Articles & Resources About Social Media

Social MediaSocial media’s exponential growth over the past few years, with 91% (and growing) adults accessing some type of social media per month means anyone can tweet, pin, comment, and post on just about any business or organization in the world (yes, even those without a social media presence!).

With more than 66% of adults online in America connected to one or more social platforms, there are incredible opportunities to get your organization’s news and information in front of your audiences! The tips posted in our Social Media blog are designed with education and non-profit organizations in mind so that you can harness the power of social media for your organization!

16 LOW- and NO-Cost Ways to Market Your Blog

Marketing your blog doesn’t have to be a high-cost adventure.  In fact, taking advantage of each of your organization’s touch points offer a number of low- and no-cost opportunities to market your blog.  Here are a few ideas to get you started!

  1. Insert the blog URL into your email signature. It’s simple, but you’re looking to build the blog into your comprehensive marketing approach. Keep in mind that by inserting your blog URL into your email different audiences will get a glimpse of your blog.
  2. And…integrate your blog into ALL of your operations. Beyond including a link to your blog in your email signature, include the URL on all organizational communications, meeting agendas (“Let’s continue to keep the lines of communications open—follow ABC Organization’s blog at www.abc.org!”), business cards, outgoing voicemail messages, and more.
  3. Put a sign in your organization’s/school’s office window or announcements area (or bulletin board) to promote your blog.
  4. Include a blog link and a call-to-action in everyone’s email signature file. Make sure that you can change these signature file URLs centrally.
  5. Have a sign-up sheet at your organization’s/school’s meetings to collect email information by hand. Don’t forget to simultaneously gain permission to contact signees.
  6. Create a handout for visitors/meeting attendees using a few of your best how to articles as a take one in your place of business.
  7. Identify a volunteer of the week and promote them using your blog. Recognizing volunteers is also a great way to retain volunteers!  Provide background information about why the person was selected—this individual and their friends will certainly share this announcement via their social media and email channels. (Just remember to get people’s permission.)
  8. Promote the blog via customer service using mentions on written emails and phone hold messages.
  9. Include a blurb about your blog on customer facing materials.
  10. Ask partners to promote your blog. PTA, boosters, business partners…and, remember this should be a two way street. You need to offer to help their promotion efforts in return. Coordinate efforts!
  11. Make a decorative sign promoting your blog and its URL. Hang it in a critical area with a lot of traffic like a conference room or, even, the restrooms.
  12. Place a computer in a public place in your location so customers can check out your blog and register for emails.
  13. Write a column for a local newspaper that helps build interest in your product and your expertise. For example, an “Ask the Principal” feature can answer readers’ questions. Include a mention of your blog in your column bio with a link back to your blog.
  14. Work with a local business. For example, you can offer a series of talks or demonstrations related to your organization’s offering and use the opportunity to promote the blog through their communications channels.
  15. Offer to help one or more of your local houses of worship and cross promote your blog through their communications vehicles.
  16. Use other tools creatively to promote your organization/school. Ifyouspend a lot of time in your local Starbucks, why not put a URL with an attention getting sign on your computer so people see it as they pass by?

We like to give credit where credit’s due, and inspiration from this blog post was drawn from Heidi Cohen’s “24 Ways to Promote Your Blog With NO Budget, NO Time & NO Resources”.  Read the full blog here.

10 Tips for Starting a Principal’s Blog and Keeping It Strong

BlogBlogging is increasingly becoming a popular communication tool for principals and administrators.  Unlike the “Principal’s Corner” in your school’s weekly bulletins, blogs allow for immediate communications, sharing of photos and videos, and more.  Here are 10 useful tips on how to keep the lines of communications open through engaging and inspirational blogs.

1. Work in WordPress.

WordPress is the most popular, most versatile blogging platform available. Plus, it’s pretty easy to use, and it can be added fairly easily to your existing website. Some experts recommend against using Blogspot or Blogger, as they’re not as user-friendly as WordPress is.  Keep your blog professional, clean and easy-to-read.

2. Brainstorm.

Side aside time to come up with ideas for blog posts—even writing some in advance.  Try to come up with 15-20 ideas at a time. Inspiration can come from interesting conversations, issue areas, articles you’ve read, current events, and more.  Read other blogs written by other principals for inspiration (follow and comment on them, too!).

3. Concentrate on high-quality content.

“Strive to provide readers with tips and advice that can’t be found anywhere else on the Internet,” says Andrew Schrage, co-owner of personal finance blog MoneyCrashers.com.  This is even true for principals’ blogs—think about what matters to parents when it comes to their child’s education: homework help, the Common Core standards, behavior, internet safety…the list goes on. Draw upon your past experiences as a principal to provide unique and insightful commentary, and focus on quality over quantity. A simple “5 Tips for Helping Your Child With Math” will be met with more enthusiasm than a long post about the intricacies of the Common Core Standard.

4. Use photos and videos

Schools have the best source of photos and videos—kids enjoying learning, being active, playing musical instruments, doing art, conducting a science experiment…the list goes on!

5. Post several times a week…okay, at least once a week

If you don’t publish regularly, you risk suffering from “Dead Blog Syndrome,” says speaker, author, and marketing consultant Thom Singer. Google and other search engines highly value fresh content. “When someone finds your blog and your most recent post is weeks, months, or years old, they do not assume you are committed to your projects,” Singer says. As a principal, you’re busy, so several blog posts a week may not be possible–try to aim for at least once a week.  Better yet, using the inspiration from Tip #2, above, write several posts in advance and that way, you’ll be able to post more than once a week!

6. Market your blog.

Tell your PTA, site employees, community partners, parents, and others about your blog through social media, email, regular communications, commenting on other blogs and even writing guest posts for other blogs (and including a link to your own blog).  Your blog posts should be a regular part of your social media updates.

7. Make a list.

Blogs with lists are a great way to attract and engage readers, and they’re an easy way to deliver valuable information in a succinct format.

8. Stray away from “all business, all the time.”

Non-business posts—ones that share thoughts about family and friends—are well-received because they show your human side.  Keep a positive tone, and try to keep non-business posts to a few times each month (versus a few times a week!).

9. Avoid politics.

Education is a political business-from budgets to the Common Core, politics infiltrates everything in education….except for your blog.  Whether or not you love or hate the Common Core, teacher tenure, or the latest collective bargaining updates are not content ideas for your blog. With that being said, generating support for your district’s bond measure through your blog?  That would be a good thing.  But, use the context of how the bond measure will directly help YOUR school and YOUR students—personalizing the information will go a long way in generating community support.

10. Share the workload.

Two words: Guest bloggers.  One source: Your school—PTA president, National Board Certified Teachers (they lend a certain expertise to education-related matters), your school’s PE teacher, the school nurse, your school counselor, the district’s food services director.  The list goes on—you have so many experts in “your own house” and so many topics they can lend to valuable blog posts. We always believe in giving credit where credit’s due—this blog was inspired by an article on PR Daily.  See the full article here.

Want more blogging tips?  Follow Sounding Board’s Social Media blog!

5 articles to help you boost, fix, or improve online engagement

I love learning new things (or getting an affirmation that old things continue to work) to help fix and improve the ways I do my work.  These are some recent PR Daily articles that I found particularly useful for boosting, fixing or improving online engagement:

30 Tweets in 30 Days

It might seem daunting to create a month’s worth of tweets, but really, when it comes down to it, so much of the content is already at your fingertips!  I’m a big believer in two things: 1) NOT reinventing the wheel (seriously, who has time to create new content for every online and/or print medium?!) and 2) message consistency.  Your audiences will read your organizations’ messages in a variety of different formats, and you will reach many (if not most) of your audience members in different ways–email, your organization’s website, social media, video, and any of your other communication mediums.  Therefore, you need to ensure that you are carrying your organization’s messages across each of your communication mediums.  

So, here are a few easy ways to create 30 tweets in 30 days:

  • Turn your organizational newsletter into an internal blog and give employees the ability to contribute. Link tweets to articles in the newsletter.
  • Identify which stories will be best shared via video—and work with students and other audience members on creating those videos.  Link teaser tweets to these videos.

Utilize the rule of thirds:

  • 1/3 of your content should promote your organization (calendar updates, board meetings, new student registration, other matters that are “organizational business”).  So, over 30 days, create 10 tweets that link to this information.
  • 1/3 of your content should be evidence of your organization supporting similar or like-minded businesses/organizations. Identify key partners that can help share your messages—and work with these partners on identifying which messages your organization will share.  Over 30 days, share 10 tweets that help leverage your partners’ news.
  • 1/3 of your content should be related to the “heart and soul” stories of your organization.  Find 10 ways to highlight how employees, students, and volunteers contribute to the mission of your organization.

Remember to time your content! Create a calendar that spells out what you’re going to say and when you’re going to say it, and align this calendar with organizational activities/initiatives.

For more inspiration, check out my blog post on “5 Social Media Content Ideas Readers Love” https://sounding-board.net/5-social-media-content-ideas-readers-love

6 Easy Ways to Build Your Organization’s Social Media Following

Building your organization’s social media following is comprised of activities that should be part of your overall social media strategy, and occur on an ongoing basisRemember, relationship-building and nurturing is not a one-time activity!  These are six easy ways to build your organization’s social media following, which will, in turn, also build your social media presence.

1.    Cover the basics. Make sure the bios/profiles for your social media accounts are complete. They should include clear and concise descriptions of your organization, your organization’s logo and your website URL.

2.    Share the news — and make sure yours gets shared! Retweet and share posts from others that you are following. And make sure you have sharing buttons on your content (blogs, news posts on your website, and of course, on your social media accounts).

3.    Promote your social media presence. Add social media badges (icons) to your organization’s website, blog, email signature, on your business cards, in your storefront and in email marketing.

4.    Make sure your content is interesting, useful, and interactive. Use photos, videos, write about engaging topics that leverage your expertise, and find ways to interact with your followers.

5.    Provide some exclusive offers to your followers.  Whether you’re a school and you offer free spirit items to the “next 20 followers” that comment and share a photo that you post, or a non-profit, and you offer an exclusive discount on your next event to the “next 10 followers” that share/comment on your status update, make sure that you are asking your followers to take an action (or actions) that helps build your following and social media presence, while providing a valuable exclusive offer that builds your brand.

6.    Network in person and online! Go to Tweet Ups, networking events, and other events in your market niche (or, better yet, start your own networking event/Tweet Up for those in your niche!). Find and follow partners, donors, supporters and others that support your organization’s mission via social media searches.

Check out Sounding Board Marketing & Communications’s Savvy Social Media Guide and Video for more tips on how to harness the power of social media to advance your organization’s goals!  Need help with developing your organization’s social media strategy or presence?  Contact us for more information about our social media services.

5 Social Media Content Ideas Readers Love

One of the biggest mistakes that marketing and PR people (or those who wear that hat) make for their organizations is pumping out website and social media content that I roughly define as content that “makes their organization look good” but isn’t necessarily interesting to readers.

One of the biggest challenges of social media is developing constant content that compels followers to come back for more.

Many education and non-profit organizations are challenged to come up with ideas of how to create this type of content, so, using some inspiration from a recent ragan.com article highlighting 20 content ideas readers love (you can read them here).  I’ve narrowed down the list to just five content ideas that will resonate with your education and non-profit audiences:

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10 Ways to use Instagram and Pinterest to Market Your Organization

Photo-based Instagram and Pinterest have built followings based on the compelling, fun and interesting photos posted by users…and in Pinterest’s case, providing decorating, clothing and other sources of inspiration to its millions of users.

Corporations to small businesses are boosting their brand identities and expanding their reach using these free services…why can’t your district, COE or non-profit organization?  Your brand is about great programs that advance important outcomes—education, interventions to help students be successful, making learning fun, great teachers, great staff members, improving a social good, and more.  I’d be willing to bet that there are hundreds of photo opportunities each day.  And with Instagram’s availability on just Apple iOS and Android mobile phones, your photos are available to quickly build awareness and loyalty in a personalized approach.

Here are just a few tips* how you can use Instagram and Pinterest to take your organization’s marketing and communications to the next level.

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