Is your parent group interested in going social but not sure where to begin? Follow this straightforward guide to get started.
FIRST ASK A FEW KEY QUESTIONS:
- Learn how your community participates on social media. (Try a simple email survey.) You may discover that parents are on Facebook but not yet on Twitter. Follow their lead.
- How will you use social media? You can post event updates, but consider using it to engage your community by highlighting all the great stuff you do and asking parents to comment, too.
THEN TAKE CARE OF ORGANIZATIONAL TASKS:
- Designate a person as your Facebook and/or Twitter administrator. Limit administration privileges to one or two people to keep things simple. Administrators set up the page, add photos, post information, and monitor and delete comments as needed.
- We recommend connecting with the principal to convey what you want to do with social media. Technically, you don’t need the principal’s permission if you are an independent group. But most principals will appreciate a heads-up.
Now you’re ready to begin!
- Set up the group’s Facebook page following the prompts at www.facebook.com. Consider creating a separate email account to register on Facebook and use for social interaction. (All notifications will come to that email.)
- Build your community. Promote your page with its URL and ask parents to Like your page. Search for other (relevant) groups and organizations to Like. Scan your news feed and share good content from others.
- Create posts that are short (ideally three lines of text) and encourage people to like them, comment, and share. If you post “Click LIKE,” people will! Make sure to include photos!
- Keep it simple. A series of photos from the spaghetti supper tells the story better than several lines of text.
- Encourage comments and don’t squelch negative
remarks unless they are inflammatory or false. Respond to negative comments with a helpful, constructive post.
- Plan regular discussions with the board to decide what content to post. And try this time-saver: Facebook
currently has an easy-to-follow scheduling function (click on lower left icon of a post) that allows you to schedule posts in advance.
- Create a Twitter account at www.twitter.com. It’s simple, requiring only an email, password, and username. The name becomes your Twitter handle(@GPSVNET, for example).
- Promote your Twitter handle and ask other parents to follow you (in emails, in your newsletter, and in other communications).
- Build your Twitter community much the way you would build one on Facebook, by following other groups and organizations as well as parents who follow you.
- Because you are limited to 140 characters or fewer, use Twitter to publish information and/or direct people back to your website. More complex messages are better for Facebook or perhaps email.
- Engage your followers on Twitter by retweeting good stuff they post and thanking them if they retweet your tweets.
- Consider a free software tool such as HootSuite to manage your time. You can schedule posts in advance.
- Whatever social channel you use, remember that you are posting as a parent or booster club, not as yourself. So have fun, but keep it clean and professional. A joke you’d put on your personal Facebook page may not belong on the Parent Group page.
- To keep up with technical changes on Facebook and Twitter, try Social Media Examiner.
WHAT DO THINGS MEANS?
- Facebook business page: Used by organizations and businesses. A Facebook community or following is created when individuals Like the page.
- Facebook personal account: Used by individuals to create a network of friends. Requires sending requests to become friends and confirmation of that friendship.
- follow: Selecting a company or person to track on social channels, such as Twitter. By doing so, you have access to their tweets and other Twitter
activity, such as retweets.
- handle: A person’s or company’s name on Twitter, identified with the “@” symbol preceding the name, as
- hashtag: A word or combination of words used to designate a topic or trend for your tweet. Posted with the tweet, it uses the “#” symbol and typically uses abbreviated language, as in #back2school.
- Like: Selecting a company or person to track on Facebook. You can Like any organization’s page that is publicly available.
- news feed: A continuously updated stream of posts from friends, organizations, and companies that you have friended or Liked on Facebook or that you follow on Twitter. Feeds are immediately visible when you log onto social accounts.
- post: Any comments or information you publish on Facebook. Can include links to articles and attached photos.
- share: Reposting someone else’s existing Facebook post on your own Timeline. It, in turn, can be seen by anyone else who has Liked your page.
- retweet: Reposting someone else’s existing tweet. It is displayed as a retweet with “RT” preceding the
original tweet’s text.
- Timeline: Your main page on Facebook, where you create and publish posts.
- tweet: A 140-character message on Twitter. When tweeted, it is available to your Twitter followers or to anyone who searches words you put in your tweet. Typically written with abbreviations.