Multi-media network connects Hillsborough County schools

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Hillsborough County is home to the eighth-largest school system in the country, encompassing more than 250 schools and education centers.

Streamlining how the public school system disseminates information is a huge challenge, especially with the growing number of ways parents, students, educators, and the community want that information delivered. Hillsborough County Public Schools now use a multi-media social network to engage and connect.

Marketing and Social Media Manager Ginian Grayes and her digital team track trends in how the community is consuming information and responds to changing demands, including the increased desire for information on mobile devices.

“We want to make sure we’re mindful of that, and that we’re providing important information to our families in ways that they want to get it, and ways that they’re used to getting it,” says Grayes.

That means expanding beyond a website, Facebook, and Twitter, to platforms popular with younger audiences. Grays recently conducted a focus group with eighth graders, asking which social media platforms they’re on. Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube were the top ones used. In response, the school system launched an Instagram feed for the new school year, and developed sharable graphics packages that educators, parents and students could download. The digital team also produces short videos for YouTube, and recently experimented with live-streaming graduation ceremonies.

If it sounds like a lot of work, you’re right. Every comment or question gets a response, no matter what the platform.

“We’re communicating with our children, and that’s always a great thing,” Grayes says.

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