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School Districts Can Use Social Media Sentiment to Plan for Change

As a school administrator, social media can feel overwhelming. Or, really LOUD. As you try to utilize the space, you may feel as though you can’t catch your breath in the midst of everyone else’s thoughts, opinions and posts. Whether you are having a positive or negative experience on social media, The Impact Group knows how to break through the chaos and not only make sense of all the chatter, but use these conversations as a tool to better your district.

The key is to understand social media monitoring and listening, and then take these skills and use them to make change within your district. Social media platforms give you the opportunity to listen to what members of your community are saying. They also give you the chance to reach out, connect, make statements or even begin the steps to make necessary changes that will best serve your students. Social media monitoring is the act of observing social media channels for any mentions of your district or district activities. It is, in its simplest form, reading posts and following along with what people are thinking and saying. Social media listening is taking monitoring one step further and making changes in response to the conversations taking place on the internet.

Let’s outline how we can use social media sentiment and listening to improve your current communications plan and how these practices can lead to improved overall district functionality.

Is Your Current Communications Plan Working?

Do you use your platforms to communicate events and achievements within the district? Do people online know about these happenings? Is there a distinct amount of excitement from parents and community members? This is a great test to see if you are reaching your communication goals. However, it will also determine if you are not. If people are taking to social media to voice complaints about lack of information – things like not knowing about a deadline, rumors spreading, etc. – then you are not using the platforms to their full advantage.

Are you and your social platforms leading the conversation in the district or are you spending time managing every curveball your community tosses your way? Sitting down and deciding what your current social media sentiment says about your communications plan will help you and your district leaders decide what direction to move in next. Maybe there are certain areas of your plan that need adjusted, or maybe you would benefit from bringing more team members on board to collect a wider arrange of content. Whatever the problem is, listening on social media will help you to find a solution.

What are Other Districts Doing?

There is nothing wrong with a little friendly competition! Plenty of schools have jumped on the social media train and are engaging with their audiences multiple times a week, if not daily. Take a look, what are they doing? How could you change your strategy to match there’s or make it better? Did you stumble across a district with a very minimal social media presence? Let this be a lesson of what not to do. You can take any example and learn from it one way or the other. You should also be examining what people are posting about other schools. What is this district’s social sentiment like? Do you see pieces of your own district reflected in this? What could you do to either prevent or obtain this kind of sentiment? You can examine schools from all across the country to see what new ways you can use social media to keep your district strong, thriving and relevant.

How are You Building Relationships with Those in Your Community?

Are people proudly displaying their school spirit online? Great! Now, keep that momentum going. Real change happens in a district when everyone is motivated and excited to contribute to the school. Creating strong morale will help make big things happen in your community. You can use social media listening to gauge the current satisfaction level within your community. Do not brush off any negative posts. It could be argued that these posts are even more important. Dig in and see what the issue is, and what you and your school leaders can do to pivot toward positive feedback. You can also use your platforms to tell your school’s story in a meaningful way that will build relationships with your audience. Establishing trust and a sense of district pride will help your district when it comes time to place a levy on the ballot!

Assess Your Social Media and Move Forward

Answering these three questions and utilizing both your own social media platforms and current social media sentiment will help you see where your district is at and what you can do to improve. When you answer these smaller questions and fully examine your presence on social media, you can then take the results and plan for big change. As daunting as it may feel, social media is a tool that can help you respond to the ever-changing needs and concerns of your audience. Listening to social media and analyzing your sentiment gives you the power to create meaningful change!

If you need help developing a social media strategy or content, let The Impact Group help! We have years of experience in social media, across all platforms.