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.
In case you missed it, we recommend you check out the previous articles in this series first, and then come back to this one.
Part 1 explains how to tell if your School Nutrition program should even be on social media in the first place.
Part 2 walks you through the different social media apps that are out there and helps you figure out which one may be best for your particular School Lunch program to start with.
Part 3 discusses the main idea behind posting on social media. It shows concrete examples of how to write your posts to generate real engagement with your audience, and it also lists ideas (with examples) for what to post (and what not to post).
Now, it’s time for Part 4 where we show you how to actually set up your account.
Just remember, no matter which social media outlet you’ve picked, once you set up your account be sure to let everyone know — parents, students, and the other employees at your school — so that they can connect with you on social media. Otherwise, you’ll be writing posts and sending them into a black hole!
Now, let’s dive in!
Facebook is probably the most complicated social media account to set up. The reason is that you want to use a business page instead of a regular profile (there are some benefits we’ll get to in a second). But, Facebook won’t let you just set up a business page. You first need to set up a regular profile. Most people already have one, but if you don’t, Facebook makes that part of it pretty straightforward.
So if you need to, just go to facebook.com and follow the directions for creating a regular account. The good news is that you don’t necessarily need to add any information to this individual account. It can be a dummy account that simply allows you to access the business page.
Once you have an individual profile, here are the keys to setting up your School Lunch program’s Facebook page:
- First, read this article from PC World. This is a step-by-step guide for setting up your program’s Facebook “business” page from scratch. It’s geared toward businesses, so you will find it has some extra information that you don’t necessarily need (like the section on “iframes”). But if you read through the whole thing and just pay attention to the points that pertain to you, you’ll have your account set up by the time you’re done reading.
- As mentioned in Part 1, you can rely on a single person to manage your page or you can make it a team effort. If you want multiple team members contributing, simply add them as administrators (“admins”). Each admin can then access the page through their individual profile.
- It’s best to use photos of your actual team members when choosing images for your banner and profile picture. That will give your profile a more personal feel and will make your audience feel as though they’re communicating with actual people instead of with some faceless School Lunch program.
- The last thing to know before you start writing posts is that you can set your page so that no one can comment on it, or so that when people do comment, their posts first must be approved by you before the comment can be seen publicly on your page. This is a very helpful tool for making sure that nothing inappropriate ends up on your page, and it’s one of the main benefits of using a business profile instead of a regular profile. Facebook is constantly rearranging their setup, but just check under Settings for this feature.
Whereas with Facebook you can use most of the business page for free, Twitter’s business section is mostly geared toward getting you to pay to advertise. Even if advertising were free, you wouldn’t want to do that. (Remember Part 3? Social media is a conversation, not a place to sell!)
Instead, we recommend setting up one regular account regardless of how many people will be using it. Just use a shared email address and a common password that each team member will have access to.
To set up a Twitter account for your School Lunch program, first read Twitter’s own short primer by clicking here. (Don’t sign up for the business version, though. Just read the page and then come back here.)
Then, watch the video below. Just keep in mind here again that this video is geared toward businesses. Still, most of what’s in the video will be relevant to you.
The video doesn’t mention it, but you also can click under “Design” at the top to change the color scheme on your profile to match your school’s colors. That will help to make your profile much more fun and less bland by showing off your school spirit.
Finally, as you may have heard, hashtags are a huge part of Twitter. They’re also used on other social media outlets (Facebook and Instagram, to name a few). What’s a hashtag, you ask? The Instagram video below does a very good job of explaining it simply but thoroughly. Fast forward to 3:40 to hear the explanation. It applies to Twitter just the same.
Unlike Facebook and Twitter, Instagram can only be used on a smartphone. That’s because it’s designed to take pictures on your phone within the app and instantly share them on your account (hence the name: Instagram). There are ways to use Instagram on your computer if you really, really want to, but that involves a lot of technical knowledge. It’s best to just stick to using the phone app.
The video below explains not only how to download Instagram on your phone and set it up, but also how to use it once you register.
Lastly, keep in mind that most kids, including your students, refer to Instagram as “Insta.” It’s not that important, but we figured we’d give you a heads up, you know, since you’re one of the cool kids now. 😉
And that’s it. Now your School Nutrition program is all set to start the journey on social media. Make sure you run it all past the appropriate personnel (principals, etc.) before you start, and be careful about how you use the account and what you post, but otherwise you’ll find that it’s a great way to engage with parents and students and may also increase morale within your team.