Social Media Strategy

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1 Social Media Strategy

2 Tonbridge School Social Media Strategy We believe social media is important to the school and its communications. Tonbridge School should share messages about academic excellence, co-curricular breadth and depth, pastoral excellence and social responsibility with its many audiences. The use of social media is essential to do this effectively in the present day. The school wishes to reach a range of diverse audiences. These include, but are not limited to; parents, prospective parents, boys, the education and independent school community, the local community, Old Tonbridgians, the Parents Arts Society and staff. Many of these groups will be using social media and expect to consume at least some of their information in this format. Social media is a conversational medium and Tonbridge School will look to use it as such. By speaking to our audiences and listening to feedback, we can improve on the excellent work we already do. In summary, we will use social media to; *Amplify our communications and make them timely. *Provide a source of exposure to the work that takes place at Tonbridge School, particularly highlighting our academic excellence, co-curricular breadth and depth, pastoral excellence and social responsibility. *Have direct, two-way engagement with our audiences. *Gain insight into what our audiences think we could or should be doing. Tonbridge School does have a presence on social media, but this limited footprint has been created by others. The school should look to take control of its social media messaging and be proactive in using this technology It is inevitable that many boys at the school will be using social media. By using it well, Tonbridge School will set a good example for them to follow. It also provides another avenue through which they and their parents can access school information. Social media is not intended to replace the Parents Portal. Due to its nature, social media can only provide brief amounts of information. Therefore it should be considered a complementary service to the portal which can highlight certain issues. Parents should still be encouraged to use the portal for comprehensive information on the school. As our experience in using social media grows, we might look to use a variety of more advanced websites, groups and functions. However, it is best to start with the most commonly used sites and then review our early experiences. It is important Tonbridge School has a presence on the following social media platforms;

3 Facebook Facebook is currently the most popular social networking site on the planet. Users add friends and send them messages. They update their personal profiles with a variety of media to tell friends about themselves. They can also receive updates from company pages run by businesses, charities and other organisations. *Facebook has over 1 billion users worldwide. *The average user spends more than 55 minutes a day on Facebook. *The average user has 130 friends. Tonbridge School will use Facebook to post news, images and video and to engage with our many audiences. Facebook has the potential to be used as a powerful direct marketing and advertising tool. Twitter Twitter is a free micro-blogging service. Users can send messages known as tweets of up to 140 characters displayed on their own page and delivered to their subscribers or followers. They can also link to other media including websites, videos and images. Users can send and receive Tweets through a variety of other devices and software applications. *Twitter has 500 million users worldwide. Tonbridge School will use Twitter to share information with people who are interested in our work, build relationships with our partners and the community and to seek real time feedback on our activities and actions. LinkedIn LinkedIn is a social networking site designed specifically for the business community. The goal of the site is to allow registered members to establish and document networks of people they know and trust professionally. When researching the school on the internet, people may find the profiles of Tonbridge School staff who have chosen to create a LinkedIn account. Potential customers using LinkedIn in their own careers may also encounter school staff. It is therefore important that Tonbridge School staff on LinkedIn are encouraged to have updated profiles in order to reflect well upon the school. Strong LinkedIn profiles will also reinforce their professional expertise, thus potentially becoming a strong marketing tool for the school. YouTube YouTube is a free video-hosting website that allows members to store and serve video content. YouTube members and website visitors can share YouTube videos on a variety of web platforms by using a link or by embedding HTML code.

4 Tonbridge School creates videos to promote its key messages and they will find a large audience through YouTube. They can also be connected to other, unofficial videos that show the school in a positive light. By creating a Tonbridge School channel, anyone interested in finding out more about school can be pointed to a selection of videos stored in one place. Other social media platforms such as Google+, Pinterest etc. can be looked into by the school in due course, depending on the initial success of these channels and whether these additional platforms will be of any strategic benefit. Currently they have far fewer users than the platforms chosen for our initial social media work, so their usage is of limited benefit for now. In summary, we propose the school creates an official Facebook account, Twitter account, YouTube channel and encourages staff to update their LinkedIn profiles if they have one. Where there is significant interest in certain aspects of school life, it may, in time, be beneficial for these areas to have their own social media accounts. It is recommended the school creates single, generic accounts, until our social media presence is established. We will then take a view on the value of separate accounts for school departments, groups or interests. The final decision on granting new accounts belongs to the headmaster. The EM Forster Theatre and Tonbridge School Centre already possess Twitter accounts. They will discuss with the Head of Communications how they can make these more effective and tiein with the new school accounts. Additional training can be sourced if necessary. Day to day management of the accounts will remain with their marketing staff, with the Head of Communications providing advice and guidance where necessary. It may be the Parents Arts Society and Old Tonbridgian Society feel they require their own social media pages. This might be a good idea and can be assessed in future, but in the early stages of establishing Tonbridge School s presence in social media it runs the risk of splitting potential audiences and reducing or confusing followers. For the time being, it would be better if they used the school s general social media accounts, but both would hold a strong say in what information the school posts for them. We will actively support their goals, objectives and messaging through the general school social media channels. To conclude, the school s initial key accounts will be: *Tonbridge School Facebook page- managed by the Head of Communications and, if necessary, staff under his direct supervision. *Tonbridge School Twitter account managed by the Head of Communications and, if necessary, staff under his direct supervision. *You Tube Channel managed by the Head of Communications.

5 *Staff LinkedIn accounts staff with LinkedIn accounts should be encouraged to use them correctly and given training if necessary. *EM Forster Theatre Twitter account managed and updated by the theatre marketing team, with the Head of Communications providing advice and guidance as required. *Tonbridge School Centre Twitter account managed and updated by the centre marketing team, with the Head of Communications providing advice and guidance as required. Guidelines for using social media Tonbridge School s overarching social media feeds will be managed by the communications team. However, as we have detailed above, some accounts may be managed by other staff with communications staff acting to oversee their work. The EM Forster Theatre and Tonbridge School Centre are the obvious examples for the time being, but more may follow in future if appropriate. Therefore this top-line guidance has been produced for their use. Staff using social media will also be provided with the training they require to get the most from the medium. *If you want to set up a social media presence in the name of Tonbridge School you must first contact the Head of Communications who will discuss the proposal with you. Final approval will be given by the Headmaster. *Always be transparent. When communicating on social media say who you are and who you work for. Be genuine. *The tone of social media tends to be more informal than letter writing or even s. It is fine to adopt this friendly tone, but be aware parents and others expect certain standards of the school so don t slip into bad habits of using slang, poor grammar, poor spelling or text speak. *Be yourself. Readers can see through marketing talk. Be passionate about what you do and reflect it in posts. *Post often. People will have no reason to follow or like you if they can t expect new content regularly. That doesn t mean you have to post throughout the day, but a steady stream of posts is far better than posting something and then leaving the site for a few weeks. *Add value. Share your insights and tips. People will follow you if you are worth listening to. * The best social media accounts are two-way. Sometimes post questions. Make sure you respond to feedback, even if it s just to thank people. *Tell people when they can expect a response. It is unlikely your social media account will be monitored 24 hours a day, so keep a regular time slot for responding to posts. *Link to other blogs, websites, pictures and video. Posts with added content are far more popular than standard text. Show a picture or video of what you are talking about, if applicable. Be aware that sharing media from others can imply endorsement.

6 *Enjoy using social media. If you aren t enjoying it, people will notice and won t enjoy interacting with you. Social media FAQs What are the benefits of social media? Thousands of people from our target audiences are using social media to exchange information, learn and share ideas. Some of them are even talking about Tonbridge School, but we aren t part of the conversation at the moment. Social media should be integral to our approach to communications and we should recognise it is where many of the people who want to get in touch and talk about Tonbridge School prefer to do so. What is our vision for social media at Tonbridge School? Social media should become an important part of Tonbridge School s work. We want to join in with the conversation instead of watching from the sidelines. Social media should allow us to reach more people, more often and gain a valuable insight into what they think about the school. Anyone who wants to converse with Tonbridge School via social media should be able to do so, just as they can by telephone, letter or . Social media will not replace other forms of communication immediately. It may over the long term, but nobody can predict this with any certainty. What we do know is; just like letters, s, telephone calls and text messages, social media is a popular way for people to communicate and, for some individuals, their preferred method of communication. Therefore, the school should respond to this change in the way people converse and exchange information. How should the school communicate using social media? There is no need for Tonbridge School to communicate differently to other mediums - social media is just another channel. When sending messages using social media, the person responsible may find it useful to ask the following questions: *Would I actually say this in person? *Am I clear on who the audience is and why this will interest them? *Will people understand this? *Am I trying to engage with people or merely broadcasting? What is it safe to say on social media? Again, social media shouldn t be treated any differently from other forms of communication. If the school wouldn t say it in a telephone call, or letter, then we shouldn t be saying it on social media. Information should be fair, accurate and unbiased. Key questions to ask are;

7 *Would the school be comfortable if the statement appeared in a newspaper or on the television or radio? *Could the comment provoke an adverse reaction from people reading it? *Does the poster have the rights and permission to communicate the information to the public? Staff displinary matters with regards to social media will be dealt with under existing Tonbridge School personnel policies. The same standards of behaviour the school would expect in talking to people face-to-face, by phone, or letter should be applied to social media. We insist that the following editorial principles are followed: There should be no attempt to humiliate or belittle any member of the school community. There should be no attempt to undermine or harm the reputation of Tonbridge School. There should be no gratuitous use of foul and abusive language. There should be no gratuitous violence. There should be nothing which could be construed as racist, homophobic, sexist or as an attempt to malign any minority group. Social media and the boys Should boys contact the school through its social media accounts, they will be issued with a factual response to straightforward questions (e.g. what time is kick-off? etc.) where appropriate. Conversations will not be entered into on non-school matters, but staff using social media will be made aware of their child protection duties and responsibilities. School related enquiries that go beyond simple, factual responses or questions the account holder does not know the answer to, will be met with a request for a boy to approach the relevant member of staff or housemaster. The school will not intentionally follow or like the social media accounts of its boys, although boys are obviously free to follow or like the school accounts for information purposes. The exception to this is departmental (i.e. not personal) Twitter accounts, where mutual 'following' may be appropriate for sharing resources. If staff become aware of any child protection issues raised through Tonbridge School s social media channels, they should immediately report them to the Second Master. If the school rules are breached by boys through the use of social media (see our Emerging Technologies and use of New Media Policy for further guidance), boys may face sanction through either the Second Master or Headmaster.

8 Personal use of social media Personal accounts will only be of concern if they mention Tonbridge School or its staff or boys in a derogatory or inappropriate manner or if they are used in such a way to be contrary to school policies. Staff should not access personal social media via the school network without permission - academic staff should seek this from the Second Master and support staff should speak to the Head of Communications, in the first instance. However, if staff want to help promote the school through their own social media accounts by sharing our postings and messages, outside of school time or on their own devices, we will encourage them to do so. Guidance for boys and staff on their personal use of social media and accessing it within school hours can be found in our Emerging Technologies and use of New Media Policy. Breaches of this policy will be taken seriously and dealt with by the Second Master or Headmaster. Evaluation Measures of success need to be created to show the value of Tonbridge School s investment in social media. It is also important to have a timetable of delivery. The following is suggested; *The creation of a Tonbridge School Facebook account by October 31, 2013, with an average of five posts per week. A target of 200 likes by the end of the summer term. *The creation of a Tonbridge School Twitter account with an average of one post per day by October 31, A target of 500 followers within a year of its creation. *Current users to be social media trained and receive guidance on using the platform by the end of October *Headmaster, Second Master and Head of Communications to take a view on requests for independent, departmental use of social media sites, once the school s own general feeds have become well established. *A monthly summary of the social media analytics (reach, conversations, followers) to be provided to the Headmaster from January *Staff using LinkedIn to have training and advice on its use made available by January *Full review of Tonbridge School s social media strategy and recommendations to follow in October 2014.

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