With 1.35 billion users on Facebook and 284 million users on Twitter, the use of social media in schools can provide a great strategic advantage for K-12 districts. However, many principals and administrators lack awareness of the potential value school social media can bring to their districts, and are often reluctant to adopt it. More often than not, though, parents and community members are looking to social media to gain insight into what is happening at the school. Educators have a significant opportunity to leverage this channel as another way to build and sustain trusting relationships with parents and community members.

Blackboard’s social media manager, Sociability, is specifically designed to enable K-12 schools and districts to easily manage, monitor and maintain their social media presence. Annette Eyeman, Communications Director at Papillion La-Vista Public School District, and an early adopter of social media in schools, has been using Sociability for some time now. We interviewed Annette to see how she’s managing her school’s social media presence using Blackboard Sociability.

What drew you to Blackboard Sociability?

A: Prior to using Blackboard Sociability, tracking and managing our school social media accounts was a nightmare. We have 45 social media accounts across all of our schools, which makes it very difficult to monitor. Notifications were scattered and delayed, and we found ourselves communicating the same information, over and over again. Sociability does a great job of pulling everything into one place. It’s so much easier to monitor conversations and tell our district’s story. We also save a lot of time because we can now post the same message across all accounts once, instead of 45 times.

How has Blackboard Sociability helped your school district?

It has helped us in a number of ways. I can point out a great example. On a Sunday afternoon, we had a student post a bomb threat on Twitter. We immediately got a push notification via Sociability and were able to get the police involved in a matter of minutes. Without this, there is no way we could have identified this threat as quickly as we did. Not only were we able to identify the threat, we were also able to gauge the sentiment of our community and adjust our communications plan accordingly. It really became a critical part of our crisis communication plan.

What has community feedback been like since you started using social media in your district?

Parents appreciate the fact that we’re communicating with them through social media. It’s one of the first places they look to for school information. We’ve done a great job of using it to quickly link parents to the information they need. The use of school social media has improved both parent and community involvement and engagement in our district. We’ve definitely noticed a difference in our response rate and we’re seeing and answering questions much faster now. We’ve also received some great feedback from principals and school administrators who find Sociability to be very user friendly and enjoy the positive impact social media has made on our community. Schools are much more engaged in social media and it doesn’t seem as threatening as it once did. It’s become as common as texting.

Learn more about Papillion La-Vista’s journey by downloading a copy of their story, and join one of our upcoming demos to see what Blackboard Sociability can do for you and your community.

Take a quiz to see how your K-12 community supports your district


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