Schools that host Facebook pages are reaching more parents, students and communities.
Facebook is one of the most common logos that appear on big business brands
Schools that host Facebook pages are aware that social media helps to build the school's image, the brand and it improves communication. Schools are reaching far more parents, students and communities via their Facebook pages. These schools are moving with the times.
Facebook is the leading social network
According to the latest Social Media Landscape 2015 report, Facebook is the largest social network in South Africa. There are 11,8-million South Africans that use Facebook. Of this total, 8,8-million users access Facebook via their mobile phones. Schools can choose to ignore this information and stick to their traditional communication systems. Or, schools can embrace Facebook as a strategic tool to enhance their current communication and marketing strategy. I propose the latter route.
School need to adapt their communication strategies
Schools and their communication media may need a facelift.
Schools should move with the times. Schools have a choice to use Facebook as a communication medium. Schools need to be creative and try to lure parents into their community circle. The view is not that a Facebook page should replace the other communication channels that schools are using. In fact, the more diverse your communication with everybody, the more you benefit.
Most schools have a website and send fairly regular parent newsletters or circulars. There is also the traditional parent meeting that takes place at least once per term. This is a good start, but schools can explore other avenues as well.A good website is a plus, but most schools battle to keep their websites updated. Schools cannot depend only on the odd newsletter or circular to share news. Using social media platforms like WhatsApp are also limited. When are parents going to see all those beautiful pictures taken of the sporting, cultural, academic and outreach activities at the school?
The pulling power of Facebook pages
If 8,8-million Facebook users are accessing the networking site via their phone, chances are that the parent and learner community of schools are part of this huge group. People are on their phones all the time. Often users will have access to information long before those who are not subscribed to Facebook.
Facebook is used by big brands and successful schools
In a previous post here, I shared proven strategies that can help schools be a fun, learning environment and shared an example of a successful school that uses their Facebook page effectively. There are a few schools that are beginning to use their Facebook page to share interesting information and even remind parents of important dates.
According to the Social Media Landscape report, 93% of major brands use Facebook. We know this because we can see the Facebook icon and business Facebook Page addresses added to every mail, commercial or news item. If big business is seeing the power of Facebook as a business and social networking site, why are schools ignoring this established, manageable communication channel?
Another significant finding mentioned in the Social Media Landscape report is that the single biggest group of Facebook users in South Africa is the 13-18 year olds. This group ( your Grade 7-12 learner) make up 2,5- million users. This information should make schools sit up and rethink their use of Facebook as another communication layer.
Make a choice
There are, of course, challenges that go with the management of Facebook pages. However, it is shortsighted to dismiss the potential of having your own school Facebook page because of possible pitfalls. Seek advice and recruit knowledgeable, passionate people who will enjoy managing this aspect of the school's communication and marketing strategy.
Is it possible to explore the option of your own Facebook Page at your school?