In this School Lunch and Social Media series, we’re going to walk you through the steps for setting up your School Nutrition program’s social media accounts.
Part 1: Is Social Media Right for YOUR School Nutrition Program
“Make sure you know why you’re doing it before you worry about how to do it.”
You’re thinking about marketing your School Nutrition program on social media. It seems like a great idea for a ton of reasons, and you’re willing to put in the effort in order to improve your program’s reach and engagement.
Still, first thing’s first: you need to figure out if social media is a viable way to market your School Lunch program.
Just because many other School Nutrition programs, schools, companies, and organizations are doing it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s right for your program.
So, before you even sign up for an account, the first thing to do is to think this through in terms of what it will mean for you, your program, your team, and your unique community of parents and students.
Here are the questions you need to ask yourself before you decide whether or not to market your School Nutrition program on social media:
1. Do we have something worth promoting?
The most important thing to consider, right off the bat, is whether or not you truly have something great to promote.
Is the quality of your food consistently high? Are students getting through your lines quickly enough?
Before you go out promoting your program, make sure that your program is running well and you feel comfortable putting it out there. If you’re dealing with problems and challenges, then giving your audience an outlet to call you out on them could backfire.
If necessary, focus on improving your program itself and then return to this guide once you’re more comfortable with your overall operation.
Here are some resources you can use if you need to improve your School Nutrition program:
2. Do we have the time and personnel to maintain our accounts?
The idea of being a “cool” School Nutrition program and really connecting with your audience is enticing, and for good reason — it works.
But keep in mind: if you start to engage parents and students on social media and then only post once in a great while or end up stopping altogether, it’s not a good look. In fact, it could end up doing more harm than good. Your social media accounts will be a reflection of your program, so if you’re inconsistent on Facebook or Twitter, it will make your whole program seem inconsistent.
It takes commitment to maintain social media accounts. Before you get started with it, make sure you have employees who are willing to post updates, share content, and generally maintain your accounts with regularity.
It could be a team effort or you could designate an individual who both wants to do it and has a feel for it. Just make sure that you have a concrete plan in place and your team members understand very, very clearly what is expected of them.
3. Is this the route we want to go?
You’re reading this article, so it’s a safe bet that you believe the answer to this one is a resounding, “Yes!”
But you should take the time to consider your audience. Who are your students? Who are their parents? Are they on social media? If so, which apps, specifically? Facebook? Instagram? Some other, newer app?
And, most importantly, ask yourself: “is social media the best way to connect to our particular community, given their personalities, preferences, etc.?” Maybe your students’ parents would rather you put the effort into holding in-person meetings, creating a newsletter, or using some other medium to engage with them.
It could be helpful to do a survey to get a better sense of who your community is and what they would like.
Remember: it takes a lot of energy, effort, and time to maintain a social media account the right way, so make sure you know why you’re doing it before you worry about how to do it.
Click below to read Part 2 of our School Lunch and Social Media series, “Choosing a Channel,” where we explain how to pick the right social media platform to start with.
Looking for ways to improve your School Nutrition program? Click below to see how HSS can help!
Or reach out to us to speak with someone directly about how we can help your team.