Palm Beach County (Fla.) School District is the latest district to take its social media accounts to the next level. The district is launching its own Facebook and Twitter accounts, which will represent the district as a whole as opposed to individual teachers or administrators. The district’s public affairs department will run the operation, coinciding with a growing trend nationwide to emphasize social media.
And while hiring dedicated social media managers is commonplace in the private sector, it’s rarely seen in school districts. But earlier this year, Los Angeles Unified School District became the first school district to hire a social media manager. “Very often [Twitter and Facebook] accounts in school districts aren’t very active and don’t respond to feedback from parents, and they have such a poor impact is due to the lack of a dedicated social media person,” says Stephanie Abrams, LAUSD’s new social media director.
Abrams, a former news anchor who is earning slightly under $90,000 in her new role, contributes to a weekly broadcast that airs on the district’s YouTube channel and establishes blogs for district departments. “Having those accounts means nothing without feeding them with fresh and important information and engaging with the community by responding to comments, questions, and tweets in a timely manner,” she says.
And public engagement has shot up. The district launched a social media survey in June and received nearly 5,000 responses—a large response. The district’s Facebook “likes” have gone up by nearly 2,000, and the district’s Twitter account has had 1,000 new followers.