Social Media Scrapbooking: Lessons from Mt. Rushmore

Last summer my family and I had the amazing opportunity to visit Mount Rushmore. Between my husband, our two kids, and myself we took over 350 pictures. Would you like to see them? Hmmm… probably not. Although the photographs have sentimental value to my immediate family, admittedly no one else would find them very interesting.

Yet … how often, as schools, do we scrapbook on our social media channels? We post sports scores, class activities, awards and honors, upcoming events, and other self-promotional material. Of course, we have an extended school family. Parents, students, faculty and staff, and even alumni, may find this information informative and engaging. However, if a school’s intent is to use social media even in part as a marketing tool, scrapbooking definitely falls short. At best, perceptive consumers will recognize an attempt to highlight only the “best and the brightest,” at worst they will not care.

What is the solution? It is not realistic for us to eliminate scrapbooking on social media altogether. It does have its place, but we should consider regular posts that engage a larger audience also. Here are two alternate examples to my originally proposed “350 Pictures From Our Family Vacation” post. I would love to hear more ideas.

1)    “7 Tips for Traveling to Mount Rushmore”
This is what Jay Baer refers to in his book, Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is about Help not Hype, as being “full of use.” Granted this post still has a limited audience. If you are not planning to travel to South Dakota, you will skip it … but it will have a larger draw than my photo album.

2)    “The Attack of the Battery-Powered Fan in the Badlands”
This is a true story, and it is human nature to love a good yarn. Although it may sound unbelievable, our eight-year-old daughter somehow managed to get a battery-powered fan stuck (and I mean really stuck) in her long curly red hair in the middle of the Badlands. Luckily, it is possible to find scissors in the most unlikely of places, and a helpful electrician will know how to reverse the polarity/direction on small motors. As schools, we should take note of the power of storytelling. We all have tales to tell that would appeal to the broader public, not just our constituents.

As for now, we created a cool Shutterfly photo album for our fellow travelers to share. Otherwise, with the exception of the one in this post, we have decided not to publish the other 349 photos.