Alert Solutions Blog

Social Media Monitoring in K-12 Schools – The Great Debate

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, May 05, 2015 @ 11:05 AM

When it comes to monitoring students’ public and private social media activity, the laws from state to state vary drastically.

For example, a new Illinois law gives school administrators the ability to demand a student’s social media passwords if they have ‘reasonable cause’ to believe they will find evidence the student has violated school rules.

In California, the law requires school administrators notify parents of any plans to monitor social media and allow students to review whatever information is collected.

According to Justin Patchin, the Co-Director of the Cyberbullying Research Center, many school districts take part in rudimentary monitoring, but it’s rare for K-12 schools to use a service to monitor external traffic around-the-clock.

Why? Well, while there is probably no criminal liability, comprehensive social media monitoring could put schools in difficult positions when it comes to which posts they choose to act upon.

It becomes overly objective, and hard to manage. With that said, many school districts have taken a step back and have started educating parents on how to understand and use popular social media websites.

To help students be safe and responsible on social media, here are some helpful tips k-12 schools can share with parents:

1. Check Privacy Settingssocialmediamonitoring
Check that your privacy settings for Facebook and the Internet are set to the strictest levels.
2. Create Ground Rules
If your kids are old enough to use a computer, they are old enough to understand the rules they need to follow. Breaking these rules should have consequences. Some suggest having all the family members sign a “social media contract”.
3. Keep the Computer in a Central Location
It is much easier to monitor a child’s online activity when the computer is located in a high-traffic zone in the house. Popular places include the kitchen or family room.
For more social media tips for parents, check out this article.

Topics: school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education, social media education, school programs

Content Marketing Personalization – Are You Using It Correctly?

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Apr 30, 2015 @ 11:04 AM

Content marketing refers to the distribution of information that is primarily educational or valuable rather than promotional. This form of marketing is widely used as a method of building brand loyalty and staying top-of-mind among your target audience.

One way content marketing is made more effective is through personalization. Did you know that 95% of B2B marketers segment their content in order to provide personalized material? Truth be told, personalization is one of the surest ways to help deliver relevant content to an entire audience. But it’s not easy!

With such a large majority of marketers segmenting their content and messages, the results may vary. If your content marketing campaign personalization falls short of your expectations, check out the following tips:

1. Start small and ramp up as you move along. AudiencceTargeting-1

Personalization of your entire audience doesn’t happen overnight. Experts suggest starting slow and steady. Be methodical in learning about your entire audience by segmenting demographically, behaviorally and dynamically; not one or the other.
2. Anticipate preferences with click-through patterns.
Analyzing click-through patterns can help shed light into what your audience is interested in. And while you can’t guarantee their interests will be the same next week, this can help shape the content of your next campaign nonetheless.
3. Don’t forget: Too much personalization may not be best.
Use caution when applying content personalization. Going overboard may faze recipients who think you know too much about them.
Remember, content personalization ultimately requires you to know your leads and customers personally so you can deliver the best, most relevant content to them.

Personalization and Segmentation Download the Best Practice Kit!

Topics: personalization, list segmentation, content marketing

Bullying and Cyberbullying in K-12 Schools: The Startling Statistics

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Apr 28, 2015 @ 11:04 AM

Bullying and cyberbullying in K-12 schools is an age-old problem. However, school violence cases – including the Marysville School District school shooting tragedy last fall – highlights the serious and sometimes deadly consequences of bullying behavior. Here are some starting statistics:

Bullying Statistics

1. Nearly 160,000 students miss school each day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students.
2. Every 7 minutes a child is bullied, and 85% of the time there is no intervention.
3. Bullied students tend to grow up more socially anxious and require more mental health services throughout life.
Cyberbullying Statistics
1. Only 7% of parents are worried about cyberbullying, yet 33% of teenagers have been victims of cyberbullying.
2. 1 Million students were harassed, threatened or subjected to other forms of cyberbullying on Facebook last year.
3. More than 85% of social-media using teens say they have seen someone be cruel to another person on social media.
These statistics have prompted politicians across the country to pass anti-bullying legislation in their states. Here are a few common components of these laws:
  A definition of bullying consistent with the definitions specified in state law.
2. Reporting Bullying Incidents
This includes a procedure for students, student families, staff, and other school community members to report incidents of bullying, including a process to submit such information anonymously and with protection from retaliation.
3. Responding to Bullying
This includes a procedure for promptly investigating and responding to any report of an incident of bullying or cyberbullying, including immediate intervention strategies for protecting the victim.
Are you familiar with the anti-bullying legislation in your state? Click here to find your state law.

Create an Anti-Bullying Strategy Download our Guide!

Topics: bullying, cyberbullying, school announcement, school safety, power announcement, powerschool, education, school programs

Commercial Property Sector Sees Growth! Success Tips for Property Managers

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Apr 23, 2015 @ 11:04 AM

The commercial real estate market, along with many other segments of the economy, has seen a rebound in activity.

According to a study by the National Association of Realtors, commercial real estate agent earnings are at an all-time high! Commercial property managers are expected to pick up the pace and further develop this industry.

MultiBriefs has released a helpful article for commercial property managers looking to capitalize on the market’s rebound. Here are some tips:

1)    Don’t Fall Behind on Property Maintenance
Some property managers don’t know that the highest ranking factor of a tenant’s lease renewal decision is the quality of property maintenance!
2)    Be Proactive with Commercial Property Upgradespropertymanagement-2
The less your tenants have to worry about your property’s infrastructure, the more they can focus on building their own operations. Not to mention, keeping a property outfitted with the latest in technology and security can help retain your tenants and keep them satisfied.
3)    Improve Energy-Efficiency at Your Properties
Commercial property managers that commit to “going green” are said to attract more considerate tenants to their properties. Green buildings can also help your tenants save considerably on their utility bills. It’s a win-win!
4)    Communicate Effectively with Tenants
MultiBriefs says it best: “All of the above…would be rendered useless unless there is a clear, precise two-way communication established between the managing team and the clients in a commercial property.”
Did you know Alert Solutions helps property managers maintain consistent communication with their tenants by reaching them in the most-preferred methods? Download our Guide to Effective Tenant Communication for some tips and tricks!
To read the rest of the article from MultiBriefs, click here.

Topics: property management, tenant communication, tenant notifications

Get the Most Out of E-Rate – 4 Tips for K-12 Schools

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Apr 21, 2015 @ 10:04 AM

K-12 schools across the U.S. have the opportunity to take advantage of funding available through E-Rate – a federal program that connects k-12 schools and libraries to the internet at a discount of 20-90 percent.

Back in December we shared information on our blog about the changes the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made to E-Rate. These changes increased E-Rate program funding from $2.4 billion to $3.9 billion.

To help K-12 schools and districts looking to take advantage of E-Rate funding, we’ve shared the following 4 best practice tips from EdTech Magazine.

1. Start Early!erate
K-12 schools should start the process as early as possible, asking the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) any questions they may have. Plus, completing the application early has its perks! K-12 schools that apply first get reviewed first and will receive funding in the first wave of approvals.
2. Read the E-Rate Modernization Orders.
Confused about what changes the FCC made to the E-Rate program? We understand! Try reading the Modernization Orders on USAC’s website. These documents provide K-12 schools with valuable information and even include a list of frequently asked questions.
3. Plan for the Future.
The FCC no longer requires K-12 schools to submit a technology plan to get funded. However, K-12 schools should evaluate their project needs and plan two-three years out. This way, administrators can ensure they get the funding they need when they need it.
4. Use USAC’s Free Educational Resources.
USAC’s website includes a ton of print resources and educational videos that help take K-12 schools through each step of the application process. School administrators can even sign up for training events throughout the country!
How does E-Rate funding benefit your schools? Share your thoughts on our blog!

Topics: school announcement, educational technology, power announcement, powerschool, education, school programs, e-rate

Patient-Preferred Communication Methods Depend on Message, Says Survey

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Apr 16, 2015 @ 11:04 AM

Patients today receive several types of reminder messages from their healthcare provider. They are sent for various reasons: upcoming appointments, recall notices, and collection reminders – to name a few.

As part of Meaningful Use Stage 2, “eligible professionals” are required to send these reminder messages as needed.

But did you know that patients prefer different methods of communication for different types of reminders? That’s according to results of a FICO survey administered to over 2,000 patients in 14 countries.

You may be surprised to see what types of communication methods patients prefer for each. Here are the results:

Appointment Reminders:DoctorMobileApp-1
41% - Voice
33% - Email  12% - SMS Text Message 

Recall Reminders:
40% - Email
23% - Voice
13% - Snail Mail
Medication Reminders:
54% - No reminder!
18% - Email
15% - Text Message
It’s important to remember that not all patients are the same. Yours could be different!
Does your medical practice currently send reminder messages using patient-preferred communication methods? If not, here are some tips:

1. Check Your Patient Portal. Some patient portals allow patients to select and update their communication preferences whenever they need to! 

2. Ask Patients Directly. Many medical practices now ask patients on check-in forms during an office visit. This allows the patient to choose the type(s) of messaging that meets their communication needs.
Sending reminder messages using patient-preferred communication makes a positive impact on patient satisfaction.
For more patient communication tips, download our best practice guide here.

Download the Patient Communication Best Practice Guide!

Topics: multi-channel messaging, appointment reminders, Medical, patient communication

High School Graduation Rates Reach All-Time High in U.S.

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Apr 14, 2015 @ 10:04 AM

In 2013, the high school graduation rate in the US reached an historic 81 percent, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Despite this achievement, college enrollment across the U.S. dropped to 66 percent – the lowest rate since 2007.
Question: Why is the number of Americans graduating high school rising while the number of those making it into college dwindling? The relationship between high school graduation and college enrollment deserves a closer look.
Key Findings
When analyzing the data, four of the top six states with the highest high school graduation rates are located in the Midwest:graduation
- Iowa
- Nebraska
- New Jersey
- North Dakota
- Texas
- Wisconsin
The high concentration of Midwest states on this list was noticeable. What is surprising is that only one of the top six states for high school graduation rates showed up in the top 10 for college graduation rates. Seven of the top 10 states with the highest graduation rates are located in the Northeast:
- Rhode Island
- Massachusetts
- Connecticut
- Pennsylvania
- California
- Iowa                                                       
- New York
- Wyoming
- Delaware
- Maine
There could be many reasons why there is a disparity between high school graduation and college success. One answer might be financial. Polls show three out of four Americans believe college today is too expensive.
Why do you think there is such a disparity? Share your thoughts on our blog!

Topics: school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education

Make the Most of Your SMS Text Messaging Campaign – Add Voice!

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Apr 09, 2015 @ 12:04 PM

SMS text messaging continues to be one of the most direct channels of marketing and advertising. According to Juniper Research, 90% of text messages are read within minutes of delivery. This rapid open rate is unmatched by other communication channels.

Nonetheless, businesses know that SMS text messaging isn’t the best fit for all of their subscribers. That’s the importance of sending a multi-channel campaign.

So what channel is best to incorporate with your SMS text messaging campaigns? That’s easy, voice! Think about the following when you are planning your next SMS text messaging campaign:voiceSMS

Advantages of Adding Voice
1. Accessibility
Voice calls can be delivered to land lines for those that don’t have a mobile phone or can’t accept text messages. They also allow businesses to better communicate with the visually impaired.
2. Flexibility
As a text is limited to 160 characters, voice call scripts can be much longer. Voice also allows you to send recordings in your own familiar tone, use text-to-speech or automatically translate into the spoken language of the recipient.
Considerations Before Adding Voice
1. Legalities
Familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations before adding voice to your SMS campaign.
2. Send Time
Avoid making early morning calls or calling after 9 PM. If you want to target answering machine deliveries, launch your voice broadcasting campaigns in the middle of the day, and for increased live answers, launch voice calls from 6-8 PM.
Did you know Alert Solutions offers voice broadcasting? Download our brochure today!

Topics: multi-channel messaging, SMS text messaging, voice broadcasting, voice broadcasting best practices, SMS Best Practices, mobile marketing

4 Parent-Teacher Communication Tips for K-12 Schools

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Apr 07, 2015 @ 11:04 AM

From creating a welcoming school climate to establishing effective school-to-home and home-to school communication, K-12 schools across the country are working hard to increase parent engagement.

Did you know students with engaged parents are more likely to earn higher grades, attend school regularly and have better social skills?

More than information about the school, parents want to know what their kids are doing in the classroom. Providing parents with this information can create strong and effective partners for teachers.

Below are 4 tips to help k-12 schools create a robust parent-teacher communication plan:

1. Set Your Objectives
Don’t communicate with parents just to check it off your to-do list. Create a conversation that helps your school achieve its goals. Do you want to improve student attendance rates? Do you want to reduce low lunch balances? Whatever your goals are, keep them in mind when creating your parent-teacher communication plans.

2. Communicate High Expectationsteacherparents-1
Research confirms the engagement of parents and families in their children’s education is critical to a student’s academic success. Your parent-teacher communication plan should be designed to set high expectations for student performance in class. This will put parents on your side and enable them to reinforce your expectations at home.
3. Be Aware or School-wide Communications
Know that parents will not only be hearing from teachers. From emergency situations and unexpected school closures to the latest anti-bullying initiatives, the school will be communicating with them about school-wide issues as well.
4. Use Communication Methods That Work For Parents
The NSPRA survey asked parents to share their preferred method of school communication for school news. Electronic communication was the clear winner. The top 3 answers included email, a telephone/voice messaging system and an online parent portal. Using multiple communication methods allows parents to hear from you in ways that work for them.

Are you interested in expanding parent-teacher communication at your school? Check out Alert Solutions’ Suite of School Notification Systems today!

Topics: school notifications, school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education, parent engagement, parent communication

3 Ways to Improve Tenant Retention Rates with Property Maintenance

Posted by Nina Caliri on Thu, Apr 02, 2015 @ 10:04 AM

Did you know the highest ranking factor for a tenant’s lease renewal decision is the quality of the property maintenance service provided? It’s true!

Believe it or not, the service your property maintenance team provides is more important to tenants than creature comforts and even the appearance of the apartment itself.

Now that you know how critical property maintenance is, we’ve compiled a list of 3 tips property managers can use to improve tenant retention rates.

1. Identify Common Property Maintenance Service Requestspropertymaintenance
The property maintenance service team should identify the 10 most common maintenance requests at their rental property. After that list is complete, the property maintenance services team should create a troubleshooting document to help tenants resolve these requests on their own (i.e., reset button on garbage disposal).
2. Follow Up on Every Property Maintenance Service Request
Reach out to all tenants that submit a property maintenance service request to ensure they were completed effectively. Better yet, reach out to tenants using their preferred communication method. Many property managers are even ‘going green’ with paperless communication!
3. Nurture Tenant Communication with the Property Maintenance Service Team
Property management is a 24/7 business.  By keeping an open line of communication, property managers and the property maintenance service team can correct problems with tenants that might otherwise lead to an empty unit. Property managers who stay in touch are more likely to have high tenant retention rates and tenant satisfaction. 

Alert Solutions offers a tenant communication platform for property managers! We help property managers provide personalized tenant communications instantly via multiple communication channels like email, voice and SMS text messaging.

Download more information about Resident Reach today.

Alert Solutions' Resident Reach Download the Brochure!

Topics: property management, tenant retention, tenant communication, tenant notifications

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