Got Social Media??

Got Social Media?  

I’ve been thinking about Social Media lately. It could be because the month of March is our craziest month of promotion, as we Eat Our Way Through The Alphabet for #NationalNutritionMonth. During this month, in the district where I am the School Nutrition Director, we make an extra effort to publicize and promote our #EatYourWayThroughTheAlphabet celebration, posting daily updates corresponding with the letter of the alphabet that we are on, and what fruits & vegetables we are serving. You can check all of this out over at Windham Raymond School Nutrition Program on Facebook, or on Instagram at lunch4kids_rsu14 and on Twitter at @Lunch4KidsRSU14.

More importantly though, with the “relaxing” of the federal school nutrition guidelines and conversations that I have been having with other directors, other school nutrition professionals about their successes & challenges, I’ve started to reflect back on the role that social media has played in our school nutrition success story.  

So… what role did social media play? Certainly, our district does a phenomenal job at providing healthy & delicious school meals that meet the USDA guidelines. We have an amazing team, we have a district chef, we have school gardens, cooking classes for kids, and a lot of passion for providing innovative, delicious, kid friendly, healthy school meals. But here’s the thing: without social media… how would we have informed our customers, decision makers & influencers about what we were doing, what our end product looked like? How could we have so effectively shared our story?  

Sharing our story via social media – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter – has allowed us to provide visual evidence and a narrative about our initiatives. It allowed us to gain the trust & support of parents & other stakeholders in our community. Since launching our social media marketing strategies, our school meal participation increased 80% at breakfast and 15% at lunch. We frequently get requests for recipes, emails of support and thanks. We are succeeding in changing the school nutrition culture in our communities, and social media has been our vehicle for sharing our successes. It’s free, it’s user friendly, it’s accessible.. and it has worked for us.  

School nutrition should not be a “best kept secret” in any community! School nutrition programs should be regarded as the child nutrition experts in the community, providing access to healthy school meals, accessible to all children.

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