The life of a band director is a busy one. Planning, sectionals, concerts, paperwork, parent conferences, administration, putting out fires, and the list goes on. Fortunately, we’ve all got publicists that follow us around to keep our band families up to date on coming events and share great news and stories!
Wait…I don’t have a publicist. You don’t either?
If only there was some way to easily share information with our families on something they’re already using and not have to pay for it…
Enter social media!
Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all great opportunities to connect with your band’s community. Unlike a website, using social media lets us go to our audience rather than requiring them to come to us. It opens not only a door to your classroom, but windows and walls, and lets families and friends in on what’s happening daily. What better way to advocate for your program than to show all aspects of it?
Many of our students and families are on some form of social media daily, if not multiple times a day. We can take advantage of that fact and easily become a great publicist for our ensembles! Over the rest of this social media series, we’ll be going in-depth on three of the most popular platforms being used right now (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) with advice on how to best utilize them. No matter which one(s) you go with, there are some universal tips that can help you no matter which you choose:
● Check on your school’s privacy policies in regards to student photos and names. In a previous job, social media was not included on our blanket media release yet, so we had to get specific permission to post faces and/or names. The release at my current school covers all social media, so I just keep a list of students whose information I cannot post and make sure to work around it.
● If you’re still concerned about student privacy, it’s possible to maintain active accounts. Stick with pictures from behind your ensemble, close-ups of hands playing instruments and using equipment, pictures of student work, shots from far away, etc.
● Kids love being part of a “postable” moment no matter where you’re sharing it! Share a short recording of something they’ve been working hard on, take a picture of students doing great work together, tell them you’re taking a picture to show off their awesome posture.
● Download the app(s) you want to your phone. It will make for a much smoother time doing a spontaneous post rather than taking photos/video, sending them to yourself and then uploading them.
● Try to at least post daily. Not only does this keep your activities fresh in the minds of those you’re sharing them with, but it will help your overall visibility. A social media post has a lifespan ranging from only a few minutes to a couple of hours. Don’t assume that the one post you put up last week was seen by everyone. Regular posting will help keep traffic up on your accounts.
● If you have multiple social media accounts, keep your handle the same on all of them. For example, we’re @hartmsbands on everything used. It’ll make it easier for families and students to find and follow you.
● Advertise that you’re on social media! Put it in newsletters, emails home, links on your programs, a sign outside your door, websites, etc. They can’t follow you if they don’t know you’re there. Try putting out QR codes that will take families to your accounts or website around your room, at parent-teacher conferences, or open house events.
● Follow or like any of the official school, class, or district accounts associated with your school. Hopefully, they’ll follow you back which is a great way to keep colleagues and administrators up with what’s happening in your classes. I teach in a large school where it’s difficult for admin to do pop ins, but they’ve always got an idea of the good things happening in band because it’s being shared on our accounts!
We want to make this helpful for all, so if there’s something specific you’d like to learn about social media with your bands, please comment on the Facebook post or contact me through my site: The Noisy Room Down the Hall! I’ll try to cover questions in the coming posts.
Amy Rever is a 6-8th Grade Band teacher at Hart Middle School in Rochester Hills, MI. She earned her master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Oakland University in 2015. Amy has been teaching eight years and spent the first seven of her career as the K12 band and music director of a small district where she also served as the social media coordinator. She has shared new technologies with colleagues at staff meetings, spoken on utilizing social media at district professional development, and recently presented how to use Twitter for professional learning at the Michigan Music Conference. When not teaching, Amy enjoys laughing loudly and often with her family and walking their two rescue mutts. She also blogs regularly on her site The Noisy Room Down the Hall.
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