In the book Digital Leadership, author Eric Sheninger says, “If we don’t tell our story, someone else will, and more often than not, another’s version will not be the one we want told. Leaders need to become story-tellers-in-chief.”
For the past few months, I’ve been struck by the importance of telling our school’s story, so I’ve been listening to the BrandEd podcast, reading blog posts like this, diving into thought-provoking books like Digital Leadership, and even writing my own posts like this.
With that in mind, a few days before our annual fundraiser, I thought it would be cool to use Twitter and Facebook to ask our stakeholders (and that definitely includes our students) to share what they love about our school. The idea was to take a handful of responses and display them during our fundraiser event while attendees were making their way into the auditorium.
It was a great idea, but I’ll admit, I was somewhat hesitant. We were inviting anyone to share whatever they want about our school and even giving them a platform to do it!
What if someone posted something inappropriate?
Could we control what message was being shared?
What if this goes terribly wrong?
Despite our initial concerns, we went for it, tweeted out our question along with the hashtag, and we waited.
The responses were incredible— mainly from students, but also from parents, alumni, and friends of the school. Sure, there were some borderline inappropriate comments, but the majority of comments focused on all the ways our school has been a blessing for our students and the influence we’ve had in their lives.
Due to the overwhelming number of responses, our original idea of using PowerPoint to display the responses wasn’t going to work because it would have been too time-consuming to create. We looked at some other options (like Visible Tweets), but with a budget of $0, there was no way to use it and control what was displayed. Because I’ve already been using Storify to create our Mustang Mountain Tweets of the Week, I thought it might work. It actually turned out to be the perfect choice!
I created our story pulling and filtering responses from Twitter and Facebook, published the story, and then I added “/slideshow” to the end of the url to create this slideshow presentation to display during our event:
My school is a special place, and as a school leader, it’s my responsibility to tell our story. This little social media campaign worked for me– how have you been able to help tell your school’s story? I’d love to hear your ideas, so please share them below.