Five Ways Your Local Government Can Use Social Media
Social media has changed how information is created, gathered and shared. Not only does social media represent a shift in how information is exchanged, but it has also evolved into one of the most free-flowing arenas for ideas and information on the internet. In its infancy, social media felt naturally derived for the private sector; media, brands, service providers, and many others connecting with consumers and connecting with each other. For governments, citizens are its consumers and social media can be a powerful tool to help manage this relationship. Here are five ways your local government can be using social media to its advantage:
Connecting with Citizens
Let’s be realistic. Your government’s Twitter or Facebook accounts aren’t going to be as interesting as Oprah’s, however, this doesn’t mean that your citizens won’t have an interest in following you. Citizen’s follow their governments because there is an inherent promise that governments provide useful information. Make good on this promise, and you’ll find yourself creating meaningful relationships with your followers.
Social media allows for immediacy, directness, and transparency. Use this to your advantage and you’ll find yourself at the center of your community. Things are always happening – local events, public announcements, crisis situations, and more – be at the forefront of supplying your citizens with the information they need.
Press releases, local advertisements, newsletters, and the likes, are all one-sided approaches to engaging a community. Sure, they broadcast information, however, they don’t particularly encourage a dialogue. Think of Social Media as a live, or ongoing town hall meeting. Social media is your podium, but the floor is always open for Q&A. Unlike an actual town hall meeting, citizens are free to engage freely, without the constraint of time or having to wait their turn.
Humanize Your Agency
Governments are always busy at work but what are they exactly doing? How are decisions being made and who are the people working towards creating change and improving communities? Social media is a great way to chronicle how your government operates and highlight the people behind the effort. If used correctly, social media can become your marketing vehicle and allow you to create positivity out of transparency. Remind your community that you are not just an institution for the people, but real people working for the people.
Protect Your Community
This may sound odd, but social media can be used to create safer communities. We all know that unfortunate events do occur. One of the greatest gifts of social media is mass mobilization. Your citizens can be your greatest assets when attempting to gather information and resolve a difficult situation. From identifying a missing person to bringing a suspect to justice, your citizens have the capacity to help. Empower them to do so.
Protecting your community isn’t solely reactive. You can create content that helps your citizens become proactive. Instructional content that helps communities prepare for life-changing events is a great way to build safer communities.
How is your government using social media? Please let us know in the comments. We’d love to hear from you.
Founder & CEO | Municibid