I had an awesome time at TMEA this past weekend! I am honored to teach in the best state for music education in the country, and to have an awesome professional association/convention such as TMEA. If you teach in Texas and didn’t attend, you are missing out on an excellent opportunity to recharge your batteries and grow as an educator. If you live out of state, come join us! I’ve been to a couple of conventions in other states and they are miniscule compared to TMEA. YOU NEED TO GO NEXT YEAR!!!!
Ok, back to business. There is one question I answered more than any other at TMEA this year. “How should I set up/manage social media for my program?” Great question! And one that can be answered easily.
There are tons of free, easy to use, and integratable platforms out there that make having a professional social media presence easy! Here’s how I manage my groups all from my cell phone!
- Social Media – The followers of your program (parents/students/community members) are everywhere. EVERYWHERE! Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google +. Create an account for each site for your program. IN a minute I’ll show you how to post to them all with ease!
- Google Calendar – This is an essential part of my day! I have different calendars set up for each of my ensembles/classes, and can view any or all of these events on one screen. I can share events with my coworkers, allow them to view my calendar so they can make scheduling decisions without me having to be present, I can set reminders to alert me of upcoming events, and I can embed any of these calendars (like my band calendar) into a website. I can now update my public band calendar that’s visible to parents on our website from my smartphone by just opening my calendar app.
- Remind – Want a safe way to send messages to your student group and parents? Remind (formerly Remind 101) is a one-way text messaging system that students and parents can subscribe to. You can send them SMS messages from any internet connected device (including your desktop computer), but they can’t text back. I use this every Friday night to notify parents when we leave football games and when we’ll return. You can also schedule reminder text messages so kids don’t forget to bring important items, or use it as a reminder for scheduled rehearsals.
- HootSuite – Now that you have created all those accounts mentioned above, manage them all from one easy to use service. Great functionality to post simultaneously to all your social media outlets, or to simply read all your feeds in one place. Best of all, there’s an app for that! I can post pictures of a concert or contest to all the social media outlets, and my website from my cell phone! Yes my website. That’s because I use…
- WordPress Blog For A Website – It’s very fast and easy to create a basic website using WordPress for your school groups. You can embed your Google Calendar, post to it via HootSuite, embed a Remind widget to post those text messages to your website, and basically give everyone a home base to get all the information they need for your groups. Create multiple pages, or multiple blogs for each of your groups. It’s all free!
The entire process of setting all of this up and making it functional should take under an hour! Best of all, it’s easy to keep everyone up to date and keep the lines of communication open, freeing up time in the process.