As a parent volunteer who is not at Shulamith School for Girls of Brooklyn every day, being admin of the school’s Facebook page is a fun challenge. Initially I shared interesting online articles, and links from Facebook Pages that I already followed, on topics I thought would interest other parents like me. After we were accepted to the Jewish Day School Social Media Academy, our Facebook Likes and interactions increased tremendously as I learned to curate, not just find, the content to share. We created a POST Plan that helped us figure out our target audience, and then used Facebook Insights to figure out which posts were most popular. We then created a schedule to post about those topics.
Shulamith School for Girls of Brooklyn originally created a Facebook Page in 2012 to share photos of the recent school dinner. Posts were few and far between before we joined the Academy. As we learned from the Academy coach, webinars, and Sharefests, I began posting more regularly and began paying attention to Facebook Insights. (For more on using Insights to figure out which posts work best, see the fantastic article by another Academy participant, here: http://bit.ly/10GzUyu.)
Now I search for and save the images and articles that appeal to our parent body, our alumni and donors, and potential Shulamith families who want to see what our school is all about. So, in addition to posting photos of school events that our principal emails or shares via DropBox, I schedule carefully curated content 3 days a week. On Monday, our followers know to expect a Middot Monday post about encouraging positive character traits in our children. Tuesday Tips and Teachable Thursday posts are about parenting and education tips that families can use at home. Additionally, on Wednesday I welcome everyone who Liked the Page since the previous Wednesday.
I search for interesting articles all over the web. Three times a week I spend about half an hour visiting websites and Facebook Pages to look for new material for our Page. I started following educational tweets on Twitter, even though our school is not on Twitter yet. I curate stories from sites like Edutopia, HuffPost Parents, The New York Times, Aish.com, OU.org, and even the IDF Facebook Page (because our school is uniquely Zionist in Brooklyn). When I find something that will interest our parents and other followers, I save the links to bit.ly so I can track which links were actually clicked after I share them on Facebook. Keeping track of Insights and bit.ly clicks helps me look for more of what our followers want to see. For instance, articles on teaching children about finances were viewed more than articles about the impact of the lack of sleep.
Like the other Academy participants, I also found that posts with photos or videos of our students were viewed, commented on, and shared more often. A Welcome Wednesday post can reach 75 to 100 of our followers. Adding a photo of six girls in the hallway boosts that to over 200 views. Vintage class photos from the 1960s-80s each received hundreds of views, and alumni reconnected on our Page.
Thanks to the JDS Social Media Academy, our Likes increased from 49 to almost 200. We’ve reconnected with alumni and watched new friendships form in Facebook Comments. When I go to school for parent-teacher night and other events, parents come up to me to thank me for sharing such interesting articles. They say they look forward to checking Shulamith’s Facebook posts every day. Carefully curating content pays off!
Tova Ovits is a freelance editor with a daughter graduating from Shulamith School for Girls of Brooklyn. She volunteered to be Shulamith’s Team Leader for the JDS Social Media Academy for the 2012-13 school year.
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 2012-13 nationwide cohort of 20 schools was generously supported by The AVI CHAI Foundation. Each of the schools will be sharing insights from their experience through blog posts here this spring with the tag #jdsacademy
The 2013-14 cohort is currently in formation. If your school or community is interested in more information, please contact Lisa Colton.