Five ways your school can use social and digital media on a shoestring

By Posted in - Blogging & Schools & Social Media & Social Networking & Teachers & Technology & Tools & Twitter on March 1st, 2013 1 Comments

Social media doesn’t need to require a huge financial investment, and doesn’t even always need a huge investment in time. Here are five ways to help you get the most out of social and digital media without blowing a big budget.

1.    Design

  • Having good and consistent looking design across all of your social and digital media channels makes your organisation appear much more professional.
  • Creating a profile on a social media site and keeping the default settings makes the profile look unofficial and uncared for.
  • Do not leave your avatar blank or keep the twitter “newbie” egg as your profile picture.
  • You don’t need to invest a lot of money in professional designers to make your profiles stay on brand but it does take a bit of time and a little bit of skill.
  • Begin by uploading an avatar that is cropped to the correct size and make sure the resolution is high enough. You do not need expensive photo editing software to do this. Most social media sites provide you with a tool to crop your photo, or you can use a free image editing tool such as Pixlr.
  • Do not keep the default background (eg the sky on twitter), and steer clear from using low resolution images or free templates with a “created by xxx” on them. Even just using your brand colour as a background can make the profile look professional and cared for.

2.    Organise

  • Clearly organize your social media profiles on your website, and make sure you sign post to them correctly.
  • Don’t allow duplicate profiles to be created and try and shut down any rouge accounts that are out there (however signposting to the official profiles from your website, helps direct people to the right ones).
  • Get the details right. Make sure your address is correct on Google Maps, Facebook and Foursquare and try and claim a community page for your organisation on Facebook and the venues on Foursquare.
  • Use a free social media monitoring and management tool such as Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to collate all of your social and digital media profiles in one place. This helps you avoid having to spend time opening the various websites and logging in and out of accounts.
  • Let the information come to you. Set up email alerts or other notifications for messages and interactions on your social and digital media profiles so you are made aware when someone is trying to contact you, without having to keep going to the websites or your social media management tool to check what is happening.

3.    Monitor

  • Listening can give you a huge insight into your audience and your organsiation on social media, and can also provide you with lots of content to share.
  • Use your social media monitoring and management tool to create keyword searches.
  • Identify hashtags being used on Instagram about you.
  • Read the tips that people have left for you on Foursquare.
  • These are all things that you can’t make go away, so it is important to be on top and aware of others comments.

4.    Schedule:

  • You don’t have to devote as much time to social media as you may think. Scheduling posts can be is a great way to save on the investment in time needed for social media, and help stagger posts and updates beyond the working day.
  • Collate the message that you would like to share at the beginning of the day or even the week, and schedule them so they can be drip fed whilst you get on with other things.
  • There are many free tools which allow you to do this:
    • Facebook has an in built schedule function which is quick and easy to use.
    • Tweetdeck and Hootsuite also allow you to schedule for specific times.
    • However if you do not want to have to queue up tweets to a specific time, the free Buffer App can queue up posts and drip fed them at random times, to provide a consistent stream of updates.

5.    COPE – Create once, publish everywhere.

  • When you spend time creating or sourcing content for your social media channels make sure you make the most of it.  A little content can go a long way if it is drip fed and adapted to suit all of your different channels.
  • Never post the same thing written in the same way on different social media channels. A tweet with @replies and #tags does not look good on Facebook, but a bit of rewriting can make the same content look good both places.

Presentation delivered by Tracy at AMIDS and IAPS Prep School Seminar on Thursday 28th February.

The video in the presentation was created using the Animoto App and took less than 20minutes to make. We love the app so much we have added it as one of our Friday Favorites – read more about the app at www.picklejarcommunications.com/2013/03/01/animotoap/

During the presentation, Tracy also advised the representatives from schools present to use a smaller number of social media sites, but use them well. Carefully choosing the right ones for you is important, and this handout on how to choose your platforms may be helpful. Here is a more detailed blog post that also takes you through each of the stages outlined in the handout and describes them in more detail. Happy reading 🙂

(1) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • Tracy Playle - Reply

    March 7, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    There’s an interesting article here too on ‘Social SEO in 1 hour a day’. Might be helpful for those of you who are time poor. I think some of their timings are over-optimistic, but the idea of having a structure for this is fairly helpful to those who really don’t have much time.

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