Title

Social Media Marketing and Communications Strategies for School Superintendents

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2014

Abstract

Purpose
– The purpose of this paper is to describe, analyze, and interpret the experiences of school superintendents who use multiple social media tools with stakeholders as part of their comprehensive communications practices. Additionally, it examined why superintendents have chosen to communicate with their stakeholders through social media.
Design/methodology/approach
– Qualitative interviews were conducted with a total of 12 school superintendents; three each from the northeast, south, midwest, and west regions of the USA and Canada.
Findings
– Six themes emerged from the 12 qualitative interviews with the superintendents and from the internet data regarding their social media use. The six emergent themes included: (1) more immediate and more frequent interactions between school superintendents and their stakeholders; (2) greater transparency regarding decision-making and budgeting processes; (3) impact on a school superintendent's personal and professional growth; (4) stronger connections to local stakeholders, to fellow educators, and to the world; (5) use is an expectation: it is no longer optional; and (6) accessing information from the superintendent in a multi-modal way.
Research limitations/implications
– This study was limited to the perceptions of superintendents who currently use two or more forms of social media to communicate with their stakeholders. The study did not include the thoughts and perceptions of superintendents who are only experimenting with social media use, those who have not been able to engage their stakeholders in two-way conversations, or those who have not yet implemented social media as part of a comprehensive communications approach.
Practical implications
– Implications are provided for school administrators, boards of education, and educational leadership programs.
Originality/value
– A unique study into the experiences of school superintendents who use multiple social media tools as part of their communications practices with stakeholders.