Three-year contract will cost $8,500 per year.
A company that specializes in managing school districts' social media communications is going to do just that for the Crookston School District, after the school board this week unanimously approved entering into a three-year contract with SocialSchool4EDU that will cost the district $8,500 per year. The district has the option of opting out of the contract anytime during the first year, penalty free, Superintendent Jeremy Olson said.
Olson and district leaders have been meeting with SocialSchool4EDU for a couple of months, and Olson has been keeping the board updated on what the company would be able to offer. Monday, company founder Andrea Gribble made her final pitch via Google Hangouts. In her pitch, Gribble said her company was born in 2014 with one client, a small school district in Wisconsin, and today serves approximately 85 districts nationwide, but mostly in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Olson, who’s also working with the school district website vendor on some changes he’d like to see there, said it’s critically important that the good things happening in the school district are showcased in a way that generates a positive reaction among a wider audience. If paying an expert in the field to help make that happen is necessary, for now at least Olson said he thinks it’s worth the investment.
“On social media, it’s about how we go about things. How can we communicate better with our parents and families?” Olson said. “The idea is to drive engagement with our patrons and make sure that our message is not just cohesive, but that it highlights the positives.”
Saying there’s “a lot of noise out there” in social media land, Gribble said that for her clients, “It’s about celebrating your school one video at a time, one story at a time. We know great things are happening in Crookston and that you have a lot of pride. You just have to get those stories out there.”
SocialSchoolforEDU has a staff of 27, and Gribble said a staff member will be assigned to the Crookston district.
There is room for improvement, Gribble said, noting that she perused some Facebook posts on the local school district’s page and, compared to districts her company works with, the “engagement was very low.”
The idea, she said, is to post content that compels visitors to react with comments, likes and/or shares, something that spreads the “consistent celebrations of what’s going on in your classrooms.”
An email account will be set up for the SocialSchool4EDU “account manager” assigned to Crookston, Gribble explained, and staff in Crookston’s schools will be encouraged to send content to the account manager for social media posting.
In the event of an emergency or weather-related situation that requires particular immediacy, Gribble said district leaders will be able to post social media content on their own. But, otherwise, SocialSchool4EDU will run the school district’s social media operation.
And if there are negative comments/responses to Facebook posts? Gribble said a commenting policy/guidelines will be put in place that will include “zero tolerance” for cyber-bullying or any “attacks” on staff or students. Every time any comment is posted, she said, the company receives a notification.