It’s finally starting to look like spring here in Milwaukee, or, at least, the snow is starting to melt. I think I speak for many people in America when I say, bluntly, that this winter was bad. It was way too long, too cold, and had far too much snow for my liking… even as someone who lives in Wisconsin.
That being said, I learned a lot about social media and website engagement this winter as we, like many other school districts across the state and country, were forced to close due to the dreaded polar vortex. However, judging by the spikes I saw on our website and social media pages on the “cold days,” it was clear that students and parents (and probably employees too) didn’t wake up and turn on their local news to find out if school was closed. Rather, judging by the increased traffic, most of them likely woke up and checked for updates on their smartphone, tablet or laptop while still in bed (which, I might add, makes it a lot easier to roll over and fall back asleep after confirming that school is, in fact, closed).
As a result, I began examining our social media more closely– who uses our Facebook page? When do they check in? Who follows us on Twitter? How popular is Instagram? As part of this research, I came across this article, in Social Media Today: “Best Times to Post on Social Media.” While the article included lots of great information, when compared to my page’s data, I found that not all of the data, at least for our school district, matched up. For example, our Facebook traffic peaks between 4-9 p.m. during the week (compared to the 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. data cited in the article) while our Twitter traffic peaks after school is dismissed each day (3:30-7 p.m.)
Social media is becoming an increasingly important tool for school districts (as well as businesses and organizations) to communicate with key stakeholders and publics. However, to get the most out it, I recommend looking at your Facebook Page Insights, and Twitter Analytics on a weekly basis, and making adjustments as necessary. (The Twitter Analytics page isn’t as helpful as the insights provided by Facebook Pages, so some trial and error is needed to determine when the largest number of your Twitter followers are active.)