Social media is here to stay. It can help your PTA raise its profile and stay in touch with its members. So here’s PTA-UK’s whistle stop guide to help you get going.
What is social media?
Social media covers a broad range of web and mobile technologies including internet forums, weblogs and podcasts. What makes it different from more traditional forms of technology, such as your PTA website, is it enables a two way discussion - between organisations, communities and individuals – helping your PTA to build a relationship with its supporters. Social media has several key benefits:
1. Push messages: once a supporter signs up to stay in touch with your PTA through social media, you have an open door to push out your messages. Social media is accessible on mobile devices, so you can stay in touch with busy parents on a daily basis.
2. Start talking: social media is all about online conversations. Your PTA is able to push out messages and your members will be able to respond.
3. Data protection: one of the reasons PTA-UK likes social media is that it helps overcome data protection issues involved in your PTA gathering and managing endless lists of parent emails. The individual subscribes and continues to manage their involvement and can easily unsubscribe without your PTA having to collect or store a single piece of data.
What social media are PTAs using?
Facebook would allow your PTA to develop a web presence as an open or closed group or as a ‘page’. Facebook enables your PTA to post events, invite attendees, upload pictures, chat with supporters and conduct quick polls Twitter is a ‘microblog’ limited to 140 characters. Once you get the hang of ‘Tweeting’, you’ll be amazed at how much you can say in so few words. There are concerns about using social media particularly about protecting the privacy of users. Think carefully about how you want to use social media and consider the different options available so that your PTA gets the right level of control before getting started.