In addition to building and maintaining a strong school website, you can engage parents of current students, attract new parents, and more by creating a Twitter account for your school.
There are tons of benefits, some of which we will discuss in this post, as well as a step-by-step guide to setting up an account.
Is Twitter good for schools?
It most certainly is, and here are a few reasons why:
1) It’s cheap! (Pun intended)
The first obvious benefit of using Twitter is its free-to-use resources. You may ask, but how does Twitter make their money? Well, you can pay to promote your account to new people or to promote a tweet beyond your list of followers, but you wouldn’t necessarily need to do that.
2) A communication tool
Twitter is another tool to enable you to share relevant news and information and connect to your school community. The only commitment Twitter needs is your time and effort, but you’ll get out more than you put in once you start using it.
For instance, tweeting to celebrate achievements, adding information about school trips, or sharing updates about inset days or school closures helps improve overall communication.
3) Promote your school
In addition to posting regularly on Twitter, schools can allocate a marketing budget to Twitter to reach very specific people, such as parents with children about to reach school age within your local area.
This can increase the number of people applying for places at your school with minimal effort.
How can schools use Twitter?
1) Broadcast your school
It’s essential to think of Twitter as an extension of your school website. The primary audience for your account will be parents, carers and guardians, although this doesn’t mean you can only follow this audience.
It’s advisable to pursue a wide range of users; local businesses, governors, other local schools, and key education resources such as TES or Schools Week. Once you begin following relevant people & resources, more often than not, they’ll follow you back, and from there, they’ll be able to see your tweets.
2) Create a community
One of the most significant time constraints a school must contend with is communications. The beauty of Twitter is that parents can follow your account and answer each other’s questions where possible. While it’s still a good idea to respond yourself, this is a fantastic way to save time, a precious school resource.
3) Showcase your school’s fantastic achievements
Has your school recently been nominated for or won an award? Or perhaps you have a school trip, sports day or other event planned. Twitter is a great way to share this information, building up your school’s reputation as an excellent educational facility.
How do you set up a Twitter account for a school?
Step one: Go onto the Twitter website and click on the ‘sign up with a phone number or email address’ button.
Step two: You’ll be asked to enter your name, but this should be the name of the school, not your own name.
Step three: Next, you’ll be asked to add your phone number or email address; again, this should be the school’s information, not your own.
Step four: After this, you’ll be asked to create a password at least six characters long. This should not be the same password you use for your website or other school accounts.
Step five: You’ll then be asked if you want to add in a phone number that can be contacted if, for example, someone logs into the account from a new location or device. You can skip this step; however, it’s a good idea to add a phone number to help protect the account.
Step six: You will be asked to create a username on the next page. This is the name that will be displayed when you post. Therefore, we recommend choosing a username that’s as close to your schools’ name as possible.
Step seven: You’ll then be prompted to add a photo as a profile picture, which will also be seen on all your posts and your Twitter profile. We recommend using the same logo on your website for consistency across all platforms.
Step eight: Twitter will then ask you what topics you like to recommend pages for you to follow. You can click their suggestions or use the search bar to select your own. You may search for ‘education,’ for example.
Step nine: You can then import contacts to Twitter if you wish; however, we don’t recommend this as there may be contacts that aren’t associated with your school. It wouldn’t be appropriate to link these to your account.
Step ten: Twitter will recommend some pages for your school to start following. There will also be a button that reads ‘let me choose’ if you’d like to do this manually. We recommend following the Department for Education and other local school pages and broader districts.
Your account will then be set up and ready to use! But setting up your account doesn’t entirely stop there.
Step eleven: At this point, we recommend you navigate to your profile and update this with as much helpful information as possible. We recommend adding the following:
- A header photo consistent with your school website.
- A school bio.
- Your school’s location.
- Your school website.
Don’t forget to hit the save button when you’re done.
Step twelve: Next, you’ll need to update your account settings and decide on:
- The account’s security and privacy.
- Email notifications.
- Web notifications.
And more. We can’t make specific recommendations here as choices will vary from school to school.
If you would like more help with this or have any questions, please get in touch. We’d be more than happy to offer further assistance and guidance.
How to make the most out of Twitter for your school
Now that you’ve got Twitter set up, it’s time to make the most out of it. First, it’s essential to keep your Twitter account up to date. We recommend posting two or three times a week to avoid your account becoming dated.
Twitter is an excellent way of getting your school in front of new parents for free. You can increase how many people see your posts with hashtags (#). We recommend using tools like hastagifyme to find out which hashtags will reach the most people and incorporate those into your posts.
You’re likely to gain more engagement by using graphics, pictures or videos, so it’s recommended to post as many tweets with these visuals as possible to grab people’s attention.
While Twitter engagement is one of the main aims, the ultimate goal of using Twitter for schools is to entice people onto the school website or some other platform, particularly for parents seeking schools to send their children to. So, it’s recommended to include links to your school website or other websites, such as a link to a good review or news coverage of your school in your posts.
If somebody engages with your Twitter account, be that through a comment or a post that they’ve tagged you in, it’s imperative that you respond promptly to keep the conversation going. Think of Twitter as a continuous school open day; you need to strive to make a good impression at all times.
If there’s something important you want your users to see, you can ‘pin’ a tweet. This puts the tweet at the top of your Twitter page, so it’s the first post people will see when they view your profile. Remember, you can only pin one tweet at a time.
Using Twitter regularly and allowing yourself to open up to the possibilities and the resources Twitter offers will help your school in numerous ways. Here are some examples of schools that use Twitter well: