In this month of advocacy, we want to get the word out. Your parents and administrators need to know what you are doing and why it is valuable to educating the whole child. Social media has become the perfect outlet to do this: posting takes little time and reaches almost all. An added benefit is that you are able to show yourself as the expert in your field. Your readers get to know you and begin to understand how you are helping their child not only learn music, but also excel at all other subjects! The three most popular sites are Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. All three are easy to use and are well known enough to get parents to buy into following you on each of them.
So how do you do it? First and foremost, it is strongly recommended that you create an account in one or all solely for professional use. It is never a good idea to post weekend activities in a place where parents might see them! Second, invite all of the parents of your students, classroom teachers, your administrators and district level administrators who would benefit from seeing your posts. Make sure to check your school’s policy for posting pictures of students. Some parents are not ok with their child on any social media sites, regardless of it being closed to those outside the school community.
What do I post? This is when the fun begins! You can take videos of students singing their concert songs, playing their own compositions and/or dancing a favorite folk dance. Let parents know a thoughtful insight their child had on a particular topic or a funny quote that was said during class. Show parents the day to day activities of what you do and how you do it; post a “behind-the-scenes” look at how you prep for classes. Encourage viewers to ask questions. Post surveys and communicate how important parents are to what we do. Give them ideas on how they can bring music making into the home. What are their kids doing at home that is music related? Hold contests! Invite parents to post photos or pictures of their kids playing, practicing or performing music. Ultimately get them invested in your program. Parents can be our best ally when cuts are on the horizon.
Social media is also an opportunity to promote the Arts on a whole. What concerts, art exhibits, plays and performances are going on in your community that would be beneficial for just parents or for the whole family to attend? Are you performing in any of them? Let your parents know what wonderful activities are happening around town. Remind them that what we promote is fun and benefits the whole community!
Finally, find some times in your schedule that would be convenient and post consistently. Remind parent to check your page in case it doesn’t show up in their news feeds. You can also tag parents when it is a post that you want them to see. They will be so excited to see what their kids are doing in your class! Rarely do they understand all that their kids accomplish in a day! Now is your chance to show them!