Chosen because Randolph’s Twitter feed is populated with tons of tweets from faculty and we wondered, “How do they get that kind of participation?"
Rebecca Moore, Randolph School’s director of communications, had the same problem many school marketers have with their Twitter channel—how to push out great content with great frequency when you’re only one one or two people. The answer is to get other community members to do it, too, creating a team of on-the-spot “reporters” anywhere and everywhere cool stuff happens. “Yeah, try that at MY school,” I hear you cry. But Rebecca did it, and maybe you can as well.
As Rebecca tells it, “The School's Twitter account gained traction through spring trips and the state soccer championships a few years ago. On the trips, rather than a few people burning their photos onto disc when they returned, they started sharing the pictures as they happened, and we used hashtags to curate and reshare. Older students—grades 8 and up—also took part. During the soccer championships, a few teachers live tweeted the games and that was really fun. Now most teams have accounts and we do a live feed for big games and Friday night football. The more stuff like that happens, the more people join and the more parents and alumni and students follow.”
But Randolph took it a step further. Ready to create a new viewbook, Rebecca decided to crowdsource its photography. She hoped that this would bring images that were authentic moments of the Randolph experience. She created #rstories13 and invited teachers to take pictures and share them. Twitter made it easy and spontaneous—much easier than asking faculty to learn how to post photos via the website.
“Teachers are cautious about social media,” says Rebecca, “but if you can offer support, guidance, and positive feedback, then it can be a real win for authentic storytelling. And by using a hashtag, especially when it comes to students, they are offering a contribution and joining the conversation rather our eavesdropping on them.” Rebecca conducts social media training sessions for students, faculty, staff, and parent admissions ambassadors. (A tweet from one of the admissions ambassador sessions is pictured above.) She models her guidelines from—and gives credit to—Hamilton College.
The result is an active Twitter channel, crowdsourced print and digital viewbook, ongoing photography, the participation of half of the faculty and staff, and a lightened marketing load—a real win for authentic storytelling.
And the rstories hashtag continues, like a dynamic Randolph viewbook. Just Google #rstories15.
Rebecca was in my cohort group at the AISAP Summer Institute a few months ago, and I got to see the viewbook first-hand. It’s pretty amazing. Her blog on the process, which included a massive amount of student input, is a fascinating read. Randolph also created a video about it.