How To Start Using Twitter For Your School | Creating School Account On Twitter

January

11

24 comments

How can 500 million people be wrong? According to Wikipedia, Twitter‘s membership growth is staggering as well as it’s usage – Twitter generates 340 million tweets a day and handles over 1.6 billion search queries a day. If your school doesn’t have a presence on Twitter, they should, and I’d like to offer a blueprint on how to start using Twitter for your school.

As you begin to use Twitter for your school, remember that its use should be part of the larger goal of your school’s use of social media. At my school, we use social media as part of our inbound marketing strategy and to a lesser degree as a tool to help with student retention.

1. Reserve a Twitter ID for your school

Even if you’re brand new to Twitter, and have no idea how to use this social media channel, your first step should be to reserve a Twitter ID for your school. This is a very important step and choose your school’s Twitter ID carefully because you can’t change the name once you’ve selected it. Here are some things to think about as you select a name:

  1. Your school’s Twitter ID will be limited to 15 characters.
  2. As you select a name think of your branding and how you want your school to be known. If your formal school name is longer than 15 characters is there a shorter name or nickname how your school is known.
  3. I would recommend that you don’t use any special characters or spaces.

2. Personalize Your Twitter Profile

Nothing is more unprofessional than a Twitter account with the default egg profile photo. After you create your account, you’ll need to personalize your profile. Here is a list of things you should complete:

  1. Upload a profile picture. I would suggest that you upload your school logo, school seal, or even a well-known image of the school.
  2. Enter the school name, location, and school’s website.
  3. Complete the bio section with a general description of your school.
  4. Navigate to the Design section and select a solid background color that is one of your school’s colors. Don’t worry about customizing your Twitter background image. You can do that later after you are more comfortable using Twitter.

Check out my school‘s Twitter profile: https://twitter.com/sewickley

3. Create a Twitter Account for Yourself

Now that you’ve completed Steps 1 & 2, I would highly recommend that you create a Twitter account for yourself. I think it is very important for you to have a personal account through which to experiment with Twitter. I did this because my thinking was that if made a mistake with my own Twitter account it would only reflect on me and not on my school. After you create your personal account complete Steps 1 & 2 for your account.

4. Begin Listening

I’ve written before that the first step in using any social media channel is to begin by listening. I hope that through listening you will learn about Twitter through participating. To begin listening you should begin following other schools and people on Twitter through your personal account:

  1. I would recommend you follow these people: 101 People You Should Follow on Twitter via edSocialMedia and 118 Education People to Follow on Twitter via Blackbaud K12.
  2. I would also suggest that you follow many different schools to see how they are using Twitter. Make sure to follow your competitor schools as well as this list of independent schools on Twitter by William Stites.
  3. Finally, I would also suggest you follow some of your favorite celebrities or sports teams for a little fun.

5. Participate Personally

After you’ve listened for a while and gained a better appreciation of how people use Twitter it is time for you to tweet personally. As you begin to think about information to tweet DO NOT answer the question, “What am I doing?” but rather answer the question, “What do I find interesting?”

People really don’t want to know what you ate for breakfast. Rather, they would like to know what website, blog, newspaper article, photo, YouTube Video, or TED talk that you just finished reading/watching.

As you tweet information experiment with the days, times, and information that you tweet. See which earns the most retweets and engagement. You can use a tool like Hootsuite to help you with tracking this information.

6. Participate For Your School

After you’ve sent at least 100 tweets, you’ll be ready to begin tweeting using your school’s account. Remember, Twitter is part of your inbound marketing strategy and as such, you should tweet information that people will find helpful and interesting. As you begin to search for content to tweet for your school, please read: 21 Ways Independent Schools Can Use Twitter. Remember to experiment and track your tweets in order to determine the best times and days to tweet information.

7. Promote Your School’s Twitter Account

After you have tweeted at least 50 times for your school your ready to being promoting your school’s Twitter account. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Put links to your Twitter account on your homepage, blog, and school’s Facebook account.
  2. Put links to your Twitter account in your email signature.
  3. Promote your Twitter account in your school’s newsletters and parent communications.
  4. Put posters up around school announcing your Twitter account.

Now Get To Work

I encourage you to begin this process as soon as possible, and I’d love to see your new Twitter account. After you’ve created the account, please let me know by posting the account name in the comments below or by tweeting mine at @SchneiderB. Good luck!

How To Start Using Twitter For Your School

  • This is a great article. I can’t wait to put some of your suggestions into works for next school year. I am preparing our account over the summer.

  • I like your recommendations. What sort of precautions do you take so student identities are protected? Do you ask parents for waivers?

  • […] After you receive your invite follow the directions in the email to create your school’s Pinterest account. We will need to sign-up using a Twitter or Facebook account. I recommend that you use your school’s Twitter account. If your school does not have a Twitter account please check out my post about using twitter for your school. […]

  • Good general social/twitter guidelines. However, my concern is about having teachers focusing a part of their day on another new technology that they are unfamiliar with to satisfy the copter-parents. Teachers say classroom sizes are too big and then we add another distraction. So the overall effect might be that parents get to be more integrated in the learning process and might open up more dialogue at home about school. It might also make students have more fun in seeing/sharing the pics online. However, have you ever been at a party when the phones come out and people’s faces are all of the sudden in the screens instead of in a real conversation with others around them? Humans take things to far and pushing devices into the classroom can be just as dividing as a party full of smart phones. There is a delicate balance with this technology. Social media and devices that capture the “moment” all keep you from the actual moment…let’s just be careful that teachers aren’t sucked into the black-hole of social media.

  • I’m finding your site incredibly educational, and really appreciate your straightforward, basic information. I teach [graphic design] at a post-secondary technical school and my director wants me to set up Twitter and Instagram accounts to help increase enrollment. I have only ever used FB and Pinterest (personally). Our school is primarily young adults, but even so we are very careful to protect student privacy. Less seems to be available on protecting teacher’s privacy. It is very easy in this age of using social media for students to ruin professional and personal reputations with negative or even untrue comments. My goals are strictly to use these social medias for marketing purposes, so I would appreciate any advice you have. Thanks in advance!

  • hi i am starting a twitter page for our school district for positivity. my main concern is how students can post. its all about confidentiality and i would love them to post their ideas and comment, should they post anonymous or should we view all comments before they are able post actually post them? but that might take a while? any advise? please email me

  • Hi Kiersten,
    Great question and I have a few questions for you. Do you think that Twitter is the best social media channel to achieve your goal or would another channel be better? Instagram, perhaps?

    I also wonder who your intended audience is and whether Twitter is the best way to reach them? Just a question for your to think about.

    The other questions are good ones about privacy, and if you have students use Twitter they will lose their privacy, and I’m not sure how to have them participate on Twitter without doing so.

    You might want to post this question in the SchneiderB University Facebook group and see if the community can offer ideas?

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/schneiderb/

    Thanks,
    Brendan

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