Today’s learning experience was provided by the EdSocialMedia Summit, a conference held in Chestnut Hill, MA, for private school officials centered squarely on the topic of using social media to promote your schools. Because I have two important presentations coming up in March and July, I tuned in. And, surrounded by falling snow and with a space heater aimed directly at my frozen toes, I learned.
Jesse Bardo of the Northfield Mount Hermon School, located in Mount Hermon, MA, walked us through that school’s Facebook page and presence. Among other points Mr. Bardo made:
— Use Facebook Insight for your fan pages to track and analyze your hits, your fans, and they visit and use your site. The free Insight tool allows you to look at your fans based on gender and age range, for example.
— Plan out how you will post to Facebook and other social media sites; don’t just post in a haphazard way.
— Get your fans involved in the site by providing them with richer browsing experiences. Always link to other places when you have that opportunity. (Your district’s Flickr account, Wikipedia, etc.)
–Pur your Facebook fan page address everywhere, including on your website, the school’s business cards and in your email signatures.
Travis Warren, president and founder of Whipple Hill Communications, noted that you can monitor mentions of your school or district by searching Google this way: -site: nameofschool.org. That simple query will bring up mentions of your district and other sites created on behalf of your district. You can dump that information into a PowerPoint presentation, for example, and show it to your superintendents/heads of school.
Warren also noted that even though your school is mentioned elsewhere, try to refrain from slamming down other sites. Instead, embrace the fact that think well enough of your school to devote a website or a blog to it.
Another tip from Warren, and one that I can predict could become unwieldy for small PR offices — create a Wikipedia entry about your district and regularly update it. If you have well-known alum, you should list them on your Wikipedia page, with a link to their own Wikipedia entry. You can also go in and change their Wikipedia entry to make sure it mentions that they graduated from your school. In the White Plains City School District, one of my clients, we are bound to find well-known graduates we can add to the district’s Wikipedia entry.
A tip from Warren that I am likely to emulate: Using Flickr, the photo sharing site, as a place to build a photo archives collection. At Southern Westchester BOCES, we’re about to embark on a history project — and that will include wading through a basement full of old records, publications and photos. It will be a huge endeavor, but partly because of the social media possibilities, I am now looking forward to it.
To watch some of today’s EdSocialMedia Summit presentations, visit WhippleHill Live and learn something new. That’s what snow days are for!