Stephanie SmithThis is a guest blog post by Stephanie Smith, APR, Director of Public Relations for the Fort Osage School District

Let’s face it, whether I want to admit it or not, I am addicted to social media. It is not only part of my job, but something I really enjoy working on. Social media gives me a chance to interact with so many different parents, students, and community members in ways that weren’t possible before. I get to experience what is happening in our schools without being there. I get to see the creativity our teachers show everyday in helping kids to learn and achieve their goals. So what does a typical day entail?

Typical daily schedule of a school social media guru

5:00 a.m. As a social media guru, the first thing I do when I get out of bed is grab my phone and check our Blackboard Social Media Manager to see what social activity has taken place overnight. I also check my personal accounts to see what I missed while sleeping.

6:30 a.m. I am back checking the app to see if there are any questions about the day ahead. It seems wrong to leave the house without just one last glance. Then I begin my commute to work. Driving is a great time to think about what new social media posts we can use while my phone is set aside.    

Screenshot of Sociability, Blackboard's social media monitoring tool for schools

Example of using Blackboard Social Media Manager to monitor social media sites

7:30 a.m. Arriving at the office means eating breakfast while doing a more detailed look over our 52 Facebook pages, 19 Twitter accounts, 2 Instagram accounts, and 3 Pinterest pages. I may be a school social media guru, but it is not my only responsibility. I have a system in place for checking specific pages each day. I make sure that each social media channel gets a personal touch from me at least once a week. Posts are up by 7:30 a.m. (many times, scheduled the day before because this school social media guru has many other responsibilities and life does happen). Facebook posts are scheduled through Facebook or Blackboard while Twitter posts are scheduled through Hootsuite or Blackboard. Each school has an assigned day of the week where I look not only at the main school page, but any teacher/club/activity pages as well.  

12:00 p.m. I do a quick check on our schools pages and take the time to respond to any questions that I may have missed in the am. I also like to spend some time interacting with our teacher/class/activity Twitter accounts. This is a great time to share our personal story on the accounts. Be creative!  

3:30 p.m. I take time to plan our posts for the next few days. I try and see what we have going on. I ask myself: What major events/celebrations may be taking place? What have we not posted? What has a picture to go with it? I also take time to check our social media statistics to help us plan the best time of day to post and what posts are receiving the most interaction. Facebook Page Insights give you great information on who you are reaching with each post. There is also information on what your best time of day is to post to reach your target audiences. 

Twitter post of students and teacher

Twitter post of Fort Osage High School students and teacher heading out on a field trip.

5:30 p.m. I take a quick look at Blackboard Social Media Management app to see what great things happened at our schools throughout the day. This might be my favorite time to check social media.

9:00 p.m. Just because I am a school social media guru and can’t possibly imagine going to bed without one last look. I open my app to make sure there are no questions or comments that need a response. I also like to look at other school social media channels to see what ideas I might be able to borrow that fit with our strategy. 

Quick tricks of the trade

  1. Find a great social media monitoring tool, it will make your life much easier. I like Hootsuite and Blackboard Social Media Manager (this allows me to respond almost immediately to questions raised). Realize that the monitoring tools will occasionally miss things so you need to check in on your social media sites regularly.
  2. Writing for each type of social media site is different. Know it. Practice it. Check out Shareaholic for great social writing tips.
  3. Be engaging, be fun, and be responsive. People like a personal touch on their social media channels.  
  4. Social media is not 9 to 5 and most times the interactions are before and after those hours. It will take extra time, but it will pay off.  
  5. Have a plan for your posts. Social media is not something to do willy nilly. A good school PR social guru will have a calendar with planned posts. This does not mean that spontaneous posts don’t happen, but there is a reason behind posting when you do and what you do. Use a template calendar to get you started in your planning.  

Stephanie is the Director of Public Relations for the Fort Osage R-1 School District. She has been with Fort Osage for 14 years. Stephanie earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the College of Wooster in Wooster, OH and carries an APR (Accredited in Public Relations). Prior to that she served as the Marketing Representative for Baker University School of Professional and Graduate studies. Stephanie is very active in the community including being treasurer of the Eastern Independence Rotary, past Buckner Chamber of Commerce President, and serves on various non-profit committees. She and her husband, Stacey live in Odessa with their twin 9 year old daughters.  

 

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