If you run your school district’s social media platforms, have you ever considered organizing a social media competition? If you haven’t already, you should. Simply put, a social media competition is a campaign to gather fresh content directly from the community members you serve. Teachers, staff and administrators, and even students are all welcome to participate. Whether you solicit photo submissions through a form or encourage your district community to post themselves using specific hashtags, you can reap a wealth of content.
Here are five ways that a social media competition can help boost your community engagement:
1. Build Your Community
These days, everyone has a camera in their hand and can share pictures and content instantly. That means that school district employees have the opportunity to snap photos of students learning in and out of the classroom. Teachers and school staff can quickly share pictures of the students engaging in their learning activities. It gives the school district the chance to showcase students in the best light with raw content. Plus, the experience running school district social media competitions empowers school staff to contribute to the overall strategic efforts to highlight the school and its students. We’ve found that when the submissions come through, they typically come with an encouraging message like "here's Johnny during the sensory activity in Ms. Macie's class." Social media competitions encourage teachers, staff, and community members to uplift each other and the great work at the school district.
2. Incentivize Followers
When rolling out a social media campaign or competition, you might feel like you’re giving your busy employees one more thing to do. Remember, though, that the point is to make it fun! Incentivizing engagement with treats or prizes creates a pipeline for more content and followers on social media platforms. For example, one of the school districts we work with incentivized their staff with gift cards. Everyone loves a good freebie, whether it's for coffee, Amazon, or discounts to businesses you might have a local partnership with. We highly encourage the use of prizes to drive engagement in the competition.
3. Provide Evergreen Content
A social media competition ultimately provides an arsenal of evergreen content to pull from and have to further your online presence. This strategy helps to have loads of pictures, videos, and maybe even quotes to use for #ThrowBackThursdays or #FlashBackFridays. At the same time, a social media competition should be intentional, which brings us to our next point.
4. Increase Awareness
Competitions on social media should have a clear purpose. Use them to bring awareness to an upcoming event, cause, or theme. A theme like Back to School, Hispanic Heritage Month, and Favorite Teacher Highlight, really helps drive participation. Having a theme brings relevance to the content you want to gather. You can focus it on unifying outreach efforts while simultaneously reminding the community about it using a specific hashtag. Implementing a unique hashtag relevant to your competition will also help track engagement data associated with the campaign or contest. Here are some additional theme ideas you can use:
- Best Memories of the School Year
- School Pride
- Back to School Pictures
5. Boost Engagement
More than anything, connecting with your virtual audience is to your advantage here. Increasing engagement online and directly with the support of your school staff and administrators is what you want from a social media competition. Family and community members love to see their children’s learning featured on social media, so your community engagement will increase online through impressions and engagements too.
We hope this convinces you to run a social media competition for your school district!
Senior Account Manager
Erika leverages her experience working with elected officials and in community outreach to help provide strategic solutions for Presidio's public agency clients. She received her B.A. in Communications Studies from CSU San Bernardino and is currently pursuing an M.A. in Public Administration from USC.