There are a handful of key considerations when using video to maximize engagement in your school community. These concepts are important because they will help others share in your journey and success in a way that is meaningful and interesting to them. Read more below on these tips and reflect on how you are using video communication at your school or division.
Know Your Audience
Give your school community what they want, what they need, and what they will want to share. In order to do that, you must get to know and understand your community. Ask them questions, conduct interviews and surveys, dig deep into the traditions and cultures. When you provide them what they want and need, they will naturally respond more passionately back in return. This includes liking and sharing what you are posting.
Examples: (1) We have a high percentage of military-connected families at Ashland. Stories that highlight their struggles and successes are important to them such as this video about a recent dad that came back from deployment. (2) We share fun videos during the holidays to show that we are current and trendy. These videos catch attention and draw them in.
Maximize Instructional Leadership
Emphasizing your focus on instruction clarifies your purpose and keeps your main thing the main thing. At the end of the day, no matter the issues we face or the struggles we debate, we are here for the well-being of our students. Schools and divisions can accidentally focus all of their messaging on everything but student learning. Then the schools are surprised that families in return don’t prioritize student learning as well. We can lead and model the importance of our education for students. Leaders must be seen promoting and modeling learning activities and strategies. This is a constant reminder to the organization and community on what matters most. Consider new instructional strategies and technologies that you are implementing to use for video.
Examples: (1) A #30SecondBookTalk I made for We’re All Wonder to promote literacy with our students. (2) A video our Kindergarten Team made for top ten tips on having students ready for kindergarten.
Flood their feed with positive stories and your best work. Create highlight reels to showcase programs or initiatives instead of just telling them about it. Interview your staff, students, and community to share their voice and help them tell the school’s story. Just like no one ever wants to post bad selfies, make sure your highlights share the best of your work in school!
Examples: (1) We created a video called Believe to Achieve that highlighted our school and our belief system for our PWCS School Board. (2) We have a program called Games with Guests where our staff compete weekly live for our students.
Make a Better First Impression
Take every opportunity to share your beliefs, values, and passions in a personal and connected way. People make decisions about others within six seconds of meeting them. Maximize first impressions through engaging videos. Read more about this tip in a separate post I wrote recently.
Examples: (1) My most recent video introduction that is posted on my principal page on our school website. (2) One of my favorite teacher-created introductions. All of our teachers and assistants have these intro videos posted on our website.
Telling stories and using your personality is vital in effective communication. You are not a machine giving a rote message. You a person with emotions, passions, and beliefs. Share them. Don’t be afraid to be yourself whether that’s really enthusiastic, reserved, or funny. We’re all different. Don’t try to be someone that you’re not. Just be the best version of yourself for others to see and learn from. Play to your strengths and convey a sense of authenticity and others will respond in a positive way towards you and your messaging. This is important especially if it’s a hot issue or sensitive topic. We tend to shy away from personal contact, but leaders must lead. Get out front and convey a sense of urgency and confidence and it will be contagious to your community.
Examples: (1) A video I made for parents to explain the process of how we create classes of students, match teachers to students, and how parents can offer input. (2) A highlight reel of one season of our “Mr. Jacks and the Falcon” video series where we give tips to students on studying and testing.