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10 Questions About Social Media Marketing for Schools Answered

Social media marketing for schools is a big deal and it is pretty tough. When you go online you will see schools competing for social media recognition. The highly active social media networks - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google are all available for schools to leverage to gain brand recognition. Most schools are understaffed and do not have a budget for social strategy. As a matter of fact, in our social media survey of 100+ schools, we found that one-third of schools don't have any social media budget, and another one-third don't know how much to spend. Additionally, only 5% of respondents have social media marketing as a full-time job, and 68% dedicate five hours or less per week to social media marketing. Now you know that you are not alone. Many schools like yours are in the same boat. However, there are many of your competitors who know the benefit of social media marketing to their business and have a strong budget for it. We know how difficult …

How To Use Social Media as An Interactive Teaching Tool

Social media has gotten millions of people engrossed, some to the point of addiction. Our students are constantly on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. Rather than view social media as a vice diverting the attention of students from their studies, you can leverage this addiction and integrate social media into formal learning. To bring the “real world” into the classroom, you may have to bring social media into your lessons.
Facebook has its origins in Harvard University, it began in the school hostel bedrooms of Mark Zuckerberg and his college friends. So, it is perhaps appropriate to look at the role of social media in education today.
About 66% of all students aged 12+ have a profile on at least one social networking site. A reasonable percentage of this number could potentially be secondary school students. 
Schools use social media marketing to showcase their programmes and attract students, but are they harnessing the full power of the medium to engage and interact with those same students once they begin their studies? Does social media have a place as a teaching tool or is it simply a distraction?
When used carefully, social media can be a useful tool rather than a distraction. Social media not only brings current technology to the classroom, but it also helps bridge the digital divide among lower-income students. 
Here are a few ways you can integrate social media into classroom learning:

Have a Class Facebook Group

Facebook is known as a place to post status updates, announcements, photos, and video, and you can post as much as you want without it looking creepy. These things we share on Facebook – updates, photos, videos, and announcements – are all things that we likely use in our classes already, so doing so on a Facebook group will not be out of place. 
Each class can have its own Facebook group, where they can post assignments, make announcements, and remind students about important deadlines. You can even ask parents to join the group. This practice will allow the parents to monitor what their kids are studying. When they are given assignments, they will be able to see it as well. By involving parents online, you will indirectly train them to work with their children offline as well.
Another key importance of a Facebook group is that it creates a space for students to ask and answer questions concerning their studies. When students get home and begin to work on their homework, they can post a question to the group’s wall that either their teachers or classmates can answer. These answers could guide them in their homework and creates another avenue for them to learn outside the classroom, and with ease. It extends the classroom discussion beyond the classroom.
Since students often learn from one another, having students share their questions, insights, or experiences with a topic can expand learning for other students.
Teachers can take advantage of the Facebook group to post videos, photos, documents, and other resources so that students can access them before class and have a heads-up on the topics for each class. These materials will remain on the group for them to refer to while working on their assignments.
Since many older students, teachers, and parents already have Facebook on their phones and tablets, they have constant access to course information without having to log in to a completely different system.
From this, you can see that Facebook is not just a mere social media website. Take advantage of its features and use it as an interactive teaching tool.

Start a Twitter Feed

Twitter is an online news and social networking service where users post and interact with messages (called "tweets") restricted to 140 characters. Registered users can post tweets, but those who are unregistered can read them but not post.
Like Facebook, Twitter offers a quick way to post class announcements and reminders as well as real-time information on class field trips for parents to keep tabs on their children’s activities. You can live-tweet from a field trip to let the school community you left behind and parents keep up with all activities.
Twitter also helps classes track information on a topic. The use of hashtags enables students to read up on any topic by experts in any field. By following hashtags, students can also get information on a current world issue and learn more about what is happening in the world around them.
Twitter can also act as an after classroom extended discussion on any topic, for example, career ideas, Twitter can provide up-to-date information, eliminating the need for extensive research. You can use this information in a variety of class discussions, research, and writing projects.
The Twitter platform is highly interactive, so they do not just read what others post but can have extensive interactions with any student who joins the thread. 
You can make the Twitter experience fun, even as it is educative, by allowing the students to post their favorite quotes or facts on a particular topic. 
Through Twitter, older students can interact with industry professionals. The students who need to explore their career options before heading to the university benefit from real-world discussions with professionals in paths they’re considering. Twitter helps them connect with primary sources and facilitates educational communication. You can get them to interact with experts by tweeting questions or comments. Many organizations offer Twitter chat sessions with which students can interact.
Twitter also allows direct messaging. You may want to talk privately with students and their parents via the direct message feature.

Get students involved in blogging

Many writers we have today discovered their passion for writing from extracurricular writing in their school days. Get your students involved in writings separate from traditional writing projects. A good way of achieving this is through blogging. 
A blog is a regularly updated web page, typically one run by an individual or a group, that is written in an informal or conversational style. Blogs create great opportunities for students to write and display their writing on a larger scale. The more they do it, the more their writing improves.
There are endless topic ideas for the blog. Have students reflect on lessons or field trips, document research for a larger project; or review movies, books, or audio recordings. Ask students to illustrate their thoughts with photos or videos. Students may likely be creating a career path as they participate in this.
Another benefit of engaging students in blogging is that as students read each other’s blog posts, they will bond more with one another and discover shared experiences and reactions. 
Since blog posts are saved on the world wide web to be accessed by people all around the world and the online content will outlive them, the students will have increased motivation to carefully consider their language, spelling, and grammar usage.

Upload Student's Videos to YouTube

Like Facebook, YouTube is an excellent option for flipped classrooms in that students can watch lectures and resources before entering the classroom.
YouTube has fast become a go-to platform to see and learn how to get something done (like a visual Google). For example, somebody wants to learn how to assemble a new furniture that was just delivered to them, they go on YouTube to see how others did it. This concept can be applied to learning. 
YouTube offers a wealth of knowledge. You can find all kinds of tutorials there. You will easily find quality tutorials related to fitness, design, languages, cooking, science, math, dissertation help and much more. 
Instead of always watching material created by others, why not have students create their own material? Create your own videos. Keep them short, interesting and to-the-point. This way other students will not mind watching them.
Like blogging, the opportunities for student-created video are numerous. Students will enjoy watching each other explain a concept, review a book or movie, stage their own interpretation of a scene from a play, create public service announcements, or report on news stories. Again, like blogging, since the material will be seen by a wider audience, students will be more apt to do their very best in creating a video, and they will enjoy being able to express their creativity as they connect more deeply with course material.

Share Photos of Student's Work on Instagram

If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine what a carefully crafted class Instagram feed can say. 
Create an Instagram profile for each class where student’s artworks or projects can be showcased. You can spice it up by sharing interesting details about students. Start a scavenger hunt in which students post pictures of items focused on a certain letter or theme. Have students post photos of items related to their favorite book or historical figure.
Let’s not forget that it is important to protect students’ privacy, especially when using a public channel like Instagram. As you create an Instagram account for your class, you may wish to set the account to “private” and carefully vet all potential followers. The students, teachers, parents and school community should be granted access.
The Instagram page can be a forum where students talk about their daily routine and artistic vision with the class. You can document memories from field trips. Invite a student volunteer to be “archivist” and take photos on your field trips or during class parties for your class Instagram account.
Invite students to snap photos of their favorite books with a description of why they love it in the caption. Teachers and students can go through the photos to get more inspiration on what to study.
Since students are already using social media outside the classroom, integrating it into the classroom helps students learn best practices for social media and offers an interesting new twist on lessons. 
About privacy concerns, it is advised that you read all social media platforms’ privacy pages, and ensure that your class feeds are set to private to protect students’ work. Also, review your school’s social media policy and if necessary, have parents sign consent forms for posting their child’s work online. 
This post was first published on DucoBrands.

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