The 4 Tenets of Internet Safety That Education Marketers Should Pay Attention To

We live in the digital age where access to information is constantly available. There are advantages and disadvantages to being so connected. Users of technology, whether students or adults, must understand the risks and responsibilities when it comes to internet use. During the final months of school, I focus on internet safety with my students. These four basic aspects of online safety are important to be aware of as you try to connect with potential customers.

1. Over-Sharing Information.

Check out any social media site, you will find many examples there. Profiles are made public, posts include personal information, and pictures have people and places tagged. Predators are lurking on these sites. They prey on users that share personal information, pictures, and private details of their lives. Some of this is done accidentally and sometime this is done without users understanding the risks. Lately, I’ve noticed many adults posting vacation pictures while on vacation! For your safety, wait until after your adventures before posting. You never know who is viewing or sharing your personal information and location (away from home).

Why does this matter to education marketers?

When inviting educators to engage with your brand on social media, be careful about asking them to share too much. There are many rules and regulations about student privacy, including sharing photos of students without their parents express permission. So don’t put educators in an awkward position by requesting that they post pictures of what’s happening in their classrooms. If your requests for participation cross boundaries educators will soon stop visiting your social media platforms.

2. Be a fact checker.

Not everything is what it seems. Before you re-post that horrifying story you just read, check out the facts. There are many online sites that help you verify those stories. Also, phishing scams are on the rise. These scams and viruses can cost you hard earned money if you take the bait. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.  

Why does this matter to education marketers?

3. Be sure to cite your sources, link to background research, and make it easy for educators to verify the information you’re posting.

And make sure you’re fact-checking anything you might re-post. What you share, whether you are the original source or not, is a reflection of your company.

4. Protect your accounts.

Use alpha and numeric passwords that help decrease your chances of being hacked. Remember to change your passwords every few months and do not use the same password for other accounts. There are apps that can help you with this. Check out the reviews before using any of them. 

Why does this matter to education marketers?

Be sure to protect your users by requiring strong passwords when they set up their accounts. Also share your data privacy policy with visitors to your site and when educators sign up for content or other resources. Assure educators that you take their privacy seriously and have safeguards in place to protect them.

Leave a positive digital footprint. Educators form impressions of and relationships with your organization through social media. What you post and how you respond creates a persona that will influence perceptions, engagement and purchasing. Remember...

  • Customers can leave negative feedback. Make a plan for how you’ll respond to turn that frown upside down. 
  • Customers also leave positive feedback. Make a plan for how you’ll thank people for sharing good thoughts and how you’ll encourage other educators to do the same.
  • To reply promptly to messages sent through social media as well as posts directly to your account. Social media has become a customer service channel for many resources so take these messages as seriously as you do direct phone calls or emails to your support system.
  • To not just promote your product or service. Use your social media channels to provide ideas, inspiration, encouragement, and support to educators.

By understanding the risks and responsibilities of the internet you can navigate the online waters, surf safely, and use your knowledge to reach potential customers and gain their trust.

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About the Author

Teresa Marchant a Teacher Librarian at Lockwood School in Billings, Montana. She has been an educator for 20 years and has served as the Professional Development Committee Chair in her school district and on the board for the Montana Library Association. Additionally, Teresa has been part of team responsible for writing state and local Library Information Literacy standards. She holds a Masters in Educational Technology with an emphasis in Online Instruction from Montana State University as well as a certificate in School Library Media from the University of Washington. She loves learning and enjoys helping others which makes her an awesome school librarian. 

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