One Ohio School Superintendent's Effort to Extend His Reach to His Community Through Twitter

04/23/2014 04:00 pm ET Updated Jun 23, 2014

As a school superintendent effective, accurate and engaging communication is essential. We must reach our constituents -- parents, students, teachers, community members, grandparents -- where they are and when they want information. There is no single way to effectively "reach" everyone; we must be active, nimble and persistent.

Communications strategies must also include subtle activities to "steer" constituents to the desired information. Districts can't simply attempt to push information to all venues. District must be strategic in where information is posted, shared and pushed. Too many posts, emails or stories create noise; noise that in today's world can easily be tuned out. It is simple to hit delete or to pass over seemingly unimportant tweets or posts.

An example of strategically directing constituents to a specific tool is the use of Twitter by the Hilliard City School District when communicating information concerning snow days. The districts superintendent, Dr. John Marschhausen, immediately posts calamity day information on his Twitter account -- @drjcm. The tweet is then also retweeted by the district -- @HilliardSchools. In just a short time @drjcm gained over 1,500 followers and @HilliardSchools gained over 2,000 followers. On one evening, Dr. Marschhausen's tweet that canceled school for the follow day was retweeted over 500 times in 30 minutes and was actually trending on Twitter.

The use of Twitter, purposefully planning to create a reason for students and parents follow both the district and superintendent, has now cultivated an active audience. Hilliard has created a base to share even more information. The goal now becomes tweeting the "right" information as the district has actively expanded its reach. The audience has purposefully expanded but the goal hasn't been met. Reaching the community a step; continuing to grow and improve our communications efforts is a journey.