How the Peel School Board's Twitter account keeps students engaged and laughing

It’s been an interesting decade on the internet, going from no social media at all to now being accustomed to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. in 2016. When used effectively, smartly and strategically, social media can be an incredible tool for connecting and engaging your audience.

As an entrepreneur and co-owner of Mississauga’s premier magazine, my business partner and I absolutely see the value of social media; its helped grow our presence tremendously. Yes, it’s me who handles the Modern Mississauga Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, and I try and find a balance between being witty, informative, humorous and engaging. With so much noise out there via a plethora of websites offering tips/tricks on getting more followers, how to write the “perfect” social media post, etc., it can be a bit overwhelming. 

One of my favourite Twitter accounts is the Peel School Board account (ironic since I don’t have any kids and guitars and cats don’t quite count as children) because they’ve found the formula for tremendous success on their social media side. With nearly 106,000 Twitter followers (we wish we had those numbers! Soon, though…soon!) the team who runs their account has done a stellar job of connecting with their students. With school starting in a few days, I wanted to hear their success story and try and find out what their secret is to running a very successful social media campaign.

It all started in December of 2013, a night before a possible snow day and the Peel Schools Twitter Team (PSTT), who had very limited engagement at that point, started receiving Tweets about whether or not there would be a beloved snow day and some (well, most) were insisting on it. It was at that point when the proverbial light bulb appeared (probably an LED bulb) and they started responding to Tweets in a clever and witty fashion, complete with images. It was through these series of Tweets that they picked up an additional 2,500 followers in one night!
This was a perfect example of recognizing a potential opportunity, capitalizing on it and emphasizing the “social” aspect of social media.

PSTT knows their audience and speaks accordingly in a language that connects with them.  There’s a bit of light slang and pictures and GIFs galore! With the bulk of their followers being students, they slide in pop culture references to increase engagement and also include motivational, inspirational and uplifting Tweets to keep a positive aura around the account. They have a strong handle on what supports and encourages their kids and are in the business of helping kids as much as they can. 

Perhaps the most important aspect is that they help teach the importance of digital citizenship where they help the kids be responsible when using social media. There’s been numerous social media gaffes over the years (some funny, some horrific) and by promoting responsibility, they’re aiming to reduce the chances of a regrettable Tweet.  
They’ve formed great relationships with their students with many graduates continuing to follow their account.  Yes, some adults/parents follow them here but the bulk of the followers are students.
They find the parental engagement comes from their Facebook page and they react/post and their language is obviously altered for this different audience. 

It’s a true team effort here, with posts that include the custodial staff, community events, camps, relevant social issues, cultural celebrations, recognizing student achievements and much more.  

What impresses me the most is that the PSTT is beyond humble with their hard work. They’re here for the students and want them to be engaged and aware of what’s happening in their environment. 

Combining clever humor, speaking in a language that caters to their audience, not taking themselves too seriously and frequently engaging with their followers have helped the Peel School Board Twitter account to be one of the most active and followed accounts in Mississauga. 

And most importantly, they do it incredibly well.

Follow them on Twitter @peelschools and Facebook