YES YES and YES!!
Schools and parent groups across the country have been considering this question and the answer is resoundingly YES! Let's face it, a good proportion of school parents access facebook daily or weekly. Intersecting with parents where they already hang out is a great way to keep them updated about news, events and meetings and ask more to get involved.
6 Tips to get the most out of facebook with school-parent groups:
- Invite parents to participate in multiple places. Once you've established a facebook community page for your school, promote it and ask your parents to 'like' your school on facebook to show their school sprit. Adding a 'like' box to your school website lets parents see who else is part of your facebook community and encourages more to join. Also, be sure to add a link to your school facbeook page in school newsletters, announcements and flyers that are sent home.
- Use 'pulse' questions to engage parents. Asking simple questions from time to time gets parents chatting and engaged with your parent-group on facebook. E.g., "What's your child's favorite school lunch?" "What should our new carnival booth be this year?" "Any ideas for how we can help our school reduce paper use?" "What's your favorite/least favorite fundraiser and why?"
- Assign a parent liaison to monitor your school facebook page for comments every few days. (Find one of your active facebook parents - and ask if (s)he'll take it on as a small responsibility).
- Facebook is a great way to put out a call for volunteers because other parents (and grandparents) networked to your 'like' fans will also see announcements. Make those announcements active by linking to your VolunteerSpot sign up sheet with a URL link right in the facebook message. Get them signed up to help on the spot. VolunteerSpot is perfect for connecting your online savvy parents and super easy to use!
- Respect privacy. In postings, never name children by name, and only name adults if you have their permission. Only post photos of children if you have photo-releases and permission to do so. Children should never be 'tagged' (identified) in photos on your parent-group facebook page. All links and phone numbers will be publically viewable, so think twice before posting.
- Remember, not all parents are on facebook and the opinions of those who are may not represent your general population. Use this community tool as supplemental communication for your school and parent-group. Don't assume annoucnements are recevied or make big decisions based on the feedback of your school's facebook fans.
Here are a few examples of school-parent groups with active facebook communities:
Have fun, get more parents invovled!!
...Then add Twitter to your school's socail media repertoire too! Here are a few examples: