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Storytelling is the sum total of all the social media posting, newsletter creating, flyer designing, etc. that we do to talk about our work, recruit new educators and market to prospective families. Good storytelling leverages the 'special sauce' that sets you apart from the rest, combined with authentic testimonials from your stakeholders, to get the job done.
The best people to tell your story are the ones driving your mission daily. Create a role (or roles) within your school team to tackle the responsibility of posting on social media - and empower them to be successful by structuring a process for collecting and scheduling content on each channel.
As charter schools, our "how" is just as important as our "what." While it's important to talk about the impact you're shaping for students and families, it's even more important to talk about how you facilitated such amazing results. Was it your unique Montessori curriculum, your scenic location and emphasis on nature, your college prep program, or your parent engagement model? No matter what "it" is, you must identify and showcase your competitive advantage.
Social media posting can quickly drop to the bottom of your priority list as the school year picks up, other projects take off, and as your calendar fills up - but you can plan ahead to save yourself time. At monthly/weekly staff meetings, use that time to get input from teachers and staff members about what's happening in your school & organize them into some key categories.
Once you've got some great ideas, organize them into a calendar that your whole social reporting team can see - and mark once you've scheduled them. You can use super affordable online scheduling tools, like Buffer, to schedule a whole week's worth of posts on Monday morning.
You're going to have big wins, where parents and community members absolutely love your posts, but you'll also experience some losses. Whether it's an angry parent, a charter hater or a student commenting something inappropriate, social media success is not a straight line. Keep your cool and follow these FAQ best practices.
Your online presence should be a reflection of your school in its entirety - and no school is perfect. You should handle negative reviews the same way you'd handle a disgruntled parent/employee on school grounds. Acknowledge their feelings, address their concerns and offer a solution.
If your page doesn't have very many reviews to begin with, the bad ones can really stand out - even when addressed appropriately. Ask five super-engaged parents who you know love your school to go onto Facebook and fill out a review - then, when prospective families find you, they'll get a balanced picture.
Posting students to your social media pages is the equivalent to using their photos on school marketing materials or physically around your school. Add a line to your photo release form at the beginning of the school year that informs parents that student photos are subject to be used online, and enable them to opt out if they're not comfortable.
Do you have it down? Are you ready for the advanced course? Check out these resources to learn more about social media and digital storytelling.