How Greenwood Academies Engage Parents And Local Communities On Social Media
The Greenwood Academies Trust was formed in 2009. The not-for-profit organisation has grown from a single academy to over 30 academies. Predominantly based in the East Midlands region, the Trust educates approximately 16,000 pupils and aims to enable every child to be the best they can be.
“Back in 2015, we had 25 academies but had 51 Twitter accounts that had been created by various staff. We didn’t have a process to restrict accounts to each academy, and some academies even had multiple accounts for each department. We had no central control of the content being published, and manually logging in every day to keep an eye on what was happening was simply unmanageable.”
With each account managed by the Principal, they were struggling to generate and post out enough quality content to engage with parents and the local communities on social media. Additionally, some accounts had been lost when staff members left the Trust and took account login details with them.
- Communicate and engage with parents, the local community and other stakeholders to help support the Trust’s strategic priorities.
- Allow academy staff to safely access and contribute to the Trust’s digital communications.
- Mitigate all of the risks associated with handling multiple social media accounts and a dispersed group of social media users.
- Establish a scalable solution for social media that allows new academies to join the Trust and easily adopt the same social media processes and tools to deliver online communications.
In a nutshell
“As a public sector organisation, we underwent a robust procurement process to secure an appropriate social media management platform, that was based around the organisation’s requirements, rather than simply looking for the platform with the most features.
We had previously tried Hootsuite but realised that the costs escalated very quickly if it was rolled out across multiple accounts and multiple users. We shortlisted three different social media platforms and ultimately opted for SoCrowd because of their proven track record working with public sector organisations, and the software delivered exactly what we required.”
Using the SoCrowd platform, they had complete visibility of all social media accounts for the first time. Processes were created enabling staff at each academy to contribute new content that is automatically routed to designated ‘Validators’ for approval, before being posted to engage with parents and other stakeholders.
“SoCrowd ticks all the boxes in terms of managing social media risk and compliance issues to ensure the Trust and it’s employees are safe. The software pricing model was also scalable, so we knew we didn’t have to worry about the costs going through the roof as we added more social media accounts and users.”
How we got here
Social media at Greenwood Academies Trust continues to grow from strength to strength, with the SoCrowd platform allowing all users to safely create and post content. The Media and Communications Manager now has complete control of all accounts via the central dashboard, and tiered user access gives the 120 users access to accounts that are relevant to them.
A content validation process allows new and less-confident users to have their content validated by another user, ensuring quality and consistency in all social media communications.
“When we started using SoCrowd, a lot of staff didn’t engage with social media because they were unsure of what would happen. With our ‘two sets of eyes’ policy to double check certain content before it is posted live, users have more confidence now to get involved and contribute. A lot of staff had never used Twitter before but love using SoCrowd.”
The scheduling tool makes it easy for users to plan their posts in advance. “Because of teachers’ schedules, they realistically don’t have time to look at social media until the evening or at weekends. Each academy uses the scheduling tool to ensure their posts go out at the right time in the day.”
Annual reports provide the Trust’s Executive Team with insights into the levels of social activity, engagement, inbound messages and most popular posts. To instil a sense of competition, each academy receives a termly report from the Media and Communications Manager comparing activity and engagement levels against the other academies in the Trust.
“When new academies join the Trust, they are sometimes unsure about what content they should post and how often, so we put them in touch with the other academies to learn from their successes.
Staff at the individual academies used to see social media as a chore, but now, creating and posting content is embedded into their day-to-day roles.
Without SoCrowd I don’t think we would be engaging in social media. We would have taken the decision to simply not do it because it would be unmanageable. That would have really limited our ability to communicate and engage with parents and other stakeholders.”
Since implementing SoCrowd, the Greenwood Academies Trust has significantly increased its social media engagement with parents and other stakeholders by allowing many more staff to create and publish content on social media in a safe and controlled way.
- Reached an audience of over 5.2 million on Twitter.
- Mitigated the common risks associated with large-scale use of social media, protecting the organisation and it’s staff.
- Increased engagement and positive feedback with parents, pupils and the local community on social media.
- Established over 30 different social media accounts in a controlled and managed way.
- Adopted a ‘joined up’ approach to social media management with the Media and Communications Manager collaborating with staff at each academy.
- Regular reporting on social media activity and performance supports senior management decision-making.