• Andrew Robinson

Mid-year: encouraging staff to share their stories

It’s difficult to believe that we’re halfway through the school year. Over the summer, I embarked on a mission to encourage our district’s team to be apart of our district’s. The idea was simple. Giving our team easy access to share these stories is imperative, whether it’s a teacher sharing the progress students made on an important project or a member of the office staff sharing thanks to a PTO group who helped make them smile.

To accomplish the goal, I printed posters in addition to attending faculty meetings to share the updates. Each staff member was also given a reminder card that they could pin to the wall. To read a complete recap of the efforts, click here.

So you’re probably wondering, how’s it going? One word- amazing! We’ve seen an increase in stories shared on our social media platforms by over 50% from the same time period last year. And that’s just the beginning. Nearly every single analytic that I’ve been tracking shows an increase. Over our three main social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), we picked up over 1,000 new followers. In addition, the number of people engaged with our posts across all three platforms nearly increased by 30,000.

Here's a glimpse at some of the analytics:

Getting to this point wasn’t easy and took time. Here are a few things I learned along the way.

1. Consistency is key. Keep reminding your team, even in subtle ways, about how easy it is to share their stories. I post the link to share stories in every digital staff newsletter that I send out. I also make myself present in all of our school buildings during the school day. This allows folks who normally wouldn’t share a story to tell me in person. This effectively lets me work with them to gather what I need to share their good news story. It gives my more presence in the buildings and lets them feel more comfortable sharing their story. It’s win-win situation.

2. Keep data up to date. My school district has five buildings. It’s not a lot. When it comes to sharing news stories, it’s good to be objective and to treat all buildings fairly and to share about the same amount of stories across all buildings. Moreover, keeping data up to date lets you know if you’re slipping in sharing stories from one building or another.

3. Share engaging content. I don’t always receive the best stories— and that’s ok. Sometimes information is missing. Other times, I find out that a student in on the no media list and part or all of that content is effectively unusable. Whatever the situation is, the school district team isn’t trained to tell stories. They are trained to teach, prepare healthy meals, keep kids safe, etc. As a professional storyteller, it’s my job to make that content compelling and provide an emotional attachment so the person seeing it on the other side of the screen wants to engage with the content. Your engagement will increase when you share content that your audience cares about.

4. Scheduling posts is your friend. I use Hootsuite to schedule posts. It’s not free but if you have under a certain amount of social media platforms, they may still offer a free version. At one point, I was receiving anywhere from three to five stories a day. Keeping them organized using the Google Form was a time-saver and being able to schedule the posts on Hootsuite saved even more time. As a matter of fact, you can even schedule Instagram posts right from Hootsuite! What a time-saver! For me, it keeps me off of the phone more and the less distractions through the day, the better.

Did you implement a Share Your Story campaign in your school district? Let me know how it’s going!