Two Facebook, or not two Facebook? That is the question

When I started working as a Rabbi in 2009, there were a number of decisions that I had to make: Would I be Rabbi Danny or Rabbi Burkeman? Would I wear a suit every day? And would I set up a professional Facebook account?

According to Facebook guidelines, a person is only supposed to have one account; yet I was aware of a number of rabbinic colleagues who were maintaining a personal and professional account. After much deliberation, I decided that I would set up a second professional account. And so in the world of Facebook, I existed as two different people: Danny Burkeman and R Danny Burkeman.

There were a number of reasons behind my decision. I was concerned about having my entire personal life on display to everyone.  Not out of fear of what people would find on my page, but rather because I wished to maintain a degree of privacy for my family and myself. I was also conscious that on occasions, my friends have been known to write posts that are intended to be funny, but may sometimes be perceived by others as inappropriate. I also knew that many of my personal Facebook friends would be uninterested in all of my Judaism-related posts, and I wondered if it was better to have another avenue for sharing these (ultimately Twitter has become that means).

It was complicated and resulted in quite a few missteps. I would post comments to the wrong account, send friend requests from the wrong account, and I would often neglect one account at the expense of the other. Yet at the end of the day, I appreciated that I could have a public rabbinic persona while maintaining some semblance of online privacy.

But there were challenges. What was I supposed to do with Jewish colleagues who were simultaneously friends and people with whom I shared a professional connection? Where was I supposed to direct the congregants who became friends? And how was I to decide what to post on which account?

So now, five years into my life as a rabbi, I have decided to return to my roots with a singular Facebook account. The process is not easy, as Facebook has no system for merging two accounts I shouldn’t really have had in the first place (I’m happy to share my experiences if you’re in a similar situation); but it is something that I want to do, and something I have been leaning towards for the last few years.

Three events have moved me to this position. The first was leaving my first community in London to come to Port Washington. My congregants were no longer congregants, and over our time in London, many had become friends. In my new situation, as their former Rabbi, I felt unsure about where they now belonged in my Facebook world. Then, when my daughter was born, I wanted to share photos and updates with everybody. I am blessed with a community who were very supportive of us during that time, and who were excited to greet our new arrival. Many of my posts belonged in both accounts, but with the pressures of a newborn it was increasingly challenging to keep both accounts as updated as I wanted.

But the final impetus for merging the accounts, and leaving R Danny Burkeman behind, is a project I am currently involved in called the #ElulMitzvahChallenge. I wanted to make sure that this campaign got the most exposure possible. Having realized that my personal and professional networks had become intertwined over the years, I could not imagine posting this on one account and not the other; it belonged on both pages. And more than this, it was a reminder that in many ways, the division between the personal and the professional had become artificial.

As a Rabbi I have come to understand that I am (at least to a limited extent) a public figure, and Facebook is another medium for engaging with the community and sharing my Torah. We need to recognize that it is another tool in our arsenal, and as such we have to decide how to use that tool. The challenge for all of us in ‘public’ positions is how can we share our authentic selves with our communities while also maintaining our private lives for the sake of our families and ourselves. In this way Facebook may be more than just a tool; it can also be a gauge for measuring what we are willing to share online, what we prefer to save for our offline community, and what we keep just for our families.

So as complicated, and at times as irritating as it has been, I have now reached the stage where I have dispensed with my dual Facebook identity. In my Facebook world I am now just Danny Burkeman – in fact one could say that I am now no longer “two-faced(booked).”

 

Rabbi Danny Burkeman is a Rabbi at The Community Synagogue in Port Washington, New York.  He has been an important influence in helping his previous and current congregations' online presence through Twitter and Facebook, among others.  He launched #elulmitzvahchallange this fall, which has inspired hundreds of people across the world to video and share their mitzvot.

 

 

Leichtag Foundation Social Media Boot Camp, September 2014

See3 Communications and Darim Online presented a one-day intensive Social Media Boot Camp at the Leichtag Foundation Ranch, to help over 70 representatives from a very diverse collection of local Jewish communal organizations learn about the social media landscape and develop specific skills to advance their work.  The following are resources from the September 15, 2014 event.

Opening Workshop: Innovation, Revolution and Social Media

Slides

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Twitter:

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Tiny Video:

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Personal Learning Networks:

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Social Media Policies:

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Download the Social Media Policy Workbook for Jewish Organizations

 

Designing For Engagement

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Anatomy of a Media Strategy:

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Elul: The Season of Reflection & Iterative Planning

Transitions are always a time for reflection, regrouping, and looking forward.  When a leader retires, the organization must take stock of where they are at, and what they need for the next era.  When a child starts the new school year, parents reflect on how far they’ve come and what milestones they’ll achieve this year.  My seven-year old daughter, for example, is just having that amazing reading explosion, and I’m excited to think about what books she’ll be reading independently by the end of the school year.

Fall is always a time of transition when vacations are over, school years are starting, and the weather changes.  For the Jewish community, this is a time of very serious introspection and reflection.  The High Holidays are a time of personal reflection that helps everyone think about self-improvement, and recommit to themselves, the community, and the Divine.

At Darim Online and See3 Communications we have been thinking a lot about “lean” models, “agile development”, and the empathetic “design thinking” approach.  All of these approaches — strategic, technical and creative – are based on iterations.  Try something out, evaluate how it’s going, be reflective, and iterate.  Just like in life, there’s no one finish line – it’s a constant process of growth, evolution and self-improvement.

So, at this time of seasonal transition and personal reflection, we also want to encourage you to step back professionally to appreciate what you and your team have accomplished over the past year, to reflect on what you’ve learned and how it might inform the future.  When we’re often so focused on strategy and outcomes, perhaps this is a valuable opportunity to think about your organizational culture, how you appreciate and support one another, and how you’re growing (individually and collectively) as professionals.

We know synagogues are deep in planning and logistics (and sermon writing!), so this reflection might be more practical after you've put the chairs away and cleaned the sticky honey out of the social hall carpet.  But reflection is important, and doing it as a team is an important part of being agile, iterative, and growing.

So, where to start? 

  • Check out 10Q, a project of Reboot.  Starting September 24th, they’ll send you one question per day for the 10 days from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur.  They’ll save your answers and share them back a year later to help you reflect on how you’ve grown.  Keep the answers private, or share with your team to get to know each other better.
  • This is a great reflection sheet from Sara Shapiro-Plevan for groups of educators based on the Jewish concept of “heshbon hanefesh” (accounting of one’s soul).
  • The Harvard Business Review has a great recorded webinar on coaching employees that you might find useful in designing a reflective process.
  • Caren Levine created this source sheet for the holidays that can be a good converastion starter.

How do you do annual personal, professional and/or team reflection?  Why is it valuable? Share with us in the comments.

 

Top 5 Soft and Fuzzy Social Media Lessons

The most valuable mile marker of an organization’s social media maturity is how they integrate the tools, content and social experience into their organization’s operations and overall strategy.  Technology (of any sort) shouldn’t just be layered on top of status quo operations, and it isn't actually about the technology.  Leaders must be insightful about what they are really trying to change or accomplish, and then align the tools, skills, tactics, culture and workflow to support it.  Often it's the soft and fuzzy side of technology that's the hardest part to get right.

For example, a rigid organizational culture will not support the emergent nature of social media communications and community building.   A hierarchical staffing structure will isolate social media responsibilities with a person in the office rather than promoting stronger relationships among all.  A broadcast communications strategy will fall flat (or worse, do harm) in a conversational and collaborative landscape.

Thus, one of the greatest challenges of successfully bringing your organization into the connected age is to recognize the need to evolve organizational culture, and to take steps to do it purposefully and productively.

In this year’s Jewish Day School Social Media Academy, produced in collaboration with the AVI CHAI Foundation, 15 schools learned new skills and developed new strategies for their social media efforts.  They engaged alumni and raised funds, and some even recruited new families to their schools. But perhaps even more importantly, they learned how to more fully integrate social media into their schools’ culture and operations, from recruitment to alumni engagement, from fundraising to community building.  We can learn much from their pioneering work, experimentation and accomplishments.

So here are the top 5 integration lessons from this year’s academy:

1) Get Everyone Rowing in the Same Direction.  There’s a delicate balance between having a coordinated strategy, and cramping creative people’s style.  At The Epstein School, for example, the Academy team decided to explore Pinterest as a tool to engage parents and prospective parents.  They soon realized that different departments (for example, the library) had already started experimenting with Pinterest and established a bit of a following. They are consolidated the efforts to help each department use Pinterest effectively, while creating one brand presence and attracting families to explore all of the various boards.  They are building up toward a launch in the fall with content that will be valuable for both current and prospective parents, and shows the school’s priorities and strengths in action.

2) It’s Everyone’s Job.  Social media responsibility doesn’t live only with one staff person.  Content creation and curation is everyone’s job, and within a school community, parents and students play a role as well.  The Cohen Hillel Academy embraced this ethos throughout their school.  They used their social fundraising campaign as an opportunity to raise awareness of and engagement with their school’s newly-articulated strategic focus on Expeditionary Education, Joyful Judaism, and Community Partnerships. They looked for ways to engage students in the concepts (e.g., speaking about “Joyful Judaism” at a school assembly and asking kids to draw a picture of what it means to them) and used the campaign as a jumping-off point for richer, more thoughtful conversations with parents.  Noah Hartman, Head of School at Cohen Hillel has been tweeting throughout the year, increasing accessibility for students and parents alike, curating educational resources and insights, building community, and being playful (like a Vine video announcing a snow closure!)

The Leo Baeck Day School in Toronto inaugurated “LBTV Action News” as a vehicle for telling the school’s story, and to enrich the curriculum. In 60 to 90 second installments, students did standup spot “news reports,” on selected events and subjects. It was effective in terms of growing our social media reach. Parents are our main audience on Facebook – which is our main social medium — and they love seeing children doing the presenting as well as being the subjects of a video.  Communications Director David Bale leveraged his background as a radio news reporter to teach students how to prepare an intro, segue to an interviewee and how and what to ask, and summing up in an extro/sign off. They learned the proper way to stand, hold a mic, and to think in terms of their audience of Internet viewers watching a small frame video screen.

3) It’s all about the Culture.  Society is based on cultural – norm, expectations, rituals.  You know the nuance of what’s appropriate or respectful in various places because you pick up on cues – dress, tone of voice, pecking orders, etc. Your online culture is no different.  The Epstein School was focusing on increasing engagement, and knew that to be successful, their parent community needed to feel like it was their space, not just a broadcast from the school office.  They developed a training program – starting with parent volunteers in their leadership program – to help parents learn social media skills and understand how they can participate and why it makes a difference.  Their reach, engagement, tagging, and sharing has increased tremendously as their parent community has demonstrated the culture they seek to nurture.  Similarly, The Davis Academy has engaged Host Committee Members, Parent Ambassadors, and Faculty Members to play a more active and informed role in their social spaces, and will be kicking off their work in the fall with a social media orientation.

4) Let It Go, Let It Go.  The Ida Crown Academy (grades 9-12) focused on recruitment this year. Their strategy included reaching middle school students to get them excited about attending high school there, rather than always communicating directly with the parents of prospective students.  In order to reach middle school students, they tapped their high schoolers to make the case that ICJA is a wonderful place to go to school.  Hearing directly from the students was more authentic and trustworthy, and more relevant.  They decided to hand over their Instagram account to current high school students (with supervision) who were encouraged to post photos as a real window into life as an ICJA student.  They posted about field trips, special school activities, and day-to-day life at the school. The students enjoyed it (after all, most high school students are spending more time on Instagram than Facebook these day so it’s a platform they’re comfortable with and like to use).  As a result, they’ve seen a growing number of prospective students start following their Instagram account and liking their content.

5) Integrate!  Social media isn’t a layer on top of your communications and engagement, it’s a tool that should be integrated into everything you do.  The Frisch School decided to coordinate a sports breakfast fundraiser with their social fundraising campaign. Knowing the visual power on social media, they brought the Cougar back as a symbol of our various sports teams.   They photographed students, teachers, and faculty with the Cougar at various events or just around the school holding up signs saying things like “We Support the Cougar” or “The Hockey Team Supports the Cougar”. The meme became popular amongst the students that the student-produced newsletter decided to create graphics and write articles about Supporting the Cougar, and the Student Video Production Club created a video with a Rocky theme (the special guest at the live Sports Breakfast was the Modern Orthodox boxer Dmitriy Salita).   The campaign created valuable energy on the ground and for the live event, as well as produced priceless content and garnered great engagement and financial support online.

These are just a few of the valuable lessons learned in the JDS Academy this year. You can explore the lessons and activities of all of the schools through their blog posts tagged #JDSacademy.  You’re also invited to drop into the ongoing conversation in our JDS Academy Facebook Group.  Got lessons to add, or examples of how you’ve put these 5 into practice?  Let us know in the comments.

Lessons Learned: Social Fundraising is Social

Editor's note: The Jewish Day School Social Media Academy was a year long program to support schools in developing social media skills and applying them to various areas of their work.  The social fundraising project encouraged schools to launch social campaigns to raise funds which would be matched by the AVI CHAI Foundation.  Schools designed unique and varied campaigns, from honoring teachers to celebrating sports to raising scholarship funds.  In this post, we hear from Krieger Schechter Day School as they share important lessons about the design and implementation of their campaign.

Krieger Schechter Day School (KSDS) decided to create a social media campaign to both raise funds and help alumni and alumni parents reconnect with the school.  We chose to highlight our Grade 8 play performed all in Hebrew. We know our alumni and their families look back fondly on their performances, the late night practices, and the shared memories this experience built. During this campaign, we asked our alumni and their families to give back to KSDS and contribute to the current Grade 8 production, “Beauty and the Beast.” For the 20 days prior to the play we were showing one clip from each of the 20 previous plays.

We used the matching funds as a tool to motivate this group of alumni and alumni parents to give. Immediately, we found resistance from not only alumni parents but faculty as well. We did not have buy-in from our community at large. There were questions about why we need to support the play, although our research has shown people are more inclined to give towards a specific project rather than towards an unrestricted campaign. We realized that this specific group really needed to have a clear conversation explaining the goals of this social media experiment and campaign and we did not have that conversation prior to its launch. 

The social media component was successful to get people to watch the clips of the plays. We grew our Facebook page, and there were even conversations that began organically.  But, we came to two conclusions-one about the social media component and the other about the fundraising component. The first is that we did have to personally encourage people to post on our page. The initial posts or questions were from the staff whose job it was to post or a person that the staff member asked to post. The posts were not spontaneous. The second was that the larger gifts we received were from individuals who were personally asked or who knew more in depth about the project. After a conversation, people were more willing to support this campaign. Because of these two points, although we hit our fundraising goal, we do not feel we were successful overall.

It goes back to the grassroots of spreading the word. We are not a national organization like the Red Cross or a politician running for office like President Obama. We are a small Jewish day school in Baltimore. We are only going to attract from our small pool and some outside community members who believe in the value of egalitarian Jewish day school education. Otherwise, a play in Hebrew, or the KSDS annual campaign, is not something people will donate to.

The Jewish Day School Social Media Academy is an intensive program designed to help Jewish Day Schools advance their strategic use of social media in areas such as communication, marketing, community building, alumni relations and development. The 2013-14 nationwide cohort of 15 schools was generously supported by The AVI CHAI Foundation.  Each of the schools will be sharing insights from their experience through blog posts here with the tag #jdsacademy

Complete the Social Media Self Assessment for your school at http://www.dayschoolacademy.org/assessment

 

Amplify Your Message

We recognized that despite a healthy number of likes on our Facebook page for a school of our size, the engagement with our page was not where we wanted it to be. We also recognized that we couldn’t make the progress we wanted with just more staff effort – especially considering there are only 3 of us who are hands-on with the school’s social media.

So, we decided to hold training sessions with targeted groups of our volunteers to recruit them as social media amplifiers. We trained volunteers in our leadership program, on our advancement committee, and our PTO leadership. We customized the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) portion of each training to help our lay leaders understand how social media can help them achieve their goals for the school.

Through the course of our trainings, we learned that most of our volunteers and colleagues have a much more limited understanding of social media than we thought. They thought that when you like a page, you automatically see everything that the page posts; after explaining the algorithm and other Facebook and Twitter basics, our Epstein community understands why their participation is key.

We received such great feedback on these trainings that we have been asked to present to the Board of Trustees at their upcoming meeting. But the best part is that there’s been a culture shift toward embracing social media here at Epstein – among administrative staff and our lay leadership.

  1. Our colleagues are partnering with us to ensure their committees will be trained for the 2014-2015 school year.
  2. Our colleagues are excited to use Facebook and comment on posts; they are confident about telling members of their committees what to do on social media channels.
  3. Our parents are tagging themselves and others in photos; they are commenting on and sharing our posts.
  4. Our parents are creating their own content and tagging the school in their posts.

Since we began our trainings:

1) Largest reach from a post was 2,043. Now, it’s doubled to 4,323.

2) We’ve created interactive posts (like the one below) with great success.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3) Lay leaders are using their own pages to promote school events:

 

 

 

 

 

 

4) Alumni are tagging us with shout-outs about great educational value:

 

 

 

 

 

5) Parents are telling our story via social media:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are really excited to see this shift in culture at our school and among our families. We can’t wait to see what next year will bring when we have the opportunity to increase the number of social media amplifiers!

 

The Jewish Day School Social Media Academy is an intensive program designed to help Jewish Day Schools advance their strategic use of social media in areas such as communication, marketing, community building, alumni relations and development. The 2013-14 nationwide cohort of 15 schools was generously supported by The AVI CHAI Foundation.  Each of the schools will be sharing insights from their experience through blog posts here with the tag #jdsacademy

Complete the Social Media Self Assessment for your school at http://www.dayschoolacademy.org/assessment

Experimenting with Facebooks Boosted Posts

This blog post is part of our series from schools participating in the Jewish Day School Social Media Academy.

Our participation in the Jewish Day School Social Media Academy inspired our Marketing Department at Golda Och Academy to tweak our social media strategy and one of the most exciting trials was our experimentation with boosted posts on Facebook. Prior to this experiment, our Golda Och Academy Facebook page was popular among current parents, students, faculty, and alumni, however, we wanted the opportunity to bring new eyes not only to our Facebook page, but to our website and brand through social media. With the recent nosedive of a Facebook post’s organic (unpaid) reach—particularly coming from a company page— it seemed like the perfect moment to try boosting our posts.

We boosted posts that included student enrollment-related videos about our Kindergarten program, a partnership with a community business, and one about a current student who transferred to our school. On average, a typical Facebook post on the GOA page would organically reach between 300-1,500 people and earn between 5-50 likes prior to boosting. We did find that depending on the amount paid (usually around $25 per post) and the audience chosen, our boosted posts would reach between 5,000-20,000 people. Although we did not necessarily find a correlation between a boosted post and an increase in post likes, we did find that a boosted post would bring in new page likes, which helped us achieve our goal of bringing new e. Our foray into Facebook advertising is absolutely a work in progress, but along the way, we have learned a few things that we would like to share:

3 tips to maximize a boosted post:

  1. Expand your existing network. Although you are more likely to reach a larger audience by selecting nearby towns and the ages befitting to your demographic, the more valuable demographic (for example, for a niche as specific as those interested in a Jewish Day School) would be the “People who like your page and their friends” option. The people who already like your page are more likely to have friends with mutual interests than the general public and are more likely to engage with your posts.
  2. Less words, more photos. Think about the posts that catch your eye while scrolling through your personal Facebook feed. It’s usually not the lengthy post, but probably a single eye-catching photo or cute video. In fact, Facebook will reject your boost if it’s too wordy – make use of Facebook’s helpful grid tool to achieve the perfect photo/text balance.
  3. Promote your services. While boosting a post about a particular student’s accomplishment is nice, it isn’t necessarily providing a service to the community and to potential fans of your page. If your school hosts open houses, an after-school program, a summer camp, or any other special services, this is the information most relevant to potential fans. 

The Jewish Day School Social Media Academy is an intensive program designed to help Jewish Day Schools advance their strategic use of social media in areas such as communication, marketing, community building, alumni relations and development. The 2013-14 nationwide cohort of 15 schools was generously supported by The AVI CHAI Foundation.  Each of the schools will be sharing insights from their experience through blog posts here with the tag #jdsacademy

Complete the Social Media Self Assessment for your school at http://www.dayschoolacademy.org/assessment

Finding Our Social Media Compass

The Jewish Day School Social Media Academy exceeded all of our expectations and in many ways has taught us “how to fish.” We still have work to do in terms of our policies, our long-term goal-setting, and the benchmarks we want to set for ourselves, but we now have a direction and a pretty sweet compass. With Facebook as the primary social media platform utilized by our school families (past, present, and probably future), that’s where our focus began. But it was just the tip of the icebook.

OUR THREE MAIN TAKEAWAYS

1. There’s More to Facebook than Cute Faces

Through the Academy, we were able to develop an authentic voice and an organized strategy for Facebook. Sure, we still use it as a window onto the school, but we have learned how to use it to facilitate conversation, spark discussion, and communicate widely. The days of posting a cute picture aren’t gone, but the days of only posting cute pictures sure are! We are being more thoughtful, intentional, and creative about using Facebook for:

– Certain school-related announcements (e.g. a school-closing announcement Vine)
– Sharing information from our community partners
– Celebrating school and community accomplishments
– (Re)Connecting with alumni
– Fundraising
– Linking to holiday and other Jewish-related resources
– Posting educational videos (e.g. TED Talks)

2. Smarts & Strategy: How, When, and Why to Use Social Media

Still, it’s not just about quantity. Over this year we learned with and from others about how, why, and when to use social media. For me as Head of School, the part of our Academy project that had the most impact was exploring how to bring my own voice to our school twitter account (@CHALeads). To let my voice be the school’s voice and to identify it as such—as opposed to our twitter feed being essentially anonymous. While the number of (publicly identifiable) followers hasn’t skyrocketed, the quality of my twitter conversations certainly has. Through working with Liz at Big Duck and Lisa at Darim, I’ve found a way to bring my own voice forward as a representation of our school. As the school’s head, it’s important to me (not to mention my responsibility) to be present everywhere I can, and Twitter is an entire universe to be present in at any time.

3. Setting Fundraising Goals: Clear, Urgent, and Achievable

Our culminating project through the Academy was our CrowdRise fundraiser, a social/viral one never seen before in our community. Based on one of our new initiatives (“Community of Kindness”) that speaks to all different people in the Jewish community here (i.e. not just our existing families), we built the fundraiser around three motivators:

  1. The limited window of availability of the AVI CHAI Foundation matching funds
  2. The relative down time in our overall fundraising calendar
  3. Achievable, conceivable goals

Our initial fundraising goal was $5,000, which we thought was reasonable and achievable in the 5-week window of the campaign. Thanks to the urgency of the match and the sharing that some of our friends did online, the message spread, and we surpassed the original goal with time to spare. We were able to also use an iPad Mini as a bit of a carrot to dangle: donors of $36 or more were eligible to win it through a random lottery! So we revised it up and set the new goal at $10,000—an ambitious amount for a school our size and in a short time frame. We finished the campaign having raised over $8300!

All in all, the Academy project was a major success for us even without the fundraiser. Through the coaching calls and webinars, we were engaged in thinking about (and supported in implementing) several components of a social media strategy and action plan. While one year isn’t enough to see any of them come to full fruition, we’re now equipped with the tools to continue the process on our own.

Especially that compass!

 

Noah Hartman is the Head of School at Cohen Hillel Academy.  The Jewish Day School Social Media Academy is an intensive program designed to help Jewish Day Schools advance their strategic use of social media in areas such as communication, marketing, community building, alumni relations and development. The 2013-14 nationwide cohort of 15 schools was generously supported by The AVI CHAI Foundation.  Each of the schools will be sharing insights from their experience through blog posts here with the tag #jdsacademy

Complete the Social Media Self Assessment for your school at http://www.dayschoolacademy.org/assessment

Teacher Ambassador Initiative

The Leo Baeck Day School has been part of the 2013-14 cohort of the Jewish Day School Social Media Academy.  In this blog post, they share lessons learned and plans for the future based on their experience.

In the new school year next fall, we will boost the priority given to Word of Mouth marketing and the galvanizing of various ambassador groups toward that end.
 
An underpinning of the campaign will be three important lessons from the Social Media Academy:

  1. The power of compounding our social network reach;
  2. Extending our reach by being present in the social media platforms where our constituents dwell; and
  3. Cultivating a much greater social media culture among our staff and parents.

We’ve made strides in the latter this year…but we only scratched the surface of our potential.

The word of mouth campaign launch will be introduced at the final staff meeting of THIS school year, where I as Communications Director will have the opportunity to address our faculty to plant seeds for a Teacher Ambassador program.

I intend to convey the incredible power of Word of Mouth and how teachers can be ambassadors for Leo Baeck.  The first step in motivating them will be to hear their personal “aha moments” …the moments that have made them proud to be teachers at this school.

I’ll share observations of some of the things teachers are already doing that promote the school. Many of our teachers already highlight great moments and programs in the classroom through their teacher pages on our website, entries in the weekly eNewsletter to parents, articles in our biannual magazine, among other venues.
 
What I want to do in the coming year will be to add more social media venues to showcase their work, both repurposed versions of existing work as well as a venue for new work. I will review social media that we currently use, and discuss other platforms where we want to be and how the teachers can be of help in those places.

We know the messages we want to put forth; we need to use more “tentacles” to deliver those messages and reach more prospective Leo Baeck families and our alumni…two important constituent groups that will be important ambassador groups.

I intend to institute a new blog site, allowing room for thought leadership in the area of innovative educational trends and philosophy, as well as showcasing the magical “Leo Baeck moments” (every school has them) that define the real essence of our greatest assets.
 
We want a presence on parenting chat sites that afford opportunities for positive comment on our school, and when need be, countering misconceptions out there.
 
This staff meeting will be just the first shot in what we hope will be a long term campaign of engaging our teachers in advocating for our school, from their computer keyboards, without leaving their desks.  This launch will attempt to connect the dots between their engagement as ambassadors to the greater success of the school and to their own careers.  This will be followed in weeks and months to come by similar approaches to deputize other ambassador groups: parents, alumni and board members.

 

The Leo Baeck Jewish Day School has been a participant in the Jewish Day School Social Media Academy, an intensive program designed to help Jewish Day Schools advance their strategic use of social media in areas such as communication, marketing, community building, alumni relations and development. The 2013-14 nationwide cohort of 15 schools was generously supported by The AVI CHAI Foundation.  Each of the schools will be sharing insights from their experience through blog posts here with the tag #jdsacademy

Complete the Social Media Self Assessment for your school at http://www.dayschoolacademy.org/assessment

Survey Says: Celebrate Our Community

At the Solomon Schechter Day School of Metropolitan Chicago we are always looking for ways to enhance our process, we believe we have developed a system that is worth sharing. We have included below a description of our process and a screen shot of our planning worksheet on excel.

Each week we meet to plan out posts for the coming week for our Schechter community Facebook page and our alumni Facebook page, with the following goals in mind:

Goals:

  • Building positive awareness of and connection to Solomon Schechter Day School among our various constituencies to further enrollment and development.

  • Showcasing the exceptional education and enrichment programs and activities that are offered at Solomon Schechter Day School.

  • Highlighting the achievements of students, parents, faculty and staff, and alumni in our Schechter community.

  • Publicizing events at Schechter and in our broader Jewish community.

  • Sharing relevant articles and information that relates to our mission and to our community.

  • Conducting fundraising campaigns as developed by the Director of Annual Giving.

We begin by reviewing our school memo with upcoming events and by looking at the Jewish calendar.

When we see we have an upcoming special event, we emails the teachers involved and ask them to email us with pertinent info as well as pictures during or after the event. This has alleviated our need to be everywhere. The teachers are generally willing to help and appreciate this reminder email. There are some events that we make sure we are at, however if it’s a smaller event, we simply ask the teachers to take pictures. If we receive an image while the event is occurring, we try to post it in real time.

When there is an upcoming holiday, we try to share posts with relevant material such as recipes or ideas for celebration.

We started out the year mostly posting about upcoming events and posting pictures from past events. We also experimented with other types of posts to see what posts generate the most likes and shares. We have learned that our community really likes posts that celebrate individuals’ accomplishments — whether they are students, parents, faculty or alumni.

We also experimented with sharing posts on a wider variety of Jewish-related content, however it does not seem as if these posts generate as much interest or excitement. We made the decision to only share articles of interest if we can also relate them back to something that is happening within our school.

Once we decide on the content and the date that it will be posted, we determine who on our team will actually make that post. We aim to schedule between 2-4 posts per day, except for on Shabbat and holidays, with the idea that if we miss one occasionally, we have enough to make up for it.

Here is a screen shot of a partial week of a calendar worksheet:

When looking at some of the metrics on our insight page, we can see that our reach has increased over the year. While in September, our highest reach on a post was 875 people, our highest reach on a recent post was 2696 people. In addition, our likes have increased on the whole. While we still strive to increase the number of comments and shares, we see that there has been improvement in that area since September as well. Please see chart below.

The Solomon Schechter Day School of Metropolitan Chicago has been a participant in the Jewish Day School Social Media Academy, an intensive program designed to help Jewish Day Schools advance their strategic use of social media in areas such as communication, marketing, community building, alumni relations and development. The 2013-14 nationwide cohort of 15 schools was generously supported by The AVI CHAI Foundation.  Each of the schools will be sharing insights from their experience through blog posts here with the tag #jdsacademy

Complete the Social Media Self Assessment for your school at http://www.dayschoolacademy.org/assessment