a professional network that expands way beyond the local community.

Engage and communicate

The online platforms Twitter and LinkedIn have developed into spaces where education professionals from a wide variety of roles engage and communicate. This includes school business professionals from the UK and beyond, who come from a variety of backgrounds and stages of career. You can fi nd and share information and resources, gain different perspectives and ideas on topical issues, and keep abreast of the latest developments and discussions. I am currently following 475 school business professionals on Twitter with a range of roles,

including chief operating offi cer, site manager, school business manager/ leader and fi nance director. They are based in maintained and academy schools, at a range of settings including primary, middle, secondary and special schools,

PRUs, multi-academy trusts, colleges and FE providers. What works well for me is operating two accounts – one professional account and a personal account set as private.

In terms of useful content, it is not

only what you see on the surface with public posts – support is also there in the background through direct messaging and groups. Last year, when GDPR was a hot topic, one LinkedIn user set up a group and invited others to join and share their experiences with the group. Social media is also a great tool

for engaging with potential business sponsors and grant-awarding bodies. For example, the Aviva Community Fund lists projects on its website that have gone through its shortlisting process, with the next stage for friends, family and the community to vote on. Projects with the most votes become fi nalists, so social media is the perfect tool for raising awareness and gaining votes. For help with fi nding grants and fundraising ideas, follow @ FundEd4schools and @PTApatter.

Topical discussions To provide some insight into the topics discussed on these platforms,

24 SPRING 2019 FundEd


■ Create a Twitter account ■ Post your first tweet with the hashtags #SBLtwitter and #MyFirstTweet ■ Follow 10 school business professionals ■ Follow your local SBL regional group, for example @SYorksSBLGroup, @Coast_ MoorsSBL, @BhamAssocSBM and @LeicsAG all have active accounts ■ Quote someone else’s tweet and give your opinion on the topic ■ Retweet a tweet you find interesting Follow some of your key contacts and suppliers ■ Join in with a Twitter chat such as #SLTchat, #EdFinChat, #PrimaryRocks or #SBLtwitter

qualifi cations and conferences, as well as links to blog posts, articles and professional guidance. As you become more experienced

with Twitter, there are several tools available to ensure you use the platform effectively and effi ciently. I follow more than 3,800 accounts and using Twitter Lists allows me to fi lter posts from specifi c groups of accounts that are of interest to me, allowing me to curate and organise my Twitter feed (visit your Twitter Lists page via the gear icon drop- down menu or by clicking Lists on your profi le page). TweetDeck allows you to schedule posts on specifi c dates and times, which is helpful if you are looking to maximise your engagement (good times to tweet are between 12pm and 1pm and between 5pm and 6pm).

here are a few examples of the discussions and activities that have taken place on Twitter during this past autumn term, using the hashtags #SBLtwitter #SBLlife #SBL #SBM and #SBP: ■ A poll asking if you take annual leave during term-time. ■ An icebreaker was posted by Hilary Goldsmith to encourage school business leaders to start tweeting, asking tweeters to share three interesting or unusual things about themselves (about you as a person, not about your school, your job or your family). Have a look at the great responses with the hashtags #SBLtwitter #icebreaker and #10percentbraver. ■ Responses to the 2018 Budget announcements, in particular, reactions to the Chancellor’s “#littleextras” comment. ■ Sharing ideas on how to encourage more school business professionals to use Twitter and LinkedIn. ■ A question about who signs teachers’ pay statements; ideas on putting together a personal development plan. ■ Information sharing about

A broad network Twitter and LinkedIn have transformed the way that I and other school business professionals communicate with one another, as well as the reach of our professional networks. They have allowed me the opportunity to build a broad and diverse network with professionals who I may otherwise never have connected with. I have subsequently met many of my social media connections at conferences and built positive relationships, and all the contributors in my book were from connections I made on Twitter. I wanted my book to be a resource

written by SBMs for SBMs using our voices as a collective, and utilising social media enabled me to reach out and communicate with knowledgeable, supportive and forward-thinking professionals. I have focused on Twitter and

LinkedIn in this article. However, there are many different social media platforms that enable us to amplify our professional voices with purpose and make a wider – and positive – impact in education.

Hayley Dunn is Business Leadership Specialist for ASCL, and author of The School Business Manager’s Handbook. @ShropshireSBM

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