Authenticity: fearlessly own your story

Authenticity: fearlessly own your story

To those of us natives, nothing says "Michigan!" like Sleeping Bear Dunes, Mackinac Island fudge & the Paul Bunyan trophy - but for most non-Michiganders, our story is probably about Detroit's demise, the Flint Water Crisis and Larry Nassar, much of which has been virally shared on social media. Here's the bottom line: whether it's good or bad, your story will get out there - but proactively using social media to spread the good will help build a base of engaged supporters, who come to your aid when needed - as well as create a solid brand that can weather the storm when the bad stuff drops. Own your story, believe in the process.

Takeaway #1: be authentic

  • Showcase your 'quirks' - talk about your mission, special programs, educators, etc.
  • Don't over-script your content - let your different social reporters shine.
  • Be human when issues arrive - practice empathy with haters & parents on social.

Ex: charter school value proposition

Takeaway #2: be vulnerable

  • Putting yourself out there on social/digital media opens you up to connect with tons of new people - accept that it also opens you up to criticism.
  • Trust in your brand to weather the storm, and that your engaged base of educators, parents & advocates will set the record straight.

Social media do's and don'ts 

Takeaway #3: track the progress

  • You should naturally see an upwards trend of increased student enrollment and teacher recruitment/retention.
  • Listen to your teachers, parents and community members - if you're doing a great job telling your story, people will be talking about it.

Responding 101: managing social engagement 


Connect with an expert >> 

Kerri Barrett, West MI Academy of Env. Science

Over her 6 years at WMAES, Kerri has driven an outstanding academic program & increased community visibility using social/digital media.


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