Today's guest post is by Chris Piedmont, College of Charleston '14, Communication Major and PRSSA President.
Many Repman readers have trained business executives in social media, but how many of you have done so with high school and grammar school principals and administrators? During my winter break from the College of Charleston, I was able to do exactly this with many of the school administrators in Berkeley County School District in Berkeley County, SC. The County recently decided to give each school the option of having their own social media presence on Facebook. Having interned in the Communications Department over the summer, I was given the opportunity to conduct the training sessions.
Throughout training, I was surprised that teachers share many of the same concerns about social media as CEOs do: the loss of control, perceived time consumption, etc. Although almost every one of the administrators I interacted with shared the same or similar concerns, at the end of each training session almost all of them chose to go forward with launching their own Facebook pages. We showed them how to make things as easy as possible for posting, monitoring, etc. and after seeing these suggestions and tips it helped quell many of their concerns (although they were certainly not eliminated).
One of the biggest fear and concern that was continuously expressed among the administration within each school and the District as a whole, was the perception that Facebook and social media would muddy the waters between their personal and professional lives. Each Facebook page has a section in the “Terms of Engagement” that specifically addresses this concern by stating that parents and students shouldn’t be offended if a school district employee didn’t accept a friend request, but we also came up with an additional way to help address this concern-Buster Berkeley.
Buster Berkeley is the official mascot for Berkeley County School District and he travels around to the various schools, departments, offices, and events that go on throughout the school district and then shares his adventures with the community on his Facebook page. Buster’s Facebook posts are done not only by the communications staff but also the Cabinet and senior level officials within the District and is used as a way for them to get involved with the District’s social media efforts without connecting, in any way, with their own personal profiles.
Whether your client is a CEO, school administrator or a member of the community we all share the same concerns and fears about our social media interactions. That apprehension is a blessing and makes us more alert, focused, always posting with specific intent. That apprehension is a blessing and makes us more alert, focused, and intentional with exactly what we post online. Perhaps you can employ a similar tactic to Buster Berkeley to get apprehensive clients to take the plunge into the scary, but oh so important world of social media.
Best of luck, Repman readers!