• General Best Practices
4 Common Social Media Content Barriers (And How to Fix Them)
Kristen Doverspike

Now more than ever, schools and districts around the world are feeling disconnected with their communities. Whether this school year is in person, remote, or hybrid, things just don’t feel the same. And while you know you can (and should!) use social media to create that feeling of community, there are plenty of barriers that can get in the way — whether you’re a social media rookie or pro. 

In a survey taken by our 2020 Summer Camp attendees, school professionals noted their biggest barriers as being:

Barrier 1: Not having enough time

Barrier 2: Not enough engagement from users

Barrier 3: Not knowing what content to post

Barrier 4: Wanting to advertise, but not having enough budget

If this sounds familiar, let’s tackle each one by one! 

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free lesson: How to Cultivate Community and Connectedness Using Social Media

Barrier 1: Not having enough time

Social media often feels like an additional job that no one has time to do — especially when you’re working on a small or one-person team.  And while we can’t add more hours to your day, social media doesn’t have to be a big undertaking! Consider taking the following five steps into practice, and you’ll see a difference in no time.

Step 1: Think about who your audience is, and where they spend their time. 

Take a step back and look at each group of people you would like to reach, because every generation uses social media differently. For example, students are mainly on TikTok and Instagram, whereas parents spend most of their time on Facebook and Instagram. Depending on the age of your alumni, they could be on any of those platforms, in addition to Linkedin and Twitter

If the goal of your social media is to reach parents and grandparents, you don’t need to be on TikTok — and rather, you should focus your efforts primarily on Facebook and Instagram.

Step 2: Follow posting cadences, and stick to the minimum.

You don't have to post as much as you think! Many schools are posting upwards of five times a day on Facebook — and that simply isn’t necessary.

Social media creates algorithms based on what content is posted and audiences interact with it. Posting too often with minimum engagement will decrease the odds of content appearing. And similarly, not posting enough will indicate that you are not an active account and will lower your chances of being seen.

The recommended posting cadence is 1-2 times a day on Facebook and Instagram, and a minimum of  5 times per day on Twitter. These cadences allow users to engage with the post and let the algorithm work in your favor. If you feel that you have more to say in a single day than what the recommended posting cadence allows for, you can post this extra content on your Instagram and Facebook stories.

Step 3: When in doubt, turn to the resources you already have. 

Finding new content can be time-consuming, especially if students are rarely on campus or if learning is 100% virtual. There are a few ways you can gather new content to keep your channels interesting:

  • Pull “snippets” of content that were already created elsewhere. You can pull from your blog, your weekly newsletter — you name it!
  • Crowdsource by reaching out to your school community for images. This can include setting up a dedicated email address for parents to submit photos, or you can create a branded hashtag to monitor on social media. The Woods Academy, for example, uses #WeAreTheWoods and #WoodsWorksOn to gather content from their communities!
  • Dive into the archives for throwbacks and older content. Whether it showcases your history or a fun moment from a previous year, nostalgia will always work in your favor!

Step 4: Set aside time in your calendar. 

Blocking out time to create a schedule for the upcoming week will help you to see what needs to be done with content. This will not only save time but can also save you the stress that comes with running out of time the following week.  

Unsure how to plan it all out? We’ve created this helpful social media planning template to help you power through!

Step 5: Take advantage of free tools. 

Tools like Later.com and Canva are all free scheduling resources that will help you save time, aid in any additional help for planning, and upgrade your presence in social media. 

Later.com has a lot of robust features, including a scheduling tool that lets you set automatic reminders each week for a block of time to post content. For content you have scheduled, it can send push notifications to your mobile device as a reminder, so you can opt-in or out of it.

Canva is another great resource to utilize for everyone — design-savvy or not. They offer so many templates that are channel-specific. You can add your school’s brand colors and truly explore making an image that seems drab-like and giving it an upgrade! 

Barrier 2:  Not Getting Enough Engagement

When posting on social media, your content will typically fall into three main categories:

  • Posts intended for engagement, such as throwbacks and student photos; 
  • Posts that are informational, such as news and announcements; and
  • Posts that are promotional, such as asking for donations. 

Matching what you have to post with what people want to see is key to garnering high engagement. If you’re not getting enough engagement on social media, these tips can help get you there: 

Step 1: Follow the 70/20/10 rule. 

A good rule of thumb to follow is that 70% of content should be non-promotional posts meant to entertain, inspire, excite or entertain your community. So, if you’re posting ten times per week on Facebook, seven of those posts should be content that is meant to engage your community. The other three posts can be used to inform or promote.

For more information on the 70/20/10 rule and other social media content strategies, read this blog on crafting social media calendars.

Step 2: Create a sense of community by responding to comments.

Social media will not connect your community unless you go in with an understanding of how to build a sense of community with your posts. And that means responding to the comments, both the good and bad onesalways

Responding to comments on social media increases the likelihood of future engagement from your community — and it helps the algorithms to work in your favor. The more comments a post receives (and the more you respond), the more likely that social channels will think, “Hey, this is an active account!” and push your content higher in your followers’ feeds.

Step 3: Always use visuals — and use video when possible. 

If your social media profiles aren’t visually heavy, that may be a driving factor for your low engagement. Every post — especially on Facebook and Instagram, should have a photo. And, if you have the time to create them, videos take it a step further. Most social media channels give priority to video content, as it is naturally more engaging than static content.

Remember: You don’t need a large (or any) budget to create social media videos, and you can save time by crowdsourcing video content from your community or by going live.

Barrier 3: Not knowing what content to post

Right now, you may feel like you’re running out of content to post. (Hello, Zoom fatigue.) While every school and district’s social media strategy will look different this year, you can reference this decision tree to help you strategize your content.  

Here are some additional go-to content ideas that you can use any time:

  • Celebrate a social media holiday, like #NationalPizzaDay and #NationalDogDay
  • Share an inspirational quote to get your community through the week
  • Highlight a faculty member, teacher, student, parent, or donor
  • Ask some school-specific trivia questions and send out challenges

Barrier 4: Wanting to advertise, but not having enough budget

Even if you don’t have a large budget, you can still run ads that make an impact using boosted posts and the Facebook pixel.

Boosted Posts

While ads get expensive, boosting a post can be an affordable alternative. (As little as $20 affordable.) Start by boosting content you already know works — such as an organic post that received a lot of engagement. You can use this investment to reach new families or engage current fans. Keep in mind that with boosted posts, you’re going to be more limited than going into Ads Manager within Facebook to target specific audiences.

Facebook Pixel

Setting up your Facebook Pixel will collect data to ensure your ads are seen by the users who are most likely to take your desired action. This means:

  • An improved conversion rate
  • The opportunity to retarget individuals who visit your website
  • The ability to create lookalike audiences that closely match the users that are already interacting with your website

Key Takeaway

You already know that an active social media presence can help keep your school or district’s community engaged and informed during these challenging times. But even if you’re limited in terms of time, budget, resources, or creativity, there are plenty of ways you can optimize your social strategy. Remember to take it easy. It’s okay to only post once a day, to upload a video that isn’t perfect, and to rely on throwback photos once a week. Focus on consistency and authenticity, and your community will come together.

If you’re not sure how to get started with your social media strategy, our team of experts at Finalsite Advantage would be happy to help!


download your free copy: 2020 social media guide for schools


kristen doverspike headshot

In her position as Inbound Marketing Manager, Kristen provides the strategy and creation of content across email, website and social media communications at Finalsite. With over five years of experience in content strategy and digital marketing, Kristen has worked with clients around the country to develop their branding, SEM, SEO, social media, and inbound efforts. She holds and maintains a number of certifications from Google, Hubspot, and Hootsuite.

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