You should really start with the ‘why’. Why do you want to utilise social media?
Do you want to:
Once you have established your social media needs, this will help in deciding which channels to use.
NDNA member Bilingual nursery Red Balwn Coch (Red Balloon Day Nursery) in Llanedeyrn, Cardiff is a frequent user of multiple social media channels: “On Facebook and Instagram we have more interaction from parents, past, present and future. Yet on Twitter, the majority of interaction comes from childcare professionals, local councillors, councils and charities including NDNA.”
Facebook is great for creating communities of people – perfect for interaction with parents/staff. It also allows for image and video sharing so you can post about what the children get up to throughout the day. It's a good idea to set up a business page including a description of your business, contact details and opening hours. However, if you want to post pictures of the children in your care, and parents are sensitive about public access to these, you might want to consider a closed Facebook group so your staff and parents can chat among themselves, in private.
Twitter is great for short sharp messages, imagery and videos but are your target audience using it? Instagram is also a great tool for imagery and video content.
Take a look at other nurseries channels for an insight.
Survey your parents/staff – what channels do they use, how would they like to be able to communicate with you using social media?
Help sections on social media sites offer step-by-step instructions to setting up accounts, pages and groups. The easiest thing to do is just to search for what you want to do online.
If you’re setting up a Facebook page or a Twitter account for your nursery, think about who will lead on management, maintenance and development of this. Who can keep an eye on it at weekends and out-of-hours?
You should aim to flag up or respond to messages, posts or issues in the same way that you would deal with an urgent phone call from a parent. If your nursery is criticised in a public post online, it’s wise to respond where appropriate, as quickly as possible.
Every day, think about what your followers would be interested in hearing such as:
Your Nursery’s safeguarding policy must cover the use of phone, cameras and social media. Good practice can include not naming children on images and reporting on outings only after the event. Ask parents to tag themselves and not others in your pictures. It’s also your responsibility as an employer to keep your staff safe online.
If you are using photos of children on social media, make sure your policy for this is clear and rigorously adhered to, and that parents are in agreement. A good tip is to focus on the activity rather than the children.
The best way to gain confidence in social media is to get stuck in and learn as you go along. Good luck!