No, you don't have to be a digital native to master social media

Most leaders don't take full advantage of the professional opportunities offered by social media, Julie Willcott, an educator at Kennebec Valley Community College and social media consultant, writes for EdSurge.

Willcott draws on research by herself and Audrey O'Clair, an education technology consultant, to share three pillars of a successful social media presence for education leaders.

Before you get started, update (or create) your profiles on each account. Choose social media handles that sound "professional, intuitive, and evergreen," Willcott advises. Update your biographical information. Finally, consider creating separate accounts for your personal and professional posts.

1: Create one post with visual content. Increasingly, the most popular posts have a visual component, such as an infographic, image, or video. If your posts have been exclusively text-based so far, look for an opportunity to include one of those alternate options. Free online tools can help you convert education data into an infographic, Willcott notes.

2: Do background research on your goal audience. The communities on each social media platform have different expectations about content and interaction. Twitter is fairly popular among educators, who use hashtags to find posts relevant to specific topics, Willcott writes. Instagram allows educators to create private accounts that only students and parents can view, and Snapchat is very popular with students and can be a good way to engage them.

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3: Schedule time to write next week's posts. Willcott acknowledges that education leaders are busy, and social media can feel like an endless chore. She recommends scheduling blocks of time for reading and writing posts, which can help prevent social media from taking over your day. She also recommends taking advantage of tools that can help you schedule several posts ahead of time (Willcott, EdSurge, 1/25).

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