Personally, I love social media. As today’s primary method of communication, it’s where we go to share life’s happiest moments (and the most mundane lunch pics), it keeps us connected in ways we never thought possible, and it’s where we get our news. Additionally, (although we don’t always like it) our behavior influences the ads we are shown, so they’re tailored to our specific interests. This may be a hot-take, but I feel like I’m going to be shown ads anyway, I’d prefer they be related to my interests…. but I’m also a sucker for an Instagram ad for a clever product…. take my money and send me the fidget ring, OK?!
Anyway, I could go on and on about why your program needs to be on social media but the main thing it boils down to is one thing: branding. For more details about branding check out this video with Samantha Berry:
It can be tempting to use the platform as propaganda for your program. Many staffs posts bunch of reminders about yearbook sales deadlines, senior tribute information, invitations to apply for the staff, etc.
But *newsflash* no one is going to follow you for that! And, when you’re posting the same kind of thing over and over, the message gets diluted as it fades into the landscape of everything else being shown in the feed.
The most common question we get about social media is “ok but, what else do we even post then?” Fair question – it can be a daunting task to take on essentially another publication.
Crafting your social media strategy
- Document, don’t create. Don’t stress about “creating content” for social media, just document things that are already happening.
- Provide real value. The goal here is to establish your program as THE expert on campus for all the things. People will follow you for updates they need (sometimes even more than official district communications). Grab the district and campus calendar and mark down all the important dates and brainstorm how to cover them. Also, keep tabs on all external and internal communications and share the information (as appropriate).
- People buy from people they know, like, and trust. So you need to showcase all the wonderful things the journalism staff is doing all year long. Inviting the community behind the scenes lets your audience feel like they were part of the process and builds even more hype for when the book comes out.
- Be consistent. Don’t get discouraged if a post doesn’t perform well. The algorithm rewards consistent posting and eventually it will pay off. Sticking with it can be difficult in the thick of other deadlines – and social media is usually the first to get dropped off the to-do list when things get busy. Get ahead of this by planning your content and make templates ahead of time.
- Canva is great to quickly creating branded graphic templates. You can even schedule content to post later – but be sure to check the platforms each day and interact with all comments and messages!
- Work as a team to create posts so it’s not all on one person.
- Plan the entire month ahead of time so it’s just plugging in content when the time comes.
- Sell as a bonus – prioritize posting allllll the things of value first and post sales messages sparingly. If your community culture is engaged with your content, the sales will follow naturally. (But don’t worry, this sometimes takes a few years to build – it’s a long game.)
Stuck on content ideas?
Here are some prompts you can use to create your own social media content.
- Bad Weather Updates – late start, school cancelled, early dismissal
- Early Dismissal Reminder + Revised Ball Schedule
- Pep Rally Schedule
- Spirit Days Calendar – with inspo pics
- Spirit Day Photo Recap – share photos that won’t make it into the print publications but are still great! Tag the subject if you can so they can share it, too!
- Game Day Reminder w/ time & location
- Game Day Photo Recap w/ score (there are SO MANY games happening at all times!)
- School Holiday Reminder
- State Testing Reminder – and any changes to schedules
- Study Tips – especially leading up to SAT/ACT dates
- Big Test/Project Reminder (get calendars from department heads for all core subjects)
- Trending Video/Reel – be sure to save the audios when scrolling to have a bunch to choose from
- Behind the scenes on location at game, performance, rehearsal, etc.
- School Dance Info – date, time, tickets, theme, etc.
- School Dance Photo Recap
- Quotes – motivation, kindness, funny
- Field Trips – highlight the unique things that any class, organization, or extra curricular activity gets to participate in
- Memes – school appropriate, of course!
- Club Feature – each one can be it’s own post highlighting who they are, how to join, meeting date/time/location
- Good Luck messages from teachers/coaches before big game/test
- School board updates
- School board election reminder and info/polling locations
- Register to vote reminder
- Video tour of behind-the-scenes of theater backstage, dance gym, football weight room, etc.
- Recap of pop culture – latest big movie or album
- Parent testimonial/quote/funny story
- Celebration of accomplishments
- Feature student work – art, science projects, poster making, etc.
- Throwback Photos – of the school from archives, of faculty, of publication staff, etc
- Student Profile – a teaser of a longer story in another publication, or something that didn’t make the cut in the final print version
- Faculty Profile – hidden talents, day in the life, Q&A, etc
- Staff Profile – janitors, cafeteria workers, secretaries, etc.
- Localize World News (or regional) – what does it mean for your students?
- Newspaper article – be sure to promote all student media outlets!
- Broadcast/Announcements links
- Recruit for next year’s staff
- and very very last – sell things! yearbooks, senior tributes, newspaper ads, etc.