The way schools communicate with parents and guardians has changed a lot over the years. Once it would be a letter home but now it’s also websites, text messages and even social media.
Some schools have been hesitant to start using social media. Will parents and guardians connect with it? Will the school receive abuse or threats? You might suspect a school social media account would be like opening Pandora’s Box.
Data from Ofcom shows how prevalent social media is in the modern world. In 2016 three in four (76%) of internet users had a social media profile or account. Across the age ranges the figures show 96% of 16-24 year olds, 90% of 25-34 year olds, 81% of 35-44 year olds and 74% of 45-54 year olds have social media accounts. This demonstrates how social media is prevalent amongst the parents and guardians who visit our schools. (Ofcom, 2017) As a result, should we expect our parents to visit our school website for information? Or should we present that information into the social media apps they are already using? There is no doubt a school website is incredibly important and a very useful and productive way of getting a large amount of information to the stakeholders. Yet this does not mean social media should be dismissed.
In recent weeks we’ve had schools lose some time due to adverse weather. Schools with social media accounts were able to easily update a Facebook or Twitter post informing everyone the school was closed. This was of great help to parents and guardians who didn’t need to visit Local Authority websites or listen out for updates via local news. The information was easily available through the school’s social media.
Social media is also an excellent way to promote news in your school. Yes this can be done on websites but this means stakeholders have to go out of their way to visit your site. When promoted on social media it arrives in the person’s feed without them having to do anything. You can then use the post to direct people to the school website.
Social media might be a good way to communicate but does it put the school at risk of abuse or threats? There is no doubt some social media can be negative and upsetting. The school could even become a target of a disgruntled parent or guardian. However, it could be argued that these attacks would happen without the school’s social media presence. Surely it’s better to know someone is upset than be ignorant of it? Not only does it give you a chance to deal with it and be seen to deal with it but you might even find other parents and guardians step in to defend you.
It is, therefore, worthwhile schools making a leap to having a social media profile. eServices can help your school make this leap if you desire. To contact us call (01902) 55555 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ofcom. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.ofcom.org.uk: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/102755/adults-media-use-attitudes-2017.pdf