we hope to learn how the different Reactions should be weighted differently by News Feed to do a better job of showing everyone the stories they most want to see.”

What Does This Mean For Social Media Managers?
Page owners will now have a better understanding of how their users are interacting with the content they publish. In the past, it was sometimes difficult to decipher what a user really meant by liking the content.

Additionally, instead of asking users to “like” your content, ask them to react to the post. This will increase engagement on your page and ensure users are consistently seeing relevant content from your organization.

Crossposting Videos on Multiple Facebook Pages

If you’ve happened to wander into the Settings area of your Facebook Page in the past few months, you may have noticed a new setting called “Crossposting.” If you have multiple Facebook pages or work with others who run pages in your district, crossposting is a great way to share video content and the analytics that go with it.

Say that the high school posts a video to their Facebook page of the choir performing at a high profile event. If it’s something you want followers of the district’s page to see, crossposting gives you the ability to do it without having to re-upload the video or merely share the original post.

To get started, each page has to give mutual permission for crossposting:

  1. Visit the Settings > Crossposting area for your Facebook page (for example, the district page).
  2. Add the Facebook pages with which you would like to allow crossposting of videos (for example, school pages).
  3. For those pages you are a manager, go to the same Settings > Crossposting area and add the district page. The pages are now set up to crosspost.
  4. For pages you do not manage, you can send them a link to confirm the crossposting relationship. Click the chainlink button next to “This Page hasn’t added yours” and it will provide a link to send to the page’s manager.

Crossposting videos

  1. Next time you upload a video to a page, go to the Crossposting tab and turn on the other pages where you would like to allow the video to be crossposted. This does NOT automatically post the video to those pages, but rather gives the ability for those pages to post the video later. This will also send a notification to the other pages that they have a video available for crossposting.
  2. Go to the Publishing Tools > Videos You Can Crosspost area for the page on which you want to crosspost. You will now see the video you just uploaded. Add a checkmark next to the video and under Actions, choose “Create Post With This Video…”
  3. Feel free to add a completely different text for the post, and don’t forget to tag the original page, if appropriate.

Viewing Analytics

Managers of both pages will be able to see analytics for the video, and which posts the views are coming from.

Try this useful feature and see the Facebook Crossposted Videos Product Guide (PDF) for more information.

Facebook Tools for Administrators to Help Connect with Others

Facebook recently released two new tools that give page administrators easier access to connect with users.

Someone liked your content but not your page? Directly invite them!
Ever had someone like your Facebook content but not the page? Of course. We are all faced with this issue. Facebook now has a tool that allows page administrators to directly invite someone, who likes a specific post, to like the page. With Facebook recently changing their algorithm (again) the reach that pages have is once again decreased. It is becoming increasingly more difficult to reach people who haven’t already liked your page. However, users can and will still see a post or posts because a friend liked it or because it was sponsored content. Grow your page by inviting those who like your content to join the page.

How does it work?
Click on the list of people who have liked a post. It will bring up a new window with the list of the people who have liked that post. To the right of each name it will say invite or liked. If it says liked, the individual already likes your page. If it says invite, click the invite box to invite them to like your page.

liked-vs-invite-photo

Direct Message Those Who Comment On Your Page
In the past, it has been somewhat cumbersome for page administrators to directly message those that comment on a Facebook page. Now under each individual’s name, you will see three options: like, reply and message (see below). If you click on message, you will be able to send a direct message to the individual. When possible, always try to respond to the post via the thread so all visitors see the response. You show transparency and build trust this way. However, in the instances that the comment needs to be handled privately and not in the social media world, this is particularly handy. Individuals can still set their privacy so administrators may not be able to message everyone, but it is a start.

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