7 Tips for Effective PTA Social Media

Social media is one of the most powerful tools a PTA can use to spread its message, but only if it is used effectively. Creating an effective social media presence for your PTA can help you gain members, recruit volunteers, and promote your PTA to potential partners and sponsors. Here are 7 tips to help you get started.

  1. What are your goals? Figure out what your PTA wants to accomplish with social media, whether it is raising awareness, communicating with members of your school community, or getting attendance and volunteers for your events. Being mindful of the results you want will shape how you approach your PTA’s social media presence.
  2. Who is your audience? Your choice of social media and message can vary depending on who you are trying to reach. If you are only targeting your school community and looking to recruit members, share news of events, and have volunteers sign up to help, your free PTA MemberHub account can easily handle all of that and more in one phone app. If you’re looking to spread your message beyond your school walls, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube may be better. Keep in mind that having multiple social media outlets aimed at different audiences works well, but be sure to keep your messaging consistent across them all.
  3. Use the right tool for the right job. Facebook is probably the most common PTA social media choice, but don’t forget the others. Twitter works well for sharing things in real time, as does Instagram for events that have good visual appeal. YouTube and Facebook Live can provide your PTa a way to share PTA meetings, programs, and events with those who can’t attend in person.
  4. Track your success. Most social media platforms provide some tools for monitoring how your posts resonate with your audience. Keep track of followers and subscribers, likes and retweets, and other metrics. Pay attention to which posts generate the most engagement and which ones don’t.
  5. Don’t forget the hashtag. A good hashtag can help you track what others may be saying about your PTA as well. Some popular hashtags that see a lot of use for PTAs include #PTAProud, #DoGoodThings4Kids, #WhyPTA, #PTA4Kids, #PowerOfPTA, and #MembershipMatters. Create a hashtag that identifies your PTA and use it with your posts.
  6. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. There are a lot of different social media platforms, and effectively using them takes time. Assess how much of your PTA resources, including volunteer time, to devote to social media.
  7. Be authentic. In all of your social media posts, be transparent and trustworthy. The news is full of stories of businesses and individuals who handled social media messages poorly or ineffectively, and the backlash can be extremely damaging. Being authentic helps your PTA build a connection with your audience and makes them more likely to trust your PTA, join, and volunteer. Set up procedures to have more than one set of eyes look over posts before they go live to catch typos, review content, and avoid accidentally offending anyone. Consider how someone could misuse or abuse your hashtag or message to convey the opposite of what you intended.

Graphic courtesy of Ibrahim.IDunder Creative Commons license.

PTA Board Responsibilities

For many PTA volunteers, serving on the PTA board is “just another volunteer job.” But in reality, your PTA board is running a non-profit organization, and with that comes responsibilities. Part of those responsibilities will be spelled out in your PTA bylaws and standing rules. Board Sourceprovides many free resources to help your board understand its role and lead your PTA effectively.

As Board Source notes, a lack of understanding what is and is not part of a board’s essential roles can lead to problems such as micromanagement, rogue decision-making, lack of engagement, and more. That certainly aligns with much of Illinois PTA’s experience with local PTAs and Councils having problems, which most often tend to stem from failure to follow the bylaws, ethical issues, or financial mismanagement. Ensuring that your board understands their role can help avoid those problems.

Part of the training that National PTA new requires of state PTA boards covers the fundamental duties of all non-profit boards, and these duties apply to local PTAs as well. Those duties are:

  • Duty of Care:Each board member has a legal responsibility to participate actively in making decisions on behalf of the organization and to exercise his or her best judgment while doing so.
  • Duty of Loyalty:Each board member must put the interests of the organization before their personal and professional interests when acting on behalf of the organization in a decision-making capacity. The organization’s needs come first.
  • Duty of Obedience:Board members bear the legal responsibility of ensuring that the organization complies with the applicable federal, state, and local laws and adheres to its mission.

Beyond those three duties are some basic responsibilities. Board Source identified ten basic responsibilities, and while a few might not apply to a local PTA (who don’t, for example, have a chief executive), most of them can still guide your PTA board. Among them are:

  • Advocate for your mission and purposes.
  • Ensure effective planning.
  • Monitor and strengthen programs and services.
  • Ensure adequate financial resources.
  • Protect assets and provide financial oversight.
  • Build and sustain a competent board.
  • Ensure legal and ethical integrity.
  • Enhance the organization’s public standing.

For PTAs, your mission is clear: to make every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children. Many of the other points are covered in our free PTA training courses, and Illinois PTA strongly recommends that every PTA have board members sign an ethical conduct agreement (available in both English and Spanish in your Illinois PTA online Leadership Resourcesin the President folder).

By focusing your PTA on its mission and advocating for it, by emphasizing that your PTA is in fact a non-profit organization with legal duties and responsibilities, and by ensuring that your PTA board is trained and understands its roles as leaders, your PTA can be even more successful in doing great things for the kids at your school, in your district, and across Illinois and the nation.

Winter Activities for Kids

Whether you’re a “frolic in the snow” or “cozy up around the fire” type of winter family, iMom has lots of suggestions for winter activities with kids. It’s a list of lists with all sorts of things to do with your kids for New Year’s Eve, the Super Bowl, or the “I’m bored” times. Among the lists:

  • 20 Ideas for a Family Fun Night
  • 5 Ideas for Teens on New Year’s Eve
  • 10 Best Classic Movies for Families and Kids

Check out the full list of things to do with your kidsto enjoy the cold winter days.

Making Time for Your Kids

A parent’s life is busy, and the holidays are busier than usual. If you’re having trouble finding time to spend with your kids, All-Pro Dad has a list of ten ways to make time for your children. Among our favorites are:

  • Commit to a family mealtime each day.
  • Identify one thing on your weekly schedule that you can do without and replace it with kid time.
  • Volunteer to participate in a regularly scheduled child activity, such as coaching a softball team or helping with a school activity.
  • Identify one children’s show on TV that you secretly like to watch and make a point of watching it with your child. (Holiday bonus—watch your favorite specials with them!)
  • Develop an interest in a hobby you and your child can share together.

Check out the full list at All-Pro Dad, and consider the question posed at the beginning of their article: what insignificant things are we wasting our time on that are preventing us from spending time on things that really matter?