Every few years we see a shift in social media. Whether a new platform arises or the leading platforms add new features, the way we use social media is always changing. Social media remains a leading way for schools to build brand awareness, connect with their community and share important updates. Whether you have a social media strategy prepared or not, it’s important to establish a social media policy for your school to present a consistent and professional brand message online.
Whether you’re leading the marketing team, communications team or admission team, these six steps will guide you through how to make an effective social media policy for your school community.
1. Prioritize Social Media Uses
The introduction to your social media policy should detail how your school approaches outbound communication and engagement with followers. The goal of a social media policy is to be transparent and set expectations for what your online community will see.
Begin by answering the following questions:
- Why does my school use social media?
- What channels does my school use?
- What does my school post on each of these platforms?
- Why is social media safety important to my school?
- Why is it important to set a social media policy for my school?
Your answers to these questions will form your introduction, building the base of why these policies are important to the overall school community. Be sure to visit these questions on a yearly basis to ensure you maintain an effective social media policy.
2. Define Brand Guidelines
Social media is a channel maintained by multiple people or departments, so the overall goal and vision for your profiles can easily get jumbled. Building brand guidelines will ensure the look and tone of all your outbound communication is consistent and professional, no matter what department is sending a message. Brand guidelines provide the basic framework for visual, verbal or written communication by a single brand. These guidelines might include:
- Color schemes
- Font choices
- Logo placement rules
- Imagery examples (approved vs. not approved)
- Approved words and phrase choices
- Disapproved words and phrases
Your school’s brand guidelines should be accessible by all faculty and staff members involved in any outbound communication - not just social media.
Another way to ensure your school’s social media profiles stay consistent is through design templates. Creating a range of pre-made templates will provide guidance no matter how many departments and team members are involved in publishing on social media.
3. Establish Privacy Protection
The protection of your students and faculty’s privacy online should not be overlooked in a social media policy, especially in countries where GDPR, FERPA, and COPPA are in effect. In this section, your school should set the expectations of what faculty, staff and student information can be shared on social media, including names, grades and photographs. Be sure your legal team covers these concerns in your policy so that parents, faculty, and staff all understand your regulations and expectations.
4. Faculty & Staff Rules
The privacy protection section sets the regulations of what can be shared. A faculty and staff rules section will dictate how this information can be shared. Receiving content from faculty and staff is a very effective way to fill in your school’s content calendar - as long as they abide by the regulations set by your school’s social media policy. A common practice is a review process where faculty and staff send photos to a central location for review before publishing on social media. In this review, consider the following:
- Are students following the school dress code?
- Is any personal information exposed?
- Is this sending a positive message about your school?
- Is your school profile overall showcasing the diversity on campus?
Responding to Comments
Engagement is the only way to increase reach and exposure on social media. Whether positive or negative, it’s crucial to respond to all comments and answer all questions made publicly on your school page. It’s recommended having a dedicated team member or two to regularly monitor your school page and respond to all inquiries.
In a crisis situation, your school’s social media team should refrain from using social media to make a statement until a formal statement is released by the Head of School or Board of Trustees. Posting any personal statements or opinions on social media, regardless of the subject matter should be a violation of your school’s social media policy.
5. Student Rules
Your school’s social media policy is an opportunity to dictate how students are allowed to use social media on campus. Your school wants to encourage students to interact with the school community online and your social media policy should regulate they do so responsibly and respectfully. The language in this section should follow directions from your school’s existing code of conduct.
6. Legal Review & Distribution
We recommend reviewing your school’s new social media policy with your legal team before implementing. This policy covers sensitive concerns and should always go through attorney review to make sure it’s in compliance with all legal requirements.
Once approved by your legal team, it’s time for distribution. Your school’s social media policy should be transparent and accessible. It should be added as a link on your website and added as a section in employee and student handbooks.
Blue Baden is the only marketing and strategy consulting company specifically designed to meet the needs of boarding schools. Build your social media strategy with Blue Baden today.