Contents

Introduction ................................................................................................................................ 2 Reaching parents .................................................................................................................... 3 Why Provo School District needs a comprehensive social media strategy ........................... 5 20/20 Initiative ................................................................................................................... 5 Student retention and enrollment ....................................................................................... 8 Case study: Davis School District.......................................................................................... 9 Conclusion ........................................................................................................................... 11 Social Media Guides ................................................................................................................ 12 Facebook .............................................................................................................................. 14 Twitter .................................................................................................................................. 17 Superintendent’s blog .......................................................................................................... 22 YouTube .............................................................................................................................. 25 Pinterest................................................................................................................................ 29 Additional Resources ............................................................................................................... 34

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Introduction
Provo School District has exceptional teachers and administration who are working hard to improve education for students in Provo City. Mr. James Rees from Provo High School recently won the PBS Teacher Innovator Award, and Alan Allred from Timpview High School was named Utah’s Outstanding Music Educator. The District also offers many valuable programs such as its dual immersion programs in Chinese, French, Spanish and Portuguese as well as its eSchool. In addition students have access to excellent after-school programs to enhance their education. Through the accomplishments of teachers and students within the District, it is apparent that Provo School District is an excellent place for parents to send their children to receive a public education. Despite all the exceptional teachers, students, administration and programs, the District struggles to increase student retention and enrollment rates. The District struggles with student retention because of the increased variety of educational opportunities available through private, charter and home schools. Many parents within the District boundaries are choosing to take their children to these schools instead of public schools. The main schools the District competes with for students are Freedom Academy, John Hancock, Walden School of Liberal Arts, Meridian and homeschools. The District wants to help parents understand its schools are a safe and excellent place for their children to receive an education. Students and parents have access to exceptional programs and resources in Provo’s public schools, and it is essential for the District to communicate the success of these programs and the availability of resources to parents. The success stories of Provo School District must be told widely and transparently in order to increase student retention and enrollment rates.

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Reaching parents
Parents are the target audience with whom the District needs to communicate because they are the individuals who choose to which schools they will send their children. More specifically, the District needs to increase its efforts to reach out to moms. The District should focus on moms between 26-54 years old who live within district boundaries and have at least one child in a Provo school. These women are usually married and stay at home. They typically have a household income level of $60K+. The reason the District needs to focus on these moms is because they are able to take their children to other educational institutions due to their higher income level. These moms value their children’s education and want them to have access to the best opportunities. If they do not perceive Provo District offers these opportunities, they will take their children elsewhere. This places upon the District the obligation to communicate more effectively with this key audience. If the District does not improve its ability to effectively and transparently communicate its excellence to parents, teachers and students, it will continue to lose students to alternative education institutions. Provo School District already has a good website on which it shares the success of its students and teachers. The website provides parents access to information and resources regarding the programs available. This website is an excellent communication tool for the District. However, relying only on this tool requires that parents get the information only if they visit the website on their own. The District needs to more proactively share positive information with its stakeholders without requiring them to search out the website. One way this can be done is through social media. Provo School District already has a Facebook page with more than 350 “likes,” with more than 50 percent of the “likes” being from women ages 25-54 who are in the District’s target market.

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The full gender and age demographics of the Facebook page are below:

Scott Rocco, a superintendent in New Jersey, wrote an article on edsocialmedia.com and gave five key reasons school districts should be active on social media: 1) Improve communication with stakeholders. Websites are good, but social media sends information directly to stakeholders. 2) Provide real-time information to the community. 3) Positive promotion is not the focus of traditional paper press, so social media fills this void. 4) Social media is a way to efficiently share District messages and missions. 5) Social media is not a burden and will save time, focus your message and promote your school or district.1 While Provo District already has a Facebook page and a website, it would be beneficial for the District to implement a comprehensive social media strategy. This strategy should include multiple social media channels, and a possible strategy is outlined in this document.

1

http://www.edsocialmedia.com/2013/01/5-reasons-for-social-media-communication-in-education/

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Why Provo School District needs a comprehensive social media strategy
Provo District needs to implement a social media strategy in order to accomplish its goals outlined in the 20/20 initiative as well as its goals to retain current students and increase student enrollment. 20/20 Initiative A comprehensive social media strategy will support the strategic imperatives of the District’s 20/20 initiative. Strategic imperative four states, “We will actively engage parents in the education of their children.” Social media provides a platform for parents to become engaged in their students’ learning. Through social media, the District can provide learning resources parents can use at home, and it can let parents know about school assemblies and activities. Strategic imperative nine states, “We commit to efficiency, transparency, accountability and sustainability in our finances, general District operations and our facilities.” Social media is essential in portraying a culture of efficiency, transparency and accountability. Social media is where many women in the District’s target audience turn to get information. According to the annual Social Media Report by Nielson and NM Incite, there are more women on social networking sites than men.2 To support this statistic, an infographic (included on next page) from the marketing firm Digital Flash NY shows that 58 percent of Facebook users, 64 percent of Twitter users and 82 percent of Pinterest users are women.3 These statistics show that women are on social media, and Provo School District would miss a key opportunity to connect with its target audience if it did not implement a comprehensive social media strategy. Furthermore, with the new announcement of Google Fiber coming to Provo, more parents will have access to the Internet and social media sites
2 3

http://www.brandwatch.com/2012/12/how-we-use-social-highlights-from-the-social-media-report-2012/ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/09/women-facebook-twitter-pinterest_n_1655164.html

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and will, therefore, expect information about the school district to be easily accessible through these channels.

The third strategic action plan of the 20/20 initiative is to “transform communication, customer service and relationship expectations with parents and community.” Social media is essential in transforming communication and building a relationship with stakeholders.

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Parents are the key stakeholder in relation to student enrollment and retention. In this technology-saturated time, parents demand immediate information. Social media is an ideal platform for parents to receive information, ask questions and provide feedback. As the District provides parents with immediate, accurate information through social media, its relationship with parents will most likely improve. In transforming its communication and relationship with parents, the District can use social media to portray certain key messages. These messages will help parents understand the District has the self-interest of them and their children at the forefront of its efforts, which is essential to building a mutually beneficial relationship. Implementing a comprehensive social media strategy will help the District transparently share the following messages with parents: 1) We value and meet your desire to know more about your child’s education. 2) We value and meet your desire to know more about opportunities available in Provo School District. 3) We value and meet your desire to know when events and/or emergencies occur at any Provo school. As a subset to the overall action plan to transform communication, Provo District wants to “outline tactics that lead to high quality customer service and communication.” Social media is becoming a place where individuals go to communicate concerns and questions to businesses, brands and school districts. Ben Horsely, director of communications for Granite School District, stated in a recent Deseret News article, “Often, we get more responses or connections to our social media than we get through traditional methods like phone messages and email. The feedback portion is also critical.”4

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http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865569774/Granite-district-uses-humor-to-respond-to-New-Yearstweets.html?pg=all

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Student retention and enrollment Provo School District also needs to implement a comprehensive social media strategy because it will greatly support efforts to increase enrollment and retention. Superintendent Rittel stated in his welcoming post on the website, “The best way to earn the community’s confidence is to accomplish the reason we exist: to provide our students with a quality, rich, and lasting education.”5 Provo School District is fulfilling this purpose and has the potential to gain the community’s confidence. However, unless the story of this accomplishment is shared more proactively with the community through social media, community members will not know of its success, and their confidence will not be gained. Phil Traegus, a writer for socialnomics.com, made the following statement in an article about social media’s place in education: “Many educational institutes are already implementing social media marketing successfully as a tool for recruiting new students. If they’re getting it right, then they’ll be using it as a platform to talk about the success of current students and perhaps how the school is improving all of the time.”6 As Provo School District more actively shares the success stories of its students and teachers through various social media platforms, it will attract the attention of the parents of future students. In addition, Provo School District can use its social media outlets as a platform to reach parents during a school emergency. Such an emergency could be a lockdown like the one at Edgemont Elementary earlier this year or inclement weather. One of parents’ greatest self-interests is the safety of their children, and the information the District can provide to help parents keep their children safe will be an invaluable asset in building a positive relationship. For example, in the parents meeting following the Edgemont Elementary lockdown, parents asked the District why it had not notified parents through Facebook.
5 6

http://superintendent.provo.edu/8-20-12/ http://www.socialnomics.net/2013/03/11/how-can-social-media-be-used-in-education/

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Parents requested that the District do this in the future. Westlake Junior High is an example of a school that effectively used social media in a lockdown situation. After the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., Westlake Junior High was put on lockdown. The school used Twitter as a platform where parents could receive updates throughout the day. As another example, the amount of traffic and “likes” on the Provo School District Facebook page increased after a snow storm as parents sought information about school attendance. Both of these incidents show parents do look to the social media platforms of Provo District for information. A recent article in the Deseret News about school districts that have used social media quotes Ryan Shattuck, a social-media expert, who said, “It takes a couple of minutes to make a phone call or send an email about a potential issue with school safety. It takes only 30 seconds to post a tweet or post to Facebook.”7 Social media provides the District with a simple platform through which it can provide immediate, accurate information about the students’ safety to parents without needing to call or email every parent.

Case study: Davis School District
Davis School District is one school district in Utah that has chosen to implement a social media strategy that utilizes multiple social media platforms. It is valuable to examine what is posted on each platform and why Davis has expanded from beyond a Facebook page. Facebook Davis School District Facebook page currently has 5,290 “likes,” which means 5,290 parents, teachers or community members see the posts that show the success of the district. Davis School District posts pictures of its students participating in various programs and

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http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865569774/Granite-district-uses-humor-to-respond-to-New-Yearstweets.html?pg=all

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activities; it also posts links to articles and videos about the success and quality of the district. A primary advantage of Facebook is that it provides parents with the opportunity to engage in a conversation with the district. In early April, there was a large windstorm in Davis County and parents posted on the district’s Facebook page recommending school be cancelled or postponed. The district administration saw what the parents wanted and was able to respond appropriately. In addition, Facebook has a private messaging feature where parents can directly contact the district without posting publicly on the Facebook page. Twitter Davis School District uses its Twitter account in a similar way to its Facebook page. It shares articles and videos about the success of its students with the 1,193 people who follow the account. In contrast to its Facebook page, Davis School District uses Twitter primarily to connect to media personnel. The media will write about a school district regardless of the information the district provides. It is in a district’s best interest to provide positive and accurate information to reporters and be as in control of the conversation as possible in order to portray itself to the community in the best light. Below are some sample posts from the Davis School District Twitter account @DavisSchools: 
Syracuse High students give up spring break for hands-on marine biology learning. http://fb.me/2iZZcTg0V [The link goes to a news story in the Standard

Examiner] 
Davis School District schools participated in the Great Utah #ShakeOut Wednesday. See video of Farmington... http://fb.me/2obj92VPE [The link goes to

a video on the Davis School District YouTube page that shows the District participating in the state-wide earthquake drill.]

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It's not too late to buy a seat at the Davis Education Foundation Gala. Contact Sherry Miggin at (801) 402-5182 for... fb.me/vinSrgtK [The link goes to the
http://

Facebook post about the event.] YouTube Davis School District uses its YouTube channel as a central place to share the videos it makes about its students’ success and the events happening in schools. Using video to communicate the success of a school district is crucial and effective because videos allow parents and community members witness what students and teachers are doing instead of just reading about it on the district webpage. Video is also a more engaging media outlet than an article and keeping all the videos in one place allows viewers to re-watch and share the videos even after they are off the main webpage. The videos on Davis School District’s YouTube channel address topics such as district STEM programs, school safety, professional development and individual student successes. Each of the videos promotes the quality and success of the district and provides visual proof of that quality and success.

Conclusion
Provo School District is communicating its excellence well through its website and Facebook page, but it is missing an opportunity to improve that communication with its main target audience of moms. Implementing a comprehensive social media strategy will help Provo School District achieve its goals as outlined in the 20/20 initiative as well as its goal to transparently communicate with its stakeholders. A comprehensive social media strategy will also help to increase student enrollment and retention rates. The remainder of this document provides a how-to guide for various social media platforms through which Provo School District will be more able to “earn the community’s confidence” by communicating that it “provide[s] [its] students with a quality, rich, and lasting education.” 11 | P a g e

Social Media Guides

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Facebook
Benefits:   58 percent of Facebook users are women who are the District’s target audience.8 Facebook is a way the District can share its success directly with its stakeholders without requiring them to go to the District webpage.  Facebook allows for audience engagement through the commenting, “like” and messaging features. Purpose: The purpose of the Provo District Facebook page is to connect with its target audience of moms, who are constantly on social media. Through Facebook the District can share the good things that are happening through posting pictures and links to articles and information taking people back to the main website. Facebook also provides a platform for moms to get immediate information in the case of school emergencies and inclement weather. Facebook will provide moms with easy access to a place where they can ask questions and get quick answers by either posting a question directly on the page or sending a private message. Setting up Facebook: Provo School District already has a Facebook page, so the setup for this social media platform is complete. Process: The Provo School District Facebook page is currently managed by the district director of communications. This individual will continue to post to the page and respond to comments and messages from parents and community members.
8

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/09/women-facebook-twitter-pinterest_n_1655164.html

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Sample posts: Facebook posts can provide parents with a large variety of information and promote the messages the District wants to share. Some examples are included below: 4) School safety post:

5) School activity post combined with student achievement:

6) Weather update post

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Twitter
Benefits:    Twitter is a platform for instant communication with stakeholders. 64 percent of Twitter users are women.9 Reporters look to Twitter for information, so Provo District can provide them with accurate, updated information through this channel.  Hashtags provide a way for Provo District to connect its posts to various educational issues and allow those interested in education to see how Provo District is addressing those issues. (i.e. #edchat, #schoolsafety, #edtech) Purpose: The main purpose of a Twitter account for Provo School District would be to promote the success stories of students and teachers to the media. As reporters are more aware of the great things happening in the District, they will share that information with their readers, which mainly consist of the parents of Provo students. Twitter also provides a simpler platform for the District to provide updates in an emergency or crisis without needing to write a full news release. The District needs to provide reporters and community members with current, accurate information, or they will turn elsewhere to get the information. Process: After Provo School District sets up a Twitter account, it will be managed by the district communications representative. He or she will post tweets one to two times per day in order to provide current information about things happening in the District. He or she can also “retweet” education-related posts to its followers in order to engage in the education conversation and share valuable information.
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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/09/women-facebook-twitter-pinterest_n_1655164.html

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Setting up a Twitter account: 1) Go to http://twitter.com 2) Click on the yellow “Sign up for Twitter” button

3) Complete the profile setup page.

The username will be the Twitter handle that people will see whenever the District posts. Examples: @ProvoSchools, @ProvoDistrict

4) Follow other Twitter users a. In this step Twitter will suggest for you to follow certain individuals and organizations. You can follow the ones it suggests or search for others

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such as the Utah State Board of Education (@UTPublicEd), other school districts (@DavisSchools) and the Utah PTA (@utahpta). 5) Account settings can be changed at any time by clicking on the icon shown below.

6) Start tweeting! Twitter glossary: This view will show up on your profile page.
This is where you can see all your tweets. A tweet is a message posted via Twitter containing 140 characters or fewer. This is where you can see a list of those you are following. This is where you can see a list of those who are following you. This is where you can see a list of tweets you have marked as “favorite.”

This bar is always on the top of the Twitter page.

This is where you can see tweets from lists you have subscribed to.

Access your news feed, where you see tweets from those you follow.

See if you have new followers or if anyone has tweeted directly to you.

See posts by others similar to those of people you already follow.

Go to your profile page.

Compose a new tweet.

Update your profile, access account settings and sign out.

Other important terms: These definitions were pulled from Twitter’s help page.10 Handle A user's "Twitter handle" is the username they have selected and the accompanying URL, like so: http://twitter.com/username. Hashtag The # symbol is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet.
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https://support.twitter.com/articles/166337-the-twitter-glossary#

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@reply An @reply is any update posted by clicking the Reply button on a Tweet. Mention A mention is any Twitter update that contains "@username" anywhere in the body of the Tweet. If you include more than one person's name in your Tweet and you use the @username format, all of those people will see the Tweet in their Mentions tab. Retweet A Tweet by another user, forwarded to you by someone you follow. Often used to spread news or share valuable findings on Twitter. Sample Posts: 1) Enrollment post

2) Community involvement post

3) Employment change post

4) Education technology post (example of hashtag use)

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Superintendent’s blog
Benefits:  A blog will be the central place and archive for the “Superintendent’s Message” that is already being written.  Provides a place where parents, teachers and other stakeholders can read thoughts from their district leadership. Purpose: The superintendent currently posts the “Superintendent’s Message” on the Provo District website every other month. The difference in having a superintendent’s blog would be to provide a central place for his posts and a venue for a larger variety of topics. The superintendent is the leader of the Provo District, and he plays an essential role in forming people’s perception of the District. Parents and stakeholders want to see the authoritative figure in the District speak up on important educational issues, share the progress of the District in reaching its goals and share his thoughts on education. If parents and stakeholders do not see the success of the District promoted by the superintendent, they will be less likely to believe success is actually occurring. The superintendent serves as a figurehead for the District in the eyes of parents and the community. It is essential for people to see the success of the District and its leader in order to maintain a positive relationship with the community that can lead to increased enrollment and retention rates. Process: The Provo School District blog will be managed by the superintendent. He will write his own posts and can choose to post them to the blog himself or have another District employee do so. Ideally the superintendent should post once per month.

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Setting up a blog: There are a variety of platforms on which blogs can be constructed. The most efficient way for Provo School District to set up a blog will be to integrate it as another page on the already existing website. The District web team can create the page where the superintendent can put his posts. Sample post topics: 1) The effect of Google Fiber on Provo schools 2) The new State Core requirements 3) Thoughts on the impact of technology on education 4) The importance of arts in education 5) Summer programs available through Provo School District 6) The impact of new legislation on Provo School District 7) The dual immersion programs 8) Budget changes in the District 9) School safety 10) Citizenship in schools

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YouTube
Benefits:  Videos are very shareable and will help to facilitate more positive conversation about the District.  More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month.11

Purpose: The Provo School District already does a great job of sharing its success through video stories on the website. However, after these videos are taken off of the website or moved to a different page, people do not have easy access to them. Videos are very interactive content and a much more engaging way to share the success of a school, teacher or student as opposed to only an article. It is important for stakeholders and specifically parents to have access to these videos without searching through the webpage. Providing easy, constant access to the videos will enable them to re-watch and share the videos with their friends. Process: Videos would be created and uploaded by the district communications representative. The videos do not need to be professionally produced, but they should be high quality in order to positively reflect back on the District. The district communications representative should try to find at least one story per month that could be filmed.

11

http://www.youtube.com/yt/press/statistics.html

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Setting up a YouTube account: 1) YouTube is linked to Google, so you will need to create a Google account specifically for the District. 2) Go to youtube.com and click the “Sign in” button in the top right corner. Click “Create an account” in the top right corner of the new page and fill in the information that shows up on the next page.

3) You will need to confirm your account by going to the email confirmation page and sending a confirmation to your email. 4) Create a channel. After you are signed in, you can click on your profile and a drop down menu will appear. Click on “My channel” and then click “To use business or other name.”

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5) Follow the remainder of the instructions and then upload your videos. 6) To upload a video, click the “Upload” link at the top of the page and select the video file from your computer. Sample Posts: 1) School safety video

2) eSchool recruitment video

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Pinterest
Benefits:    85 percent of Pinterest users are women.12 The content is easily shareable. It is a more visual way to share the success stories of the District.

Purpose: Many people think the purpose of Pinterest is to share only craft, recipe and fashion ideas. However, many businesses and educational institutions also use Pinterest. Some of these organizations include Penguin Books, Volkswagen USA, the University of Virginia and Atlanta Public School District. The specific example of the Atlanta Public School District (http://pinterest.com/apsupdate/) shows how a school district can use Pinterest to share the success of the students and provide resources to parents. Their Pinterest “boards” include Our District, Our Schools, Our Students, Our Teachers, Parent Resources, Student Resources, Educational Articles and more. Each of these boards contains stories or “pins” that relate to the District and provide information that positively promotes the District and facilitates a beneficial relationship with its stakeholders. Process: The Provo School District Pinterest page will be updated by the district communications representative. Any time a new story is posted on the website, he or she should also create a pin using a picture or video from the story. The pictures and videos that will be uploaded should all be saved in one folder on the individual’s computer for easy access. The Pinterest account should be set up using a general email in order to ensure future

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/09/women-facebook-twitterpinterest_n_1655164.html 29 | P a g e

communications representatives will have access to the account as well as other district employees to whom the superintendent grants access. Setting up a Pinterest account: 1) Go to pinterest.com 2) Click on “Join Pinterest” 3) The screen below will appear, and you will click on “Learn more” beside the question, “Are you a business?”

4) This page will appear and after you enter in your information, you will be able to create boards and start pinning.

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5) As you pin, you will want to pin things that match the mission and goals of the Provo School District. You will be able to pin your own content as well as pin content already on the platform. Some example posts from other organizations are included below.

Educational quote

From “Parents Resources board on Atlanta Public Schools

From “Our District” board on Atlanta Public Schools

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How to upload a pin: 1) Click on the “Add+” button on the top menu bar.

2) Click on “Upload a pin” or “Create a board” depending on what you are doing.

3) Choose a picture or video file from your computer to upload. Write a description underneath and “Pin.”

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Sample posts: a. Sharing the success of a Provo District student

b. Sharing efforts to promote school safety

c. Sharing unique story of principal

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Additional Resources
The following list is websites that have more information about how school districts can effectively use social media.   “Internet Marketing for Schools” http://www.schneiderb.com/ “Why schools should be jumping on the Pinterest bandwagon” http://www.thefundraisingresource.com/wp/marketing/why-schools-should-bejumping-on-the-pinterest-bandwagon/ “Exploring the role of social media in education” http://www.edsocialmedia.com/ “Social media in Education: Resources roundup” http://www.edutopia.org/socialmedia-education-resources “Social media in school emergency management” http://rems.ed.gov/docs/Training_SocialMediaInEM.pdf

  

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