Where to Get Started with Facebook for Parent Teacher Groups
Updated: Oct 8
In today’s technology-driven world, there’s hardly anyone who doesn’t use social media – key among which is Facebook. Not one to be left behind, Parent Teacher Associations and Parent Teacher Organizations have long since joined the Facebook bandwagon. But what exactly are the intricacies of using this application, and are there ways to maximize its benefits?
Is Facebook Still Relevant?
It’s been a good sixteen years since Facebook came to be, and wondering whether the platform is still relevant and useful for PTAs and PTOs? Well, the simple answer is yes! Facebook is still a highly beneficial application, mainly because it has kept itself up to date with constant modifications and improvements and because so many people are members. And the best part is that it is extremely user-friendly, making it the perfect resource for Parent Teacher groups.
Note that it is not the only relevant application so it should not be your only means of membership communication, but it does reach a lot of the parent base so it is a useful tool to have in your toolbelt.
Whether it’s effective usage, making eye-catching posts or analytical benefits, here’s how to best use Facebook:
1) Create a Private Group for your PTA/PTO
Because it has so many members and an ease of engagement, creating a Facebook group is a powerful communication tool. You can choose to create a public or a private group, depending on what you are planning to share. If you want to share general ideas or events with the whole community, a private group is a great idea. It is easier for people to find you. If you plan to post any student pictures or potentially sensitive info, you have to consider FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) and creating a private group allows you to comply with those regulations. This is the route we recommend. Just follow these simple steps:
Click the plus sign in the top right hand of your Facebook display screen
Select ‘group’ from the drop down list
Enter your group name
Choose a privacy setting for your group
Click on create, and voila, you’re done!
2) Keep it Fresh
Once you have a page, you will want to post 2+ times a week. A great way to boost both morale and membership rates is by keeping the page current. By keeping things up-to-date, you will encourage members to visit your page. By urging members to share content, your group will pop up in people’s timelines, prompting them to go to the page. This back-and-forth can drive really positive engagement, more volunteers, and others asking friends to join. Remember, the more we are exposed to something, the more likely we are to adopt it as our own.
We recommend having two PTA leaders responsible for posting so that you share the workload. One person can be responsible for sharing events whereas the other can share important news.
3) Share Resources and Links
Does your PTO’s website have some neat stuff? Or maybe you have an event coming up that you’ve created a reminder for. Either way, Facebook is a great place to add in relevant links. It’s as simple as making a post, mentioning your subject of choice (whether that’s your website, an upcoming event, or something entirely different), and hyperlinking to redirect to the relevant post or site. Not only will this push up online engagement, but it’ll also point people in the right direction for resources.
There’s no denying it, association with certain individuals automatically boosts engagement. Although this is not a typical thing for PTAs to do, it can be extremely effective. Perhaps you have a local, state, or national celebrity parent in your community - ask them to promote the PTO/PTA on their Facebook page. We have heard many success stories of increases in membership once a prominent figure has shared that they are a PTA member.
5) Get Creative
Eye-catching posts will draw in viewers, whether existing or new, and they’re sure to boost engagement. Images get more engagement than text, photos drive even more engagement and video is king. If you don’t have experience creating content, have no fear. There are lots of apps out there that can help - just search google or the app store and you will be sure to find some free apps.
So, there you have it, a short and sweet guide on how to make the most of your PTO’s Facebook experience! If you are interested in a broader overview of social media, check out our podcast episode on where PTAs and PTOs should start with social media.