Not enough staff and not enough time. As a school district communicator, do you have these problems? Perhaps combining parent volunteer power and social media is the answer to your dilemma.
Public school districts, large or small, have access to parents who volunteer at their schools. Using social media and other resources will transpose these volunteers into key communicators to enhance your school district public relations efforts and your goal of keeping all parents informed.
Social Media Connects
In one program model, each school principal selects three parents to serve as key communicators for the campus and district. For example, a district that has 60 campuses would have a key communicators group of 180 members.
This model focuses on parent volunteers, but other districts may choose to include community leaders such as homeowner association presidents, chamber of commerce representatives, and city officials. Regardless of who is in the group, the use of social media is the connecting link that will result in an effective and widespread communications program.
You, as the school district communicator, are the manager of the key communicators group. You organize district officials to present data and information at quarterly meetings and provide weekly district updates on various social media platforms. The district website will feature a key communicators page with links to materials, presentations, meeting videos, and other pertinent information.
The key communicators engage with other parents by sharing information at school PTA and booster club meetings, in their school and PTA electronic newsletters, and by using their own social media. The key communicators customize the information for their available social media and audiences.
They can also join in informal conversations at soccer games, school carnivals, grocery stores, and other places where parents congregate and discuss the district.
Social Media Engages
As the school district communicator, you can participate in back and forth conversations with each key communicator via social media. The key communicator can use social media for conversations with any or all parents who have questions about a program or issue.
The key communicators are asked to share school and district information in a balanced and fair way. By doing this, the key communicators become a valuable support system for the work of the school district communicator. It takes some effort on your part to coordinate the program, but these added voices can be a great asset to the district.
A model such as this could be adapted by other communicators who work in nonprofits and who have a small team or no other additional staff. As long as you have a source for volunteers and access to social media, you can make the program work.
For more details, contact the National School Public Relations Association at this address.