Digital engagement has become a critical tool to help create the trust and transparency with which government entities have traditionally struggled. Hundreds of agencies across the country have embraced social media to encourage one-on-one and one-to-many engagement. If you’re not one of them, you’re missing out on valuable residential feedback, and even the opportunity to attract new visitors or families interested in relocating. Can you afford to stay silent while other local governments gain trust and streamline communication? We can’t physically connect in person right now, but that’s no excuse to not make an effort online – in fact, it strengthens the argument that your team should put more effort into building a digital community. If you haven’t already tapped into valuable, free platforms, here are seven reasons you should start utilizing social media right now to stay connected:
- Crime prevention/law enforcement assistance
- Emergency alerts/severe weather updates
- Townhall/council meetings
- Public service announcements
- Road closures/construction
- Local employment opportunities
- Community event awareness
Ok, ready to get started? While popular social media platforms like Facebook may come to mind, there are other options you may not have on your radar. Consider tapping into the following to make the most out of your new digital presence:
Nextdoor: This is a hyper-local social networking platform just for neighbors. This app verifies residents, so you reach your community right where they live. By utilizing this platform, you can build direct relationships and drive awareness in the community.
Instagram: Take advantage of this platform if you’re trying to boost engagement with young adults in your community. Consider that 75% of 18–24-year-olds use Instagram, so if you’re missing out on this platform, you’re missing out on connecting with a huge subset of your residents. Utilize posts, daily stories, and tagging local businesses to promote events and support the local economy.
Twitter: This is an exciting option because it allows for a continual dialogue between local government officials and concerned community members. You can also create polls and get real-time feedback about a community issue. Plus here’s a fun fact to help you boost engagement: according to Twitter, tweets with photos are 62% more likely to be retweeted than plain text tweets.
Want to reach the widest audience possible? Of course you do! Schedule posts in advance to create consistent messaging. Inevitably other high-priority governmental duties can force your digital presence to take a backseat. Avoid a weak online following by developing a monthly content calendar. Keep your team accountable by brainstorming and planning out posts, and be sure to host virtual events to engage with your community on a regular basis.
When used correctly, social media is an effective way to address concerns and solve problems. Still not sure where to get started? Many organizations and associations can help you begin. The National Disaster Preparedness Training Center provides government communicators with emergency-specific social media training. Organizations like Government Social Media and Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL) also play a vital role in sharing best practices, connecting a diverse network of government professionals, and translating marketing and communications strategies that work to improve the service government provides. Want to discuss your social strategy? We are happy to help! RBT CPAs offer a full range of services for our governmental clients. Contact our team today.