Does Your School District Need a Social Media Manager?

What is a Social Media Manager?

Schools today are interested in sharing their voices with not only their local community but their global community as well.  No more is it the norm for school districts to have a simple website that brings information to its people in a passive format.  Items such as Facebook Pages, Twitter accounts, and Mobile Apps are becoming commonplace amongst educational institutions.

What does it take to manage all of these accounts?

A Social Media Manager is someone with the mindset and drives to be the virtual voice for the school district as well as being the voice for the community inside of the conference rooms. First, we will examine some of the skill sets needed to be a Social Media Manager in an educational environment.

  1. Confidential:  A Social Media Manager must be someone that is trusted and respected by the school district.  Why? Because the Social Media Manager should have access to information about the districts current plans, future plans, and understand how the district is implementing them so they can provide the best information to the community when called upon.  This means having a good line of communication with district administration.  When something great happens in the school, the Social Media Manager should be one of the first to hear about it to alert the community. When something happens that needs strategic attention, the Social Media Manager should also be in the loop to accurately provide vital information in a time of emergency.
  2. People Friendly: Your Social Media Manager should know how to get things done, and get them done quickly.  We live in a world of seconds, not minutes, and certainly not hours.  When your football team wins the big game, your twitter feed needs to be moving and moving fast.  It's not news on Monday.  To have a successful social media strategy means that your Social Media Manager needs to be able to work with a district-appointed team to bring in the needed content and bring it in quickly for accurate reporting.
  3. Community-Aware: What types of devices do your community members use on a daily basis? How do they access their information? What do they want to hear from the school district? How often do they want to hear it? These are some of the things that a good Social Media Manager needs to be familiar with.  There is no need to build a mobile app for your district if most of your community has no wireless access or smartphones.  If your community isn't on Twitter (yet) you shouldn't be tweeting as your primary source to share emergency information.  A good social media manager works WITH the community to learn how they wish to be given the information about their students and school system.
  4. Persistence: A friend of mine once asked me “Did you see my tweet about….” This was the only tweet that my friend tweeted over a 6 month time.  He thought that by tweeting once, everyone would have seen it.  A tweet, a Facebook post, and most other forms of social media fall into the category known as “A Tree in the Woods.”  If you send out one tweet, and nobody reads it… did it really exist?  A good social media manager needs to understand that the best way to build up a social following and profile is by communication repetition.  This takes… well… time and energy.

These are just several of the qualities that companies and school districts should look for in a good social media manager.  Knowing how to organize everything is the other half of the battle.

The last two, and most important qualities that a good social media manager needs to have is speed and patience.  Implementing a solid social media plan in a community for the first time takes planning, preparation, education, and this is a time-consuming responsibility.  Things need to be done quickly and efficiently with the cooperation of several educators.  A Social Media Manager does not work alone.  They require the commitment from every building in the district as well as a commitment from their coworkers to supply content, submit videos, photos, and much more to fully realize a successful social media plan.  The Social Media Manager is only the captain of the ship… but a captain with a huge responsibility and dedication to their school and community.

What is the Name of the Game?

The responsibility for the Social Media Manager overwhelmingly is communication.  Your job is to speak on the level of those you are speaking to.  True, the internet has developed a code, a language, and several other gimmicks to differentiate those who are “connected” and those who “aren't.” A good Social Media Manager understands the community better than they understand themselves and is always a step ahead of the game.  Remember those little square digital boxes?  Well, now, most people understand them as Quick Response or QR Codes.  It's becoming common place to find them in stores all around to help promote a product.  The same goes for things such as URL's or Hashtags.  It is the responsibility of the district, through the Social Media Manager to train their community, through communication, rather than push away through intimidating “new” tech terms.

Links of interest:

About the author, Jeffrey Bradbury

Jeff Bradbury, creator of TeacherCast, and father of the famous @EduTriplets Thanks for checking out TeacherCast today. Please take a moment to find me on all of my Social Media channels!

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