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Using Surveys and Social Media to Increase Parent Engagement

Using Surveys and Social Media to Increase Parent Engagement

So now that you are back into the swing of things at school, I'm sure you have a plan in place to actively engage your parents in what's going on in your school or within your classroom.

So now that you are back into the swing of things at school, I'm sure you have a plan in place to actively engage your parents in what's going on in your school or within your classroom. But does your plan incorporate parents' communication preferences, including various social media platforms? And are you using more than one outlet to communicate information to them? One thing I always recommend is at the beginning of each school year, create a simple survey using a Google form to find out their communication preferences. Keeping it short means more parents are likely to fill out the survey, and it's easier to do so on any kind of device.

We have seen great success with educators integrating social media into their communication toolboxes. These increasingly popular tools can be very powerful in engaging parents. Why? Because while not every parent may have internet access at home, most parents do have smartphones, and I guarantee you they're checking Facebook and other social media throughout the day and evening! So as they say, meet them where they are, and incorporate social media into your communication strategy.

But knowing what tools to use is exactly why you want to send the survey in the first place. Case in point: there's no reason to create an Instagram account to share fun learning moments if none of your parents are using the tool! Use your survey results to find out what the majority are using and add those to your repertoire.

Please note: this doesn't mean that you have to use every tool out there; instead, pick 2-3 that are commonly used among your parents, and use those to highlight great things going on, announce important upcoming events, remind about Friday's quiz, etc. Sure, you probably won't reach everyone, but that's okay. Be consistent, remind parents what tools you are using so they know what to check and don't beat yourself up if you aren't getting 100% participation. And remember: with social media, you can often link accounts so that you are not duplicating efforts and wasting your precious time. For example, go to www.facebook.com/twitter to link your Facebook to your Twitter account so that every time you post on FB, the same post is created on Twitter. Two birds, one stone!

If you need any assistance with using social media or creating a survey with Google forms, I am happy to help.

Sarah Julian

Director, Communications

Sarah serves as the Director of Communications for the OPSRC. In this role, she provides support, consultation and training on a variety of critical tools and PR functions, including communication plans, social media policies, crisis communications, media relations and website content.

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