The good news is that there are a number of easy-to-use tools that can help you manage the process. Below we look at five different problems that arise as you monitor, plan and deliver social media, and the market leading solutions in each category. In every case, it's worth trying two or more for free before making any financial commitment - and as always, if you're using a better or different tool, please add it in the comments.
Problem 1: Viewing and posting across multiple social media channels
Once you move from one to more social media channels you face the task of cutting and pasting words and reposting pictures and videos to multiple apps or websites. There are however many tools that offer the easy solution of posting the same message to multiple platforms.
For small schools it's difficult to look beyond Hootsuite and Social Pilot which both offer a free basic package of up to 3 social media accounts. For larger schools Social Pilot's Basic Plan ($4.99/month) and Hootsuite's Pro plan (£6.99/month) compete with more corporate-focused alternatives such as eClincher (starting from $15/month, 1 month free trial).
Looking at some social media users it seems that they never sleep. Schools can't provide 24-hour service, 365 days a year, but you can make sure that the right messages (like a reminder of events the evening before they happen) are received at the right time by clever use of scheduling software.
Hootsuite, eClincher and Social Pilot all allow scheduling, but it's also worth looking at Buffer, a product built around scheduling posts that will also suggest the best time for your posts. Again, Buffer has a limited free option, with an extended Awesome (sic) plan for $10/month and more expensive corporate plans.
If you're building up your social media over time, the biggest increase in workload often seems to come with Twitter. This often happens because schools who are happy with one Facebook page or Instagram account then create multiple Twitter accounts based in different departments that can be shared centrally.
The best solution if you're in this position is to use Tweetdeck, in particular because it's free for as many accounts as you have.
The tools above will allow you to tailor the same message to different social media platforms but an alternative solution that speeds this up even more is IFTTT ('If This Then That'!). This solution allows you to create simple links between social media platforms, as well as developing you own more complex relationships. So, if you want to automatically resize your Instagram snaps and share them on Twitter, or on Pinterest, there's already a recipe (as they call them) set up for you.
And as you explore the solution you also find some other useful recipes for situations well removed from school social media management - including the one that turns your phone to silent when you arrive at work (great when you're sitting in morning assembly!).
The final challenge to address results from all the activity above. How do you check what is being said about you - either in response to your posts, or directed at you? Again, the likes of Hootsuite and Social Pilot will give you a good idea of this, but if you'd like to spend a bit more effort here, and also track news, blog coverage and competing schools you could try Mention ($29.99/month).