1. Consistency: Staying on Brand
One of the most common mistakes we see organisations making on social media is not sticking to brand guidelines in the graphics that they post. This can mean taking general graphics from the internet or trying to make their own branded graphics which don’t fully meet the guidelines. These approaches can make posts appear inconsistent and affect the external image of the organisation. Although using other organisations’ graphics can be appropriate in some situations, using generic content from the internet is usually not.
Sticking to a consistent brand in all external communications – whether that’s on social media or in key documents such as prospectuses – is essential for maintaining a recognisable and professional image. At Engaging Education, we support our partners with this by creating branded social media assets for posts such as Open Evening campaigns, national holidays and general promotion. We can also provide graphics which are more flexible, allowing our partners to insert their own text and images into branded templates. This support helps academies and Trusts to be immediately recognisable with consistently on-brand content.
2. Accuracy: Avoiding Errors
Another essential way of portraying a professional image through social media is by ensuring that all posts are accurate in terms of spelling and grammar. A typo on an outdoor banner at your academy would understandably be perceived negatively by the community, and social media is no different!
While posts on some platforms (such as Instagram) can be edited after they go out, it is important to remember that tweets cannot, and posts would have to be deleted and reposted to amend errors. So, it’s really important to check everything thoroughly before it goes out. Errors in posts can be easily avoided by typing into a word document first, or by using online spelling and grammar checkers.
Our Digital Team supports our partners by accessing their social media accounts and posting on their behalf. While these organisations still have access to their accounts and can post as well, allowing us to support in scheduling posts gives extra reassurance that posts are high quality and accurate.
3. Engagement: Connecting with Your Community
Social media platforms are one of the most reactive forms of communication with key stakeholders – primarily parents. Whilst regular newsletters and website updates are great ways of communicating with parents, social media posts give them the opportunity to see what their child and the academy in general has been up to. Parents can also like, comment on and share posts, creating more of a conversation within the community and making social media different to other, more one-way forms of communication.
To encourage engagement on your social media platforms, we recommend including graphics or images with each post, using relevant hashtags, and tagging any accounts mentioned. For example, if you are tweeting from the Reception class Twitter account, make sure you tag the main school account too! Again, providing access to your social media accounts allows the Digital Team to directly support with this. We also offer tailored social media training to our clients, providing more detailed and specific guidelines regarding what and how to post for maximum effect.
4. A Note for Multi Academy Trusts
Although the points above are relevant to both academies and MATs, there are other considerations which MATs should be thinking about when planning their own social media strategies. Social media can be an invaluable tool in communicating work going across the MAT, demonstrating consistency and unity with all partner academies and demonstrating your Trust’s readiness for growth.
The Department for Education’s 2021 MAT Assurance Framework outlines six key areas in which MATs are assessed: Vision, culture and ethos; People and partners; Teaching and learning; Curriculum and assessment; Quality assurance and accountability; and Governance capability.
We work with our partner MATs to showcase the ways in which their work aligns with this framework. This includes planning effective long-term social campaigns to highlight the Trust’s readiness for growth through graphics, images and film content. Members of our team have worked not just in education marketing but in the education sector itself (including in senior positions in MATs), putting us in the best position to support our partners to achieve their long-term goals.