School social media success – it’s in your team

Shop floor shoes jive, as a tennis ball is struck back and forth over the border of a handball court. Teachers scurry with books, papers and smoking cups in hand. The cadence of each stride resonates with the impending start of morning classes.

Teachers quip and affirm their daily organisation on the run.

The new academic year is here for Bass Hill Public School, jolting all from the slow pace of their Australian summer.

Beyond the buzz of the playground, another group of teachers gather to ‘gear-up’. They flip laptop lids and search recommended apps on their mobile devices. The start to their school year carries an additional responsibility, launching the school’s social media online presence.

Bass Hill Public School, in metropolitan South Western Sydney welcomes all.

It is a true reflection of multiculturalism and inclusivity in action. It services a tight-knit community, led by a highly professional team of educators, who are looking to maximise the use of social media to engage with parents.

Unfortunately, most schools adopting social media do so in a way which elevates their risk of reputational damage and publish online in a manner unflattering and disrespectful to their community. They undermine their social media efforts with a lack of human resources, leaving the management of a Facebook page to the youngest person on staff or an office administrator. This inevitably leaves a Facebook page looking like an electronic pin-board full of clipart, one-liners and cat memes.

All of which are traits of a low performing social media channel.

So how does a school adopt social media and develop a high performing  community online?

At Bass Hill Public School, the Principal backs their social media strategy with a team of positive performers!

Schools want to maximise positive parent engagement. It spreads the good news about their school, while building confidence and reputation in the broader community.  Social media now provides a school with the tools to amplify this message and they have a wealth of good news to share.

Professor Lea Waters, Director of the Centre of Positive Psychology at the University of Melbourne, provides an insight into research (The Conversation) where, ‘…happiness is not only highly contagious but online communities may actually magnify the intensity…’.

All schools can position themselves perfectly. They have a ready-built audience who are willing to act on their behalf to celebrate and share the wonderful things that happen on a daily basis. To do this effectively, there must be a school social media team in place to capture and deliver highly shareable content.

Bass Hill Public School is the perfect case study.

Principal, Melissa Proctor put together a diverse team of people who are keen to promote the school. The six staff members are a mix of youth and experience with varying levels of expertise in the use of social media.

Their mindset, is open to the opportunity social media can provide to celebrate student success.  Understanding the risks is important to the team, but it does not paralyse them with fear or inaction. The values underpinning their use of social media are essential in providing a guide to what content they publish. In adopting social media they value being a:

  1. Digital role model in their community.
  2. Leader of positive perceptions.
  3. Connector in the personal and professional spaces of education.
  4. Provider of a place to celebrate what they do.

In leading the strategy, Melissa Proctor took a long-term view of representing the school online via social media. Targeting school resources into training, release time and external support to ensure she gives her team the best possible opportunity to engage and build positivity across the community.

Even better, she elevated the importance of community engagement via social media with her own participation and letting her thumbs do some of the online talking in tandem with her team.

Five days into their launch, Bass Hill Public School have a growing audience of 128 ‘likes’, a total ‘reach’ of 4399 people and 3108 ‘clicks’ on 15 posts. Communication statistics well beyond that of a traditional school newsletter.

Welcome Bass Hill to the age of socialisation.

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