Now more than ever, there are so many ways to share information with students, parents, teachers, school and district leaders, and other key public education stakeholders. Our challenge is no longer to simply reach all of these audiences but instead to move beyond information distribution and truly engage and motivate our partners. This is no easy task.
Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter offer rich opportunities to start and grow a dialogue about the issues that are important in schools and districts.
And thanks to three IBM Impact Grants awarded to the Southeast Education Alliance, the Western North Carolina Regional Education Foundation and the Northwest Regional Educational Service Alliance, leaders from 50 North Carolina school districts now understand more about using these important social media channels to share their stories and start valuable conversations about public schools with parents, business leaders and others in their communities.
These Impact Grants funded three separate, customized digital marketing workshops that were held across the state in May. During the workshops, IBM employees shared tips on how superintendents, public information officers, and other school leaders could effectively engage a variety of audiences through social media. IBM employees also discussed how communicators should match the appropriate platform with the right audience. In one exercise, small groups created different personalities and then selected which platform would best engage these audience members in school activities.
This is important because experts agree that there is no single channel that resonates with everyone.
Now school communicators understand why Facebook works very well with parents while students are much more likely to use Twitter or Instagram.
IBM experts also showed participants the differences between maintaining a light social media presence and running a well-oiled communications machine. Managing multiple social media platforms is not easy, particularly for school communicators who have so many other responsibilities and demands on their time. For this reason, participants were thrilled to learn about applications that allow users to schedule multiple posts in advance and/or post to multiple platforms simultaneously.
IBM has a long history of supporting public schools in North Carolina, and I am so grateful for their continued partnership. Success stories abound in our public schools and now, thanks to IBM, educators, and district leaders are better prepared to use social media to share this news with others in their communities and across the state.
Here is more information about the IBM Impact Grants.