Allerton Hill Blog

for industry news, case studies, new media & communications strategies

Category: Social Media

Marketing battle: Schools pull out stops to win students

April 3, 2017

TrustED (blog) by Todd Kominiak

Last week, a lawsuit brought by public school parents in Nashville, Tenn., against an area charter school network received class-action status.

According to News Channel 5, the lawsuit accuses RePublic Schools Nashville of spamming local parents with text messages aimed at siphoning students from Nashville Metro Public Schools to the company’s for-profit charter school network.

In total, close to 4,000 parents received the texts. Attorneys representing aggrieved parents are now seeking $1,500 in damages for each message.

It remains to be seen whether the parents will win their legal battle. Either way, the story shines a light on a reality that many public leaders suddenly face: Competition from charter schools, private vouchers, and other alternatives is real. And many of these schools are investing in marketing to attract families.

Joel Gagne is president of Allerton Hill Consulting, a marketing firm that contracts with public schools. His take: Public schools need to step up their game if they want to compete with other providers. “K12 leaders have to adopt the mentality that they are competing for these students. And they must understand that this is no longer a fair fight.

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Posted in Allerton Hill News, Campaigns, Community Outreach, Education, Issues Facing Schools Today, Policy, Social Media, Strategies
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February Newsletter: Efficiency vs Effectiveness

February 6, 2017

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Posted in Community Outreach, Social Media, Strategies
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Digital Spotlight: Streamlining Communication

February 2, 2017

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Posted in Social Media, Technology
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Create Once Publish… Enthusiastically

February 1, 2017

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Posted in Social Media, Strategies

Trending Topics that Talk Real Issues

Can schools talk about controversial topics on social media? Allerton Hill Consulting talks about social media in a real world

July 26, 2016

Last year when Starbucks announced its #RaceTogether initiative, the backlash was quick and relentless. The idea of having authentic conversations about race relations between Starbucks baristas and customers appeared to be contrived, a publicity stunt and an elitist, narrow-minded, savior-complex way of approaching a serious and complicated issue that requires the voices of people who aren’t spending $4 on a latte each day. The initiative was considered by most to be a failure and as public relations experts rehashed what went wrong, it was a clear that no matter how well intentioned the Starbucks initiative, there remained a disconnect in delivery, execution and tone.

So how do we talk about serious issues in this coffee-to-go, Twitter-feed world? Or should we even try? Is it possible to talk about race, class, gender and sexual orientation in a real way on a Facebook timeline or in a podcast? How do you balance speed with substance?

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Posted in Community Outreach, Leadership, Social Media
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From the Podcast: Summer Communication

July 13, 2016

This week’s show deals with communicating during the summer and how to stay in touch with all the stakeholders in your community. Summer isn’t a sleepy time to cut off communication, but an opportunity to engage, inform and tell your story.

To SUBSCRIBE to our podcast via iTunes, click here.

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Posted in Community Outreach, Podcast, Social Media

Communicating Confidence

June 17, 2016

When a crisis occurs in a school district, it is essential that calm be restored as quickly as possible.  That happens more easily if stakeholders have confidence in school leadership. However, that confidence must be present not only after a crisis has been resolved, but also before and during a crisis. It can be built and reinforced through a targeted communications strategy.

The first step is to determine whether your district has a “confidence gap.”  A simple survey of students, staff, parents and the community will determine whether your stakeholders believe your district can handle a crisis. Note that a crisis can range from a disabled furnace during a cold snap or an expensive lawsuit, to school violence or an unexpected death.  Each requires a unique set of leadership skills.  Any survey must account for that.

While your public may believe the district can repair a furnace, for example, they may not agree that the district is capable of handling school violence.  Use the information collected from the survey to develop a communications plan for building, reinforcing, or restoring confidence.  Special attention should be given to those areas in which stakeholders have the least confidence.

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Posted in Community Outreach, Education, Policy, Social Media
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Original Content Is King

May 20, 2016

We’ve talked about where to find free images to use in social media and on your website, but sometimes the only image that will do is YOUR image. Having a readily available folder of professionally taken photos whose subjects span the variety of academic opportunities and extracurricular activities your districts offer is key. Use the photos to accompany posts promoting upcoming events and campaigns and to drive the emotional story of your school’s outreach.

Creating content daily doesn’t mean taking photos daily. Setting aside a week once or twice a year to focus on taking a stockpile of photos around the school is a great start. I suggest using a photo storage system that allows you to add multiple tags to to each photo to be able to find an appropriate photo quickly. Adding text to an image to add context and highlight one key message can be a good way to recycle images and to create instant connections. This will allow you to focus your creative design efforts on creating graphics for complex concepts and bigger picture campaigns.

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Posted in Social Media, Technology
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Finding Images to Use in Social Media & on Your Website

May 18, 2016

An image is worth a 1000 words… and in social media terms, an image is worth an increase of 80% readership of your blog content and a 53% increase in engagement on social media.

Images help draw attention, simplify complicated concepts and re-enforce retention.

But if you are posting social media posts 2-4 times a day, how can you find enough quality images to use?

You cannot use any image that you find on the internet. Whoever took the photo owns the image — even if they haven’t noted this fact with a watermark or copyright notice. Copyright is an automatic right to content creators and does not require the author to file special paperwork. Using copyrighted work inappropriately can result in embarrassment, having your website/social media post removed for violations or even legal issues.

There are 4 kinds of rights applied to images. Understanding what these terms mean will help you avoid issues later.

Public Domain
These are images which are now able to be used by the public domain free of charge for any purpose due to their age (the copyright has expired) or the owner has released their rights.

Creative Commons
Creative Commons was created to allow photographers put their images online and dictate how they can be used. They are able to dictate whether the images can be used in other forums, whether they can be manipulated and what credit should be provided along with the image. It is important to read the attached CC license to the photo to understand the limitations placed on your use of the image. Most times, this requires requiring attribution including a link back to the photographer’s site.

Royalty Free
These images are available on stock image websites and the “free” aspect of the title doesn’t reflect the cost but rather that once you pay for the image (using either a subscription or pay-per-image model) you are free to use it as often as you’d like.

Rights-Managed
These images are also purchased but also include a limitation on the number of times they can be used without paying for more licenses.

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Posted in Social Media, Technology
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YouTube in the Classroom

May 11, 2016

With so many options for accessing media in the classroom, it can be difficult to navigate where to find the best content and how best to present it. There are more than 80,000,000 videos on YouTube. Some are great for a laugh, some are great to inform and some are incredibly inappropriate. Performing blind searches in front of your classroom is an easy way to run into a dead end — or worse. So where should you start?

  • Sticking to reputable channels such as Ted-Ed, National Geographic and Khan Academy guarantees quality.
  • If you like to watch silly, political or other videos that might be deemed inappropriate for the classroom, use a separate YouTube login for the classroom to avoid malapropos recommendations from popping up on the screen.
  • Get to know advanced search options so you can filter videos by creator, narrow topics and dates.
  • Be creative. Find videos of writers reading their own work and use them as a writing prompt. Share different perspectives by finding multiple videos on the same topic. Bring history alive with archive clips.
  • YouTube playlists saved and shared with your students can help reenforce your lessons and allow them to watch the videos over again at home.
  • Have students make their own videos and tutorials to share in class.

How have you used YouTube in the classroom? Do your students bring you videos to share? What are some pitfalls you have discovered?

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Posted in Social Media, Technology
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