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Communicating with Gen Z, Their Parents & Grandparents

Communicating with Gen Z, Their Parents & Grandparents

This article about the decline of Facebook use among students age 13-17 and the increased popularity of Facebook with the 55+ crowd has got me thinking: How can I lead an institution specific conversation about social media and its use in strategic marketing and communications? How do we continue to evolve our thinking on the use of social media for teaching and learning outcomes?

Understanding the communication practices of those born after 1995 continue to intrigue and challenge me.  Also, I think the way their parents – those from Generation X and Millennials – chose to obtain information and make decisions is very different from many Baby Boomers. Figuring out where social media fits into this communication continuum is something many organizations struggle to address. For me I think about this in terms of making decisions about where one will go to school and where one will give of their volunteer time and philanthropic treasure to support a cause.

I think many independent schools will need to make dramatic changes in their communications process and products in order to meet the needs and/or expectations of potential students and their parents. It will be important to balance the needs of younger generations with those from other generations who may (but not necessarily so) need a traditional approach to communication. Where does Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Blogger, etc fit into this continuum? How do we support the professional development of our faculty and staff about these message vehicles and help them design strategies for using them in teaching, learning, and marketing? What is it that our communities (and there are many communities within one institutional community) need from us – the institution – in terms of social media messaging?

Once families have decided which school community they – both parents and their child – will choose in Fall 2014, school leaders should want to learn more about the role social media played in the decision process. We should want to know how it supports or does not support internal marketing to current families and retention practices.

As I think about strategies that can help inform how GPS tells its story, I look forward to learning from students, faculty, staff, parents, alumnae, and friends of GPS. I know there is great wisdom within this community and together we will redefine what effective school communication must be to be educationally relevant now and into the 2020’s.

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