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For years, integrating social media as part of a career center’s comprehensive communication strategy was already showing importance. After all, we all know that social media usage has only climbed with each passing year.

Then, the COVID-19 crisis hit. Overnight, we found ourselves working virtually and living socially through online environments. Social media usage skyrocketed and it became our single most important connection to each other, our schools and the world.

When this occurred, the gap between those career centers who were ready — and who understood the true purpose of social media as part of their comprehensive communication strategy — was obvious.

It is all too easy to mistake social media as an online depository for notices and informational postings. Or, said another way, as a digital bulletin board. Do not let that be your career center. It muddles your brand and it is an online crisis potentially of your own making when run that way. No worries, though, because in Ohio we have some excellent examples of how to run it well and correctly.

Among career center superstars are those who showed both their adeptness in using their social media correctly to boost their brand and who showed agility in using it in this supercharged online recruiting environment.

Among the standouts is PENTA Career Center. PENTA overhauled their social media just prior to COVID hitting and they were rewarded with increased engagement with the right type of postings. The “storefront” of PENTA showcased their brand with a steady drumbeat of postings that match their brand. Meanwhile, they reinforced the promotion of critical announcements — such as the announcement of their learning models — by placing those on their website. Why? Because your website should do the heavy lifting for your communication.

This also meant that PENTA was even more ready with recruiting occurring in this supercharged online environment. They increased the use of video testimonials on their social media and they were ready with virtual recruiting. They smartly used their website to do the heavy lifting and they overhauled their recruiting landing pages so that they were even easier to navigate and offered quick registration.

Several others in Ohio did the same. Here are some of our favorite examples:

  • PENTA: Check out their landing page where each program has a video, program information, a career tree and registration for virtual career night.

  • EHOVE: They have a wonderful landing page complete with program videos, lab tours and much more.–94

  • Lorain County JVS: Students can explore potential careers and see student testimonials. Their programs are front and center on their home page.

Branding should never be accidental. It should be comprehensive and deliberate. Plan now so that you are ready for whatever changes come your way.

By Carole Dorn-Bell

Carole Dorn-Bell is a partner with Allerton Hill Communications (AHC). AHC specializes in public school and career center communication. Find AHC online at and on Twitter @outreach_expert or connect with Carole at, via mobile at (614) 787-8771 and on Twitter at @cdornbell.

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