Maturing Your Social Media Practice for Synagogues: Follow Up Resources and Archives

Effective use of social media is critical today for being seen and understood, and developing relationships between and among your community members. This free 5 part series on the most important social media topics for synagogues today covers important and timely topics to help synagogue leaders — from novice to expert — take their digital practice to the next level.  These webinars run live in February and March, 2016.  You can sign up here for the next sessions in the series, and archives from previous sessions are below

Thanks to UJA-Federation of New York for supporting this series!

 

VISUAL STORYTELLING

Recording

Slides

Resources:
Pause Before You Post Video
G-dcast videos  (good for curation!)
iMedia Connection
Connected Congregations (more on building relationships and community)

A few synagogue Instagram accounts as examples:
Central Synagogue, New York (promotional)https://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner
Temple Israel, Memphis (people focused)
Sixth and I, Washington DC (events and great visuals)

Flickr
Hootsuite
Buffer App
Creative Commons Licenses

 

PAID MEDIA

Recording

Slides

More about the trifecta of owned, earned and paid media.

Google Grants — apply here!

Google Ads keyword planner

Facebook Ad Resources here and here.

Get started with Facebook ads!

 

COMMUNICATING FOR SOCIAL

Slides:  http://www.slideshare.net/darimonline/the-new-rules-community-building-in-the-age-of-social-maturing-your-synagogues-social-media-practice

Recording

The first TV commercial and a bit more about broadcast vs. social:

Examples shared:

Temple Israel on FB: https://www.facebook.com/TempleIsrael/

Chevra Ahavas Yisroel: https://www.facebook.com/chevraahavasyisroel/

Sixth and I: https://twitter.com/sixthandi

Blog post from The Community Synagogue: https://commsyn.org/blog/our-community-theater-tabernacle

RESOURCES MENTIONED:

Social Media Policy Workbook: http://darimonline.org/smpw

Facebook Pages vs. Groups:  http://mashable.com/2014/10/19/facebook-pages-groups-profiles/#rOHCfPl_amqU

Making Facebook Groups Rock (Miriam Brosseau on Beth Kanter’s blog): http://www.bethkanter.org/facebook-groups/

What is a hashtag?  http://mashable.com/2013/10/08/what-is-hashtag/#FX58SJ6pXuqN

Good times to post on social media (but do your own testing and see!  Facebook Pages have great “insights” data):  https://nonprofitquarterly.org/2014/04/03/infographic-optimal-times-to-post-on-social-networks/

 

CONTENT STRATEGY AND EDITORIAL CALENDARS: REPRESENTING YOUR BRAND ONLINE

Recording

Slides

Finding your voice:  Social Media Policy Workbook

Editorial calendar template

Darim’s guest blogging guidelines
 

CROWDFUNDING

Recording

Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/darimonline/intro-to-crowdfunding

Links to platforms:

http://crowdrise.com/

http://razoo.com/

http://kickstarter.com/

http://charidy.com/

http://jewcer.com/

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.

 

 

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.

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

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

 

These are the Days: Lessons in Content Planning

At The Agnon School, a community Jewish day school located in Beachwood, Ohio, we set out to enhance our social media reach and interaction in order to attract additional students to the school. 

One of the first things we did was to conduct a survey of our constituents – primarily our parents and prospective parents – to see what types of social media they were using most frequently.  Through the survey, we discovered that Facebook was most often used.  

As a result, we increased our use of Facebook by posting engaging items on a daily basis each week.  We developed the following weekly schedule:

  • Mondays:  We posted an article of interest written by a national education expert for our target audiences to read (articles were not specific to our school).
  • Tuesdays:  We posted a video or photo album related to activities happening at the school (including special programs or simply everyday learning).
  • Wednesdays:  We posted a fun and/or thought provoking question and parents could respond to the question.
  • Thursdays:  We had “Throwback Thursdays” and posted an alumni photo with an accompanying question or invitation to interact and share.
  • Fridays:  We posted our Head of School Shabbat blog.

We found that student photos sent out on Tuesdays and Thursdays received the most attention.  In addition, photos of people holding signs with key messages regarding fund raising also generated a tremendous amount of attention for our benefit golf outing.

In addition, we pre-posted articles on Mondays to make sure we have regular posts.  In order to increase interest on the other days of the week, we learned through trial and error that Wednesday’s “question of the day” needs to be simple in order to get responses.  We plan on changing the questions for this day to something shorter in order to encourage more responses.  Plus, we plan on giving the Head of School’s blog on Fridays a more attention-getting name.  We are also considering the pros and cons of paid posts.

However, our ultimate goal was to have our followers “like” or “share” all of our weekly posts.  Through this exercise, we discovered that we needed social media ambassadors to engage and support participation.   To achieve the best results, we e-mailed some of our key parent ambassadors and requested that they “like” or “share” our posts.  This worked so well that we decided to create a Social Media Support Committee for the 2014 – 2015 school year.  This committee’s sole job will be to simply “share” Agnon’s Facebook posts.

What’s more, we were introduced to a number of new tools to assess metrics.  We learned a great deal about our posting habits relative to the types of postings that appeal to our audiences and the most optimal posting times.

 

The Agnon School participated in the 2013-14 cohort of 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

 

5 Social Media Lessons for Early Childhood Centers (Plus a Little Healthy Attitude)

When I was first asked to write a blog, I started paying more attention to what other bloggers were writing about and what I liked about their blogs and what I didn’t like.  It became very clear, very quickly what I liked were the ones that were written with a bit of snarkiness to them.  Not sure if snarkiness is even a word [editor's note: for the purposes of this blog, snarkiness is 100% legit], but found out through blogging, that it is used quite often. I also found that I liked the blogs to be short and to the point and of course be relevant to my interests.

I am the Director of Temple Beth El’s Early Childhood program located in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.  My assistant Heather and I participated in the Detroit Jewish Early Childhood Social Media Academy this year that was coordinated by the Alliance for Jewish Education at the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit and generously funded by the Hermelin-Davidson Center for Congregation Excellence.  When I first heard the words "Social Media Academy", the thought that came to mind was Facebook and Twitter, and who doesn’t know how to use it Facebook, and why do I want to be bothered with Twitter? I felt confident in Facebook and how I was helping to promote my school by posting cute pictures of the kids and promoting Temple and school events.  Who knew it could be so much more. 

We were assigned a coach to help us discuss our goals.  We focused at first on Facebook because that was what we knew.  Our Facebook page was off to a pretty good start, but one of our goals was to get more parent involvement.  The first thing we realized was that our pictures were getting a lot of likes and views, so we started using Fotor.com, a site that allows you to easily create a photo collage and upload it to Facebook.  No more photo albums!  The next thing we did was add cute quotes to our pictures, using Quotescover.com and PicMonkey.com to help us layer quotes on top of our pictures.  Sure enough, we began to see that we were getting more likes, more hits, but still not a lot of comments.

The next thing we did to increase our Facebook audience was to make sure that we add a FB pin to the bottom of our e-mail correspondence that we send out and a reminder to Like us on FB on all written correspondence.

Once we felt we have exhausted FB, our coach suggested we try to involve not only our ECC audience, but our Temple audience as well.  Each month I am responsible for writing a monthly article for our Temple and I have begun adding educational tips for parents.  Each tip is then entered to our newly created Pinterest Boards.  Who knew Pinterest was even considered a social media site?  Now we are connected through Facebook and Pinterest.  I must say, it does become a little addicting but mostly rewarding to see my staff, parents and people who I don’t even know, following us on Pinterest.

So to summarize our goals and accomplishments in 5 easy steps, here they are for all you newbies:

1. Bulletin articles. We are all writing them, but what for? This is the place to start. Begin here by writing an article with the purpose of recycling it throughout your social media outlets. This article can LIVE ON! Include monthly “tips.” Include text that could be a subtitle to a photo.  An example:

Lauren’s monthly learning lessons are all about socialization.  Enjoy! 

Lauren’s Top 7 Tips to encourage Socialization:

  1. Teach kids words like: “Please help me,” “I need to learn this.” Model the language you would like the kids to use when they need help.
  2. Ask one child to ask another child a question about the toy they are playing with.
  3. Pair two children together and ask them to find a toy to play with together.
  4. Play follow the leader.
  5. Have children take turns making facial expressions and ask the other children to tell you what type of expression that child is making.
  6. Play the “Name” game.
  7. Talk about feelings.  Sad, embarrassed, surprise, hesitant, overwhelmed. Give them the vocabulary they need to express their feelings.

 

2. Facebook Pictures Next step …… this is where things get easier. Use the article to establish a story that you will share throughout the month. The tips section of the article will be used as an outline. We know Facebook fans prefer pictures, in fact, photos get 39% more interaction according to Fast Company. Start by reviewing your school’s photos, set up photo opps of your students that represent your tips. Use Quotescover.com or PicMonkey.com to caption the photos. No more drafting up the best caption. The captions can be verbatim to the tips in your article.  Remember, you are not generating content but REUSING your own!

 

3. Facebook Campaigns. Psst! Did you know you can schedule posts on Facebook? This makes campaigns so much easier! Simply draft your post, with your photo that represents your article, and then schedule it. By reviewing Facebook Insights, you will know the very best times that you should schedule your posts. Schedule these posts to “fire” all through-out the month. [Editor's note: make sure to remember what you've scheduled.  On rare occasions a worldly or local event may make your scheduled content appear insensitive or inappropriate, so keep in mind you may need to unschedule or edit if needed.]

4. Pinterest. Ready? Simply set up a board with theme of your tips. Spend a few minutes searching for tips that relate to your tips. A few pins are all you need to get started. Add a few more each week. By spacing out your Pinterest activity, you will increase your visibility. When you share often, more people will see your pins and those pins lead people back to your page by displaying your details about the pin. http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-to-get-more-pinterest-followers/

5. Promote it.  Mention it in-depth in a bulletin article, this will give your readers a clue that you are doing more and are setting trends on social media. Include social media buttons in your email signature. Connect your social media networks. Include it on everything you send home to families. Personally ask your families to comment on your social media.

Is this cheating?? NO WAY! First, you are probably reaching different audiences by spreading your article out this way. Second, no marketer should rely on one method to spread their word. Third, remember the Rule of Seven. (http://thebabyboomerentrepreneur.com/258/what-is-the-rule-of-seven-and-how-will-it-improve-your-marketing/)

What I’m dying to find out is how to continue to improve my monthly article. Do you have any ideas? Moving from “a review of the month” to parenting/educating issues and ideas has been a start, but what is the next level? How can I increase my readership? How can I increase my readerships engagement levels to more than just a “Like”?  Share your thoughts in the comments!

 

It’s Everyone’s Job. Plan For It.

As we often say at the Davis Academy, life is a journey: a journey of learning and discovery; a journey that embraces family and community; a journey that broadens our world.  As we embarked on the 2013-14 school year, our advancement team joined together on a year-long journey to better define what social media looks and feels like at the Davis Academy. This journey has provided us the opportunity to reflect on how we utilize social media and how we can better engage our constituents via the various avenues of social media. Prior to embarking on this journey, we were already using social media (Facebook and Twitter, in particular, to various degrees); however, we had not been very strategic about our approach.

This journey, our Jewish Day School Social Media Academy experience, has given us the coaching, guidance (and nudging) we needed to go outside of our comfort zones and to experiment with new approaches, strategies, and projects. Our biggest takeaway has been the simple realization that social media is everyone’s job and that timing is everything. That being said, with the guidance of our amazing coach, we have taken a closer look at defining our social media policy, developing our content curation strategy, and are striving to further empower the members of our community to authentically become involved in the SM storytelling through formal trainings. 

Many members of our community (faculty, parent ambassadors, alumni and administrators) have an established social media presence, and it has been a yearlong goal to streamline this activity into a more collaborative effort.  All of our constituents have amazing content to share individually, but by sharing collectively the impact is significantly more powerful. In order for the shared effort approach to work, we have quickly realized that some formal training is imperative.

We have identified a core group of Host Committee Members/Parent Ambassadors/Faculty Members who already recognize the tremendous value and the impact that social media can have, and we are using this core group to train and engage others as well.  While much of this training took place midway through the school year this year, we recognize that there will be much greater momentum in future years when these trainings occur right from the start. In the fall, as part of our Host Committee kick off, our parent Co-Chairs will begin with a dialogue around social media (as we have done for the previous two years).  This dialogue will then be extended into a hands-on application session in our Tech Lab where the co-chairs will walk parents through the ins and outs of Facebook and Twitter (aka Facebook/Twitter 101).  Together, they will have the opportunity to explore the Davis Academy Facebook page, Twitter handle and grade level specific hashtags, interact with the already existing content, and curate new content themselves in a supported setting.  We want our parent ambassadors and host members to feel empowered to post, share, tag, like, and comment as they go about their everyday activities. In a similar fashion, our faculty and administration also are taking a more formal approach to SM training and are holding sessions for other key players like parents, grandparents, and teachers to join in the collaboration. 

Thanks to the monthly webinars, coaching calls, and ShareFests with other JDS Social Media Academy schools, we feel we are better equipped to use social media as a communications tool to reach more families and community members.  We look forward to involving more constituents and improving our practices to tell The Davis Academy story through these valuable channels.

 

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

Keep Momentum Over the Summer

The Jewish calendar is great for pacing our lives, for embracing the seasons, and appreciating things in their own time.  Summer, however, sometimes feels like it can derail the communications momentum we've worked so hard to build over the year.  Especially in educational organizations where classes don't meet over the summer (and where staff may be only working part time, or not at all), it's important to pay special attention to your summer social media plans.  Thus from our staff, and the wisdom of the crowd!

CONSISTENCY  Maintaining consistency is important both to keep up your ranking so your content will appear in newsfeeds, but it's also important to keep people in the habit of being engaged.  You've worked to get people engaging with your posts — keep it up.  It's also a great way to introduce and integrate new families into your community.   Make a point of posting at least once or twice a week.  Use the scheduling function in Facebook or a third party tool like HootSuite to schedule posts if you need plan ahead.

CONTENT  If you've used the POST planning process to identify the "sweet spot" of content that's both mission centric and of practical value to your audiences, you know how important it is to find the right content.  What do your audiences need over the summer?   Tips for events and opportunities in your local community?  How about ideas of fun summertime care packages to send to camp?  Or links to back to school preparedness? Tova Otis suggested in the JDS Social Media Academy Facebook Group that she posts links to school supply sales in their community.  Even links to fun activities like this list of creative things to do for under $10 or how to make quick kosher dill pickles with your cucumber harvest, other fun things you can find on Pinterest. (Got links to share?  Add them in the comments)

CONTRIBUTIONS  How can you get people participating in your Page even if they are not walking through your door?  How about a photo contest to have people submit a picture of their adventures over the summer, or wearing their school t-shirt in exciting places?  Invite your audience to send a postcard — a real one which you can scan and post online, or a virtual one by posting on your Page.  Do a virtual scavenger hunt.  Promote these invitations both on your page, and through email and other vehicles with links to help them take immediate action.

CONVERSATION  Keep the conversation going.  What questions can you ask that inspire people to speak up ("Where are kids going to camp this summer? What's your favorite ice cream flavor?) or chime in?  Ellen Dietrick asked her community to vote on the color t-shirt for the coming year and got dozens of responses – some serious, some silly!  Remember to be LISTENING as much as TALKING. If you're not in the office make sure you're getting notifications (by email, or on your phone or tablet) so you can monitor and facilitate conversation as people chime in!

How will you keep momentum during the summer?  What kinds of content will you post?  How do you structure your time over the summer to keep momentum?  Share in the comments.  Happy summer!