Thursday, March 07, 2013

Ditch “The Crawl” & get social with school parents

There’s nothing quite like the anger of a baffled parent who shows up to school with their child – only to find it was actually cancelled, delayed, or there's a special event happening that day.

And we’re not just talking snow or hurricanes. Sometimes it’s those sneaky half-day conferences, holidays and teacher workshops that can wreak havoc on the airtight schedules of busy parents. Or what about those special, last-minute "everyone wear school colors" days? It's not easy for parents - and obviously kids - when they're left out of the loop.

(Don't think you can depend on the "backpack express" to get the word out, especially when the unexpected can happen - a.k.a. Fido or worse.)

There are also events that catch even you, as a school principal or administrator, off-guard. It happens – and you need to act quickly to update the masses.

Many of us at JangoMail are parents, so we feel the pain of miscommunication. (Surprise! It’s bring your kid to work day!) But, we also see the flip side for school officials …

So … the big question: What’s the most efficient way to get the word out to the greatest number of busy parents at the same time, instantly?

The answer: JangoMail’s email integration with Facebook and Twitter will help you do it all effortlessly.

Here’s how: Most parents are plugged in – email, calendar alerts, Facebook & Twitter. And connecting to where your parents are is as easy as offering them a few choices in the places they’re most apt to stay in touch with your school.

The choices:

1. Add an Email List Signup Form to your school’s website.
Most parents prefer email, and it’s a highly effective way to communicate daily updates, weekly newsletters and time-sensitive alerts. You can determine what information you want to collect (name, telephone #s, address, etc.) on JangoMail’s customizable, email signup forms to create distribution lists for specific grade levels, neighborhoods, volunteer rosters, etc.

2. Share the announcement via Social Media.
For parents who are less likely to open emails after work hours, but are plugged into social updates on their mobile devices, Facebook and Twitter are great ways to keep them in the loop last minute. Create a View as Webpage link in your email and share it on your Facebook and Twitter profiles. It's a handy way to guide parents back to your email communications. If you know there’s a lot of chatter on your Facebook and Twitter profiles – or that of your PTO/PTA, take a few minutes to share your announcement on those pages.

Have questions or need some more suggestions? 

We can’t make snow days go away, but we’re pretty good with school announcement emails. Hit us up – we’re here to help!

Here are some memories from around the web that might inspire you to beef up your communications strategies in anticipation of next winter: