Independent schools are flocking to social media and with good reason. Social media offers the promise of inbound marketing, branding, improved search engine optimization (SEO), and the ability to engage with the many constituencies at an independent school - all at little or no cost. The problem though is once independent schools create their social media accounts they aren't sure how to properly use their new social media channels like Twitter.
After you've created a Twitter account for your school I would encourage you to think about tweeting using the 75/25 rule -75% of the content you tweet should be about your school while 25% of the content you tweet should not be about your school but about topics complimentary to your school like local community news and events.In order to help you brainstorm ideas, I've compiled a list of 31 ways that independent schools can use Twitter. My list is not exhaustive and these ideas are meant to serve as a jumping off point for your own tweets.
- Automatically feed your independent school's current news RSS feed to your school's Twitter account.
- Tweet your school's sports scores and results.
- Tweet photos and descriptions of your new teachers.
- Tweet your daily lunch menu.
- Tweet school cancellations due to weather.
- Tweet articles from local newspapers that discuss your school.
- Tweet changes in the daily schedule.
- Tweet a school picture of the day.
- Take a short video of dress rehearsal for a school performance and tweet in order to encourage people to attend.
- Tweet quotes from school meetings that are informational or memorable.
- Tweet job openings at your school.
- Tweet upcoming admission events and include a link to register.
- Tweet upcoming alumni events and include a link with the event details.
- Tweet calendar events.
- Individual teachers can post 'Questions of the Day' for extra-credit.
- Conduct competitive research using Twitter Search .
- Create a PLN (Personal Learning Network) by reaching out to colleagues at other schools through Twitter.
- Create a Twitter List of Alumni.
- Create a Twitter List of Faculty and Staff on Twitter.
- Tweet items from your other social networks.
- Tweet new additions to your library.
- Share educational news and articles germane to your school.
- Follow other teachers, schools, alumni, and people in your community and listen to how they use Twitter.
- Tweet educational quotes once a day.
- Tweet interesting historical school facts.
- Tweet local news that would be of interest to your families.
- Tweet all of your school's blog posts.
- Use Twitter to communicate/connect with people in lieu of email.
- Conduct a Twitter chat around a local interest, school interest, or even an alumni interest.
- Ask your followers for the answer to a question.
- Conduct a local twitter search and offer to help people with questions that they pose.
While I've been using Twitter for years now I still feel like there is much for me to learn from this social media channel. If you're interested in reading more about social media, you can check out my video book review of Chris Brogan's book, social media 101 here. I hope that you'll jump into using Twitter for your school, as well as for yourself. I also hope that you'll offer at least one additional way to use Twitter in the comments section after this post.
About the Author: Brendan Schneider is Director of Admission at Sewickley Academy, Pittsburgh's oldest private school, which enrolls over 700 K - 12 students. Brendan brought inbound marketing to Sewickley as an alternative to customary outbound marketing methods to reach prospective students and their families. You can find Brendan discussing all things related to independent school marketing on his blog, in Twitter conversations @schneiderb.