Social Media

Engaging with Social Media: Training for K-12 School Districts

Victoria Harkes
Average  to read article
17 Minutes

If your school has little to no social media presence, it's time to get into the game!

The use of social media in education has become a vital part of enhanced communication strategies in proactive schools. Social media is attractive because it is an affordable way to get your message out. However, the best thing about most social media platforms is their ability to foster engagement among students, parents/guardians and educational staff members. Getting started may seem overwhelming, but we’ve got you covered!

In this blog, you’ll find a brief introduction to some key training for the social media platforms on the market today to help you succeed with the ones you want to have a presence on. Start with training before jumping in and learn how to maximize your presence while managing your channels.

The importance of Training

Three pairs of hands, the middle ones using a laptop, the others using phones, with the words social media below

Okay, this first tip may seem obvious to educators: start with training. Right? You’d be surprised by how many people just jump in before equipping themselves with the best practices and helpful strategies needed to launch a successful social media program.

Get to know the platforms and familiarize yourself with their features so you can formulate a social media plan. Then take advantage of their training packages. They’ll have anticipated questions you may have for problems that could arise. You’ll find that the training is there to equip you with tools and skills, fine-tune your strategy, and ultimately improve your presence in the digital world. Training guides you, but you are in control.

Social Media Platforms

Know which platforms are most popular among your community. Start a small and manageable plan to build your following. Become the source of information that your community heads to first for their updates. Here are the most popular options at this time.

Twitter

Mobile phone on a desk showing the Twitter login screen

Twitter is a network that connects people with similar interests and ideas. While other apps allow lengthy posts, on Twitter people converse using tweets (snappy messages of no more than 280 characters). It can be used for sharing news and posting school updates, videos and links to sites. Hashtags can be used to group conversations under specific topics.

Getting Started

The first step is to create an account and a username that identifies the school, a department or a class. It must be something that resonates with your audience. From there, you’ll add a biography that could include the purpose of the account. Next, you’ll upload an image that represents the school or district, such as a logo/crest or a photo that your audience recognizes. Once your account is in place, you can post your first tweet. Consider the use of hashtags – a written symbol (#) that allows people to follow trending topics of interest to them.

Their Training

Twitter has a help center that provides a comprehensive list of topics to search, such as

  • Getting started (how to tweet, adding content and website and app integrations)
  • Managing your accounts
  • Using Twitter
  • Incorporating hashtags
Other Training Resources:

LinkedIn Learning offers many courses on Twitter training including Twitter Essential Training and Social Media Marketing with Twitter.

Udemy offers a video format for more visual learners: Twitter Marketing & Twitter Ads For Beginners. The course covers the basics, everything from how to use Twitter to how to get the most out of it. The video runs on-demand at 4.5-hours in length.

Training tips:
  • Share links that are relevant
  • Retweet other posts related to your content
  • Use hashtags to engage ongoing conversations

LinkedIn

Mobile phone in a hand showing the LinkedIn login screen

LinkedIn is a platform for professional networking on which you can create a page for your school, share school news and post jobs. Job seekers use it to post their resumes. Staff, students and alumni may use this platform and follow your page.

Getting Started

On this platform, you’ll begin by creating an account for your school with an email that connects to the school. You’ll select the account type, most likely educational institution, add school profile details and then upload a profile image or graphic that represents your school. Your page goes live once you check the site confirmation verification box and click the create-page button.

Their Training

LinkedIn Help offers a resourceful FAQ page as well as helpful suggestions with editing your profile and merging accounts on the platform.

Other Training Resources

LinkedIn Learning offers training courses for LinkedIn users including:

LinkedIn Training Tips
  • Keep the profile up-to-date
  • Highlight the related news about your school
  • Grow your school’s connections

Facebook

Laptop showing the Facebook login screen

Perhaps the most familiar of social media platforms, Facebook is a ubiquitous network that allows you and your community to stay in touch, to share information, stories and photos. Use your school’s page to make announcements, post events and track your participants’ interests. It’s a place for your audience to share their feedback.

Getting Started

To set up a Facebook account for your school, you’ll create a business account from a list of dropdown options. You’ll enter admin information followed by a password, and then select sign-up. Facebook takes you through the steps to set up your page, find friends and learn about privacy settings, among other things. You can upload both a profile image and a cover photo that are affiliated with your school. You can also follow other pages.

To set up a business page, click create at the top right corner to select from options. Click here for more information about setting up your Facebook page.

Their Training

The Facebook Help Center is a wealth of information about everything from how to create an account and set up your home page to creating posts and optimizing your social reach.

Other Training Resources

HubSpot Academy offers its series of free online courses that can take your Facebook skills to the next level:

Facebook Training Tips
  • Create your school’s page using familiar images and content
  • Publish your own content
  • Share content of interest to your community

Instagram

Mobile phone in a hand showing the Instagram login screen

Instagram is a social network platform for telling your story visually – for sharing photos and short videos with your community or targeted audiences via its mobile app. Instagram has become one of the top social media platforms for engagement.

Getting Started

You’ll need to download the Instagram app onto a mobile device or go to Instagram.com. You’ll signup with an email, a mobile phone number, or your Facebook account. You then will create a school profile, including a photo, a biography and a link to your website. You’re ready to start sharing photos and videos. Be sure to use and search hashtags to connect with your audience.

Their Training

The Instagram help center will take you through everything you need, from signing up and creating your profile to sharing photos and videos, how to direct message and manage notifications.

Other Training Resources

Skillshare offers courses for online learning on topics including design, video, freelancing, and more:

Udemy also offers a course called The Complete Instagram Marketing Course for Beginners that includes information on:

  • How to create an account
  • How to generate content and hashtags
  • How to manage your account
Instagram Training Tips
  • Take and post relevant photos and videos
  • Group photos and videos using Hashtags
  • Use themes to engage your audience

YouTube

Mobile phone on a desk showing the Youtube logo

YouTube is a popular video-sharing service – another social platform that tells stories visually – specifically with videos that can be viewed on any device.

Getting Started

You’ll sign in to YouTube and click on the user icon and then click on the gear icon to get to account settings. You’ll be prompted to create a new channel for your school and then to customize it by adding a school profile, photo and website. Your school channel allows you to add links to other social platforms to maximize engagement with your various users.

Their Training

YouTube Help Center has a vast selection of topics to help you with setting up your account, editing and uploading videos, customizing and managing your account, and much more. As well, you can join a discussion forum on which you can get in touch with experts and other users to gain insight on optimizing YouTube.

Other Training Resources

Udemy provides a complete guide to starting a YouTube channel. With this course, you'll learn how to:

  • Create your own YouTube channel
  • Get more views
  • Make high-quality videos on a budget
  • Grow your YouTube channel
Youtube Training Tips
  • Target videos for specific audiences
  • Start with simple editing software
  • Track comments left by viewers

TikTok

Mobile phone showing the Tiktok official account on Tiktok

TikTok is the latest video-sharing social networking service. It became the most downloaded app surpassing both Instagram and YouTube. This social media platform is used to make and post short videos that range in length from 15 seconds to 3 minutes. This app has been used as a forum for creative expression in all its forms, including music, dance and fashion.

Getting Started

You’ll download the app onto a mobile device and sign-up using an email address, phone number, or another social media account. It is important to select a unique user name that your audience will identify with their school or district. You’ll then add a profile description and a profile photo to establish your TikTok account. After these few short steps, you’ll be ready to post videos.

Their Training

TikTok provides directions on how to use its platform through its support service site. Among their guidelines, you find details about how to:

  • Add an effect
  • Save a draft
  • Record a video using a countdown
  • Set your video to private
Other Training Resources

Udemy offers a course called: A Complete Content Marketing Course for TikTokers. You will learn:

  • What it is and how to use it
  • How to create videos
  • How to navigate the platform
Training Tips
  • Use Hashtags
  • Post consistently
  • Leverage trends

Snapchat

Mobile phone showing the Snapchat app with a notification

Snapchat is another popular mobile device app that allows you to customize and post photos, videos and texts, called snaps, using their camera lenses that include filters and effects. This versatile social platform is unique because the snaps are available for a short viewing window – and they disappear after they’ve been viewed.

Getting Started

You’ll start by downloading the app onto a mobile device. You’ll create a school account that will be verified using a mobile phone number. After you’ve set a secure password, you’re ready to create and send snaps that tell your story and connect you to your community.

Their Training

Snapchat Support offers tips and answers to commonly asked questions about key topics like:

  • How to use Snapchat filters
  • Creating and sending Snaps
  • Connecting with friends
  • Your profile and stories
Other Training Resources

Hootsuite offers considerable help for beginners that includes:

  • How to set up a Snapchat account
  • How to navigate Snapchat
  • How to create and send Snaps
  • How to use Snapchat stories
Training Tips
  • Showcase everyday tasks recognizable at your school
  • Share in-the-moment, live events – have fun, be kind
  • Spice up Snaps with stickers and Bitmojis

Key Takeaways

There are many social platforms available to you; however, you may not need all of them at once, if at all. Pick a few to prioritize, become familiar with their features, create a social media plan, and then just do it! But for heaven’s sake, don’t forget to take advantage of all the free training that is out there to get you started on the right foot.

Training for social media platforms can help you organize and structure your content in a strategic way. It will demonstrate how you can take full advantage of each platform’s strengths, features and tools. Social media platforms will help you engage with your community and help you target messages and stories to specific audiences. The key is to use the right platform effectively for the right audience.

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