With most of our advertising and interaction happening on social media, it’s incredibly important to make sure your channels are up to date and show how great your Early Years setting is! But sometimes it’s hard to know where to start…
Initially, you need to decide what your social media will do:
- Advertising the setting to the families of potential attendees.
- Interacting with the families of current attendees.
- Both advertising to and interacting with the parents/guardians of potential and current attendees.
If focusing on new families you should be more informative, demonstrating everyday life and the benefits of attending. If aiming at current families you can be more familiar, encouraging community spirit and discussions between parents in the comments. If your goal is to engage both these groups, your content can be a mixture of both!
Image & Video Consent
Regardless of how you’re going to use your social media, you will almost definitely need photos of your premises and children. In order to use images of the children in your setting you’ll need to ask parents to sign a release form. A release form enables you to acquire the consent of a parent/guardian to use photographs of their child for various purposes. It is of the highest importance that you keep a record of these forms and ensure any footage used complies with these records. Always ensure that you have safeguarding procedures in place and do not name any children to avoid security issues.
A simple example of a release form can be found here – LINK TO DOWNLOADABLE RELEASE FORM - https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/xnlgw7qqziss59zrbyxpu/Image-release-form-example.docx?dl=0&rlkey=0uzkyb46vcptn7h4kaje9jg9s
It’s a great idea to share images and videos of the exciting activities going on every day, to show potential new families what their child can look forward to or give families of currently-attending children an insight into their little one’s daily life. These could include footage of the children learning, finished art activities or how the room looks after some messy play. New and current families will love seeing what their children could get up to in your care!
Meet the Team
Another option is to introduce your practitioners on social media. While some families may already know the team well, some may not be very familiar with a few faces. Regardless, everyone will appreciate further insight into who is looking after their children. It doesn’t matter how serious your ‘meet the team’ is – it could be describing their proudest moments as Early Years practitioners or talking about their favourite type of cake – as long as their professionalism and passion for childcare shines through.
Pandemic or not, any ideas you can give parents/guardians to continue their child’s learning and entertainment at home will be hugely appreciated, so why not post some home-friendly activities? Help current families feel more of a part of their child’s education by demonstrating some follow-on activities for home, and help new families get a taste of what their child could be doing every day with you!
Some ideas could be art projects, nature walks or interactive story times.
Dates for the Diary
Even if your children’s families are really on the ball when it comes to remembering events, it’s always good to make sure you put out some reminders. Scheduled event reminders encourage people to take part and demonstrates how busy and exciting you are.
Some of these may sound obvious, but following a few simple rules will make sure silly mistakes don’t give a bad impression of your EY setting:
- Continuity – is just one person going to post, or will it change between the team? Make sure you set out some simple rules, such as always saying you setting’s full name, or making sure your logo is always included in images.
- Spelling – the fastest way to jump from seeming professional to seeming completely amateurish is with spelling mistakes. Always triple-check posts!
- Anonymity - never name a child in an image/video.
The more you post online, the more opportunities you have for people to learn about and interact with your setting. A family member could share a post about an art project to show friends what their child made, or share the results of a home activity plan. Make sure you don’t spam your followers – one or two posts a day is more than enough to keep people engaged. Remember – quality over quantity!
The main priority with your social media accounts is to connect with more people - whether they’re aware of your setting already or not - and show what you have to offer in the best way possible. The more work you put in, the better results you’ll get out. So start posting!