The changing face of school communications in a social media age
Social media continues to transform how we interact with the people and environments around us. For schools, it has become a powerful tool for communicating with parents, sharing information about pupils and their work, and involving families in the day-to-day life of the school. Using popular apps like Facebook and Twitter allows schools to meet parents ‘where they are’ in real-time, making it much easier for both parties to share time-sensitive information and bridge the gap between school and home.
But while our social media age has brought many benefits, it’s not all roses and smiley-face emojis. There are limits to how much schools can (and should) rely on these platforms to communicate clearly, continuously, and effectively - and these drawbacks can actually become a barrier to parental engagement and involvement.
Engaged parents make all the difference in a child’s educational attainment and wellbeing. So, how can schools harness the best features of social media communications – two-way interactions, user-friendly newsfeeds and all – without any of the pitfalls?
The problem with current platforms
Social media is a fickle friend. As different apps rise and fall in popularity, parents can all too quickly ditch old favourites in favour of a range of new platforms. And with the market becoming ever-more crowded, it can be hard for schools to know how to direct their communications efforts to reach as many parents as possible.
What’s more, a quick ‘like’ or share of a photo on a school’s Instagram page does not constitute parental engagement. Schools cannot use these platforms to measure or track the extent to which a parent is actively involved in their child’s education.
There’s also time and resources for schools to consider. Previously, sending a message to parents involved typing it into in your communication system and hitting ‘send’. Now, in addition, multiple social media accounts need to be updated - as well as your website newsfeed.
Parents’ groups on social media can be great for helping families to network and stay connected to the classroom. But class chats can also be hotbeds of misinformation, and the vast number of communication channels out there makes it very hard for schools to monitor issues that are being discussed by parents. This lack of visibility and transparency can hinder parental engagement – and could even pit parents against school staff.
An overreliance on social media platforms for school communications also excludes some families. Not every parent uses Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram – and some studies have uncovered a correlation between social media networks and structural factors such as social class. Schools need a communications tool that acts as a leveller in terms of reaching and engaging all parents, regardless of their background, personal circumstances, and social media habits.
Best of all worlds
Here at Weduc, we have taken the very best aspects of social media platforms – the ones that drive parental engagement and collaboration – and turned them into a powerful, safe, and streamlined school communications tool.
Designed to ‘reach more parents’ whilst minimising the time and resources involved in parental communications, schools can enter a message just once and publish it to multiple social channels and the school website - as well as via its parent app.
The ReachMoreParents platform offers unlimited free in-app messaging with optional two-way functionality, all within a single app that supports seamless interactions between home and school – any time, anyway, anywhere. With an intuitive social media-style newsfeed and the option to allow likes and comments, parents can engage with the school in a way that’s comfortable, convenient, and accessible, while the school maintains full control over its communications and processes. Schools can even track engagement and responses, retargeting people when necessary to ensure that all parents can become active partners in their child’s educational journey.
Free from Facebook politics and WhatsApp worries, schools are using ReachMoreParents to simplify and enhance communications – and parents love it! Find out more here.