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3 Questions to Ask Before Expanding Your Social Media Platforms

🎵 ‘Cause we’re living in a social media world, and we are social media people. 🎵

Ok, so it doesn’t have the same ring as Madonna’s version (Material Girl), but the point remains. Our world is driven by social media. From connecting with friends to shopping from targeted ads, social media is the place where we flock to feel part of a community, learn something new, and conduct daily tasks in life. 

As communicators, we may be more plugged into the social media scene than others. Maybe we read about new social platforms like BeReal (or more realistically, maybe we saw it on an SNL skit and then looked it up after), or we are more aware of TikTok challenges due to the nature of our work. School communicators are also continually seeking new platforms and strategies to reach audiences, build a brand, and collect feedback. 

With so many social media platforms and a desire to connect, it can be tough to know when to use a new platform and how to use it effectively. Remember, there was once a time when school communicators asked themselves if they should be using Facebook! 

We ask the same questions at CEL and have compiled a list of items to consider when deciding to expand your school communications to new social media platforms. 

Match Objectives with Social Media Platforms

What are you hoping to accomplish with social media and how might a new platform help you reach your objectives? Are you looking to build brand awareness or increase enrollment with a new campaign? Write down your answers and compare them with the strengths of a social media platform. 

For example, if an objective is to boost awareness for your music and art programs, Twitter (whose strength is immediacy and news relevant) may not be the right platform for that content, but Instagram could be. If you want to recruit staff, LinkedIn may match better than Facebook. 

      • Facebook – typically the largest audience base out of all platforms if you are looking to connect with parents and provide updates There are multiple opportunities to connect from your page, to google groups and then boosting ads. 
      • Twitter – quick bits of information and immediate.
      • Instagram – Easy engagement platform that shows your students, teachers, and brand in action. 
      • TikTok – The sheer amount of time that users spend on TikTok and ease of sharing content with other users. 
      • LinkedIn – the go-to social media platform for professionals, job boards for recruiting, and industry news. 
      • BeReal – The newest ‘trend’ in social media platforms. 
      • YouTube – A search engine giant that boosts your Google rank and share your story visually. 
      • Snapchat – young demographic connections or events. 

Once you have identified a platform for your objectives, you may identify the need for a new channel. 

Is Your Audience on New Platforms?

Once you have connected platforms with objectives, it’s important to find out if your target audience is spending time on them. An online survey, focus groups, and classroom questionnaires can give answers to where your audience spends their time and how they prefer to communicate. It’s also important to consider other audiences, such as community partners or potential staff. 

Create an audience profile or persona and match which social media platform connects with each audience. 

Is the Potential Return on Investment Worth the Time to Manage the Platform?

So, you’ve identified your objectives, found where your audience is, and now you’re ready to implement a new social media platform. But, there’s just one more question to ask yourself: is it worth the time you will invest in content and management?

Will you need to create videos? Spend time editing photos or designing content? If so, how many hours are required and will that time see a return on its investment? 

It will be important to project the time and resources needed to join a new platform and develop evaluation metrics to track its continued success and return on investment. 

We love to encourage innovation and expansion of communication channels – but it should be strategic and impactful, and reward your work and investment. As new social media platforms emerge, we hope these tips continue to guide your communication efforts, as they will guide ours at CEL!

Published on: November 29, 2022