Shhh… don’t tell anyone, but I have a strong-willed and determined child. I am here to tell you – she is HARD, and has been since the very beginning.
Yet I see the silver lining, the work that is being done in me as I navigate raising her to be a successful, focused and contributing member of society. How I parent today influences not only how she interacts with her world today, but has a major impact on her future. But that doesn’t mean I get soft. In fact, quite the opposite. Without squashing her spirit, I learned early on I could empower her desire for control without driving myself nuts. The secret was in defining the boundaries of whatever space it was in which she needed to be able to make a decision. And more often than not, we accomplished a mutually agreeable outcome when I put that practice into play.
Where I’m going with this … when beginning to work with a new client in supporting their school district social media presence, I often hear things like: our community is so negative, we get beat up on social media, and I don’t know how to change how our community engages with us. I hear you, and changing this tendency isn’t as hard as you might think. Take one from my (unpublished) parenting handbook and think of this very challenge as if it’s a strong-willed child!
- Assess the current landscape.
Taking some time to gain insight into why the community is inclined to respond in this way is a critical first step. Review the comment activity, identify themes around what’s leading them to engage in that way, and evaluate the content. It might even be worth investing in hiring someone to complete a social media audit. But regardless, understanding the current landscape is the foundation to making any change.
- Evaluate your desired outcome.
More often than not, when I encounter clients in this position, the community’s response has less to do with how the community feels the school district is doing as a whole and more to do with a wishy-washy social media strategy. If you prioritize information or emotionally charged content on social media, you open yourself to a slew of questions and/or opinions in a space where people feel safe to air their grievances. Exhausting! If your content doesn’t support what you want or think your social media purpose is then DING DING – we have a winner!
- Make a choice to make a change.
No excuses here! If you want a different outcome, you have to be willing to do the work to make a change. It’s no secret, friends! If you want your community to engage happily and show you appreciation and applause for the work you do, then SHOW them the work you do! Flood your social media channels with positive stories of the experiences in your classrooms, and put the news elsewhere (*clearing throat* … on your website or via email.) It doesn’t belong on social media … period. It is doing you no favors there.
Like raising a strong-willed child, changing your social media story can be challenging. But we get out what we put in. A little homework, gaining a few insights, and defining clear goals (or boundaries) is all it takes to influence a different outcome. Take control without looking like you’re taking control. Don’t report the news. Instead, invite your community in, tell your school’s story and watch as the outcome shifts to one where positivity flourishes.
Interested in learning more about how the Allerton Hill Communications team can help your school? Contact us today.