Based on the advice given in various articles, I would give 5 key pieces of advice to a social media working party or committee.
1. Be clear about the PURPOSE of Social Media
Is the bandwagon just being leaped upon, or is there a distinct advantage in using social media in the school context? What benefits can be harnessed? What can social media do that other forms of communication cannot do as effectively?
2. Ensure a POLICY is clear and available
Writing a social media policy provides structure that both protects and enables all stakeholders. This policy needs to be clearly written and communicated. To avoid a misuse or unfortunate social media faux pas, employees and clients need to fully understand the purpose of social media in the particular context of the school. Employees especially need to be aware that employers reserve the right to monitor what their employees say on social media. Such legal outlines are important to include in a policy.
3. ADAPT current policies
Communication is such no matter what the platform. If employees are guided by policy to inform respectful communication in phone calls and emails, social media is no different. Ethics extends to all forms of communication and this must be clearly outlined for employees.
4. RESPECT copyright and protect confidential and proprietary information
Proprietary information must be protected no matter what platform is used to communicate. The boundaries do not change with social media.
5. Provide VALUE
Whatever is posted in social media should provide value to the community at large. There are many ways schools can use social media to offer recommendations or promote services. If you consistently aim to provide value, social media becomes an effective, constructive and indispensable communication tool.