Social media, when used correctly, is an incredibly effective communication tool.
Still, many municipalities that run social media accounts struggle to understand what to do with them. A social presence is important, but it’s tough to build an engaging audience.
Below are five best practices that will help your city build a stronger social media presence.
1. Know Your Audience
When it comes to social media, not everyone in your city is your primary audience. Many municipal communications directors have identified that stay-at-home parents, teachers, and owners of small businesses are the types of people that care most about (and will share) what your city posts. While you may hope that everyone will have some degree of vested interest in municipal affairs, these people tend to be most tied into the community.
2. Share Things That Interest Your Audience
Once you understand who your followers are, create and distribute content that they’ll enjoy. If parents and teachers are your target audience, share information about events for children. For small business owners, post specific information about what your city is doing to help them grow.
The nature of social media means that if you post things that people find inherently interesting, they’ll likely re-post your content on their own profiles, amplifying the impact of your message.
Keep in mind that you don't have to create all the content by yourself. Successful social media profiles do a good job of posting their own content as well as distributing relevant content from other sources.
3. Be a Spark for Community Pride
If you live in a city or town that people love, take advantage of that. As the official social media account, YOU are the one that represents your city and are uniquely positioned to grow city pride.
Share when your city is recognized as a great place to live. Find out what people love about your city so much and post about it. When people post photos of landmarks and beautiful scenery, repost them to increase engagement.
4. Be There When It Matters Most
Social media isn’t simply a form of entertainment. It also becomes an essential way to reach large masses in moments of need. Utilize your platforms to communicate effectively when natural disasters or other important events affect your community. Doing so can minimize levels of widespread panic and proves your inherent value to your citizens.
5. Don’t Feed the Trolls
As a public entity, you will inevitably encounter people who deliberately post provocative or disruptive messages. No matter what you do, these “trolls” will take issue with anything and everything.
There are certain ways of dealing with these pests. Determine a standard set of rules on your social media page so that you can delete posts that don’t meet the requirements. When you are forced to respond to trolling questions, respond with facts and resist from engaging in emotional arguments.