Social media can be a very powerful tool for government organizations to connect with citizens. Whether you are using social media to alert a neighborhood of a crime, or are promoting an upcoming event, platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn can inform your audience in a highly-effective and timely way.
As organizations are using social media more and more, it’s becoming an expectation in government to manage the various platforms well. Whether you are a social media novice or expert, here are the top tips for managing social media at your agency:
1. Find a Mentor
You’ve likely heard a friend or colleague mention they were unclear on how to use a new social tool, so they asked their son or daughter for pointers. While not all younger generations are experts at advancing public sector goals with social media, there are users who are perhaps more experienced with the tools themselves. If you have questions on functionality, don’t be afraid to ask. If you are looking for more answers on use social media use in government, check out this recent blog post: A Social Media FAQ for Government.
2. Test What Works
When developing a social media strategy, it’s okay to not have all of the answers right away. Sometimes, it’s about trying a post and seeing what works. Is your strategy to increase engagement? Drive people to your website? Intake feedback or monitor complaints? Depending on your strategy, what works might look different.
He are a few items to consider testing:
- Imagery: Use relevant photos associated with your post. If you’re posting about the same event or subject multiple times, try using a different photo to see what works best.
- Timing: Try scheduling a post to go out over the weekend, when readership is 17 percent higher.
- Wording: Have you considered asked a question to your followers?
- Links: According to Salesforce, 92 percent of Twitter interaction (replies and retweets) happens when readers click links.
3. Take Advantage of Social Media Downtime
Whether you’re scheduling social media posts ahead of time, or recognizing the fact that over-use on social media can backfire, it’s likely that you have some downtime between posting on social media for your agency.
Downtime can be a great opportunity to cultivate a list of stakeholders and influencers. These might be community leaders or boards as they relate to your department, program or organization. Next, search their social channels and make connections with them. Initiating the first move will increase your likelihood that key influencers will engage with you in the future.
Twitter has a strong advanced search capability, so if key influencers don’t immediately come to mind try searching by keywords to find more options.
4. Aim for the “Less is More” Approach
When citizens raise their hand and let you know they are interested in engaging with you on social media, they likely want one clear place to go to make that happen. Whether it’s your official agency account or a hashtag for a program, the opt-in on social media should be as easy as possible for potential followers. For agencies with multiple Twitter or Facebook accounts, it’s understandable how people can get confused on which one they should follow.
This can be challenging for many government organizations, as there can be multiple office locations, expertise levels, and departments within government. By aiming for fewer accounts with a more centralized approach to social media, you’ll have visibility of messaging and will be able to think strategically about the need for adding accounts if you need them. While it’s not always possible, less is more when it comes to social accounts per agency.
5. Be Open to Cross Promotion
Cross promotion with other strategic organizations on social media can be a great way to increase followers and spread your message across multiple channels. Think about the organizations that your agency’s mission aligns with, and reach out to see if they’re interested in cross-promoting your social media posts. And don’t forget to offer up your agency’s social platforms to do the same! When we help each other, we’ll see greater benefits on social media.
Do you have a tip for managing social media in government? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.