5 Social Media Strategies for Local Government Engagement

5 Social Media Strategies for Local Gov Engagement
Posted on 09/17/2018
CivicLive Blog - 5 Social Media Strategies for Local Gov Engagement

Social media is an important part of operating a local government. More and more citizens are active on various social media sites, using them for entertainment, but also as a main source of news and updates, with 67% of Americans reporting that they get at least "some of their news on social media." It’s for this reason that local governments should work towards building an active, well-planned and organized social media strategy. You might not know what strategies to use for your government’s social media sites, below, we list five you should definitely consider.

1. Build Awareness

A constant struggle in government is encouraging citizens to be more actively engaged in politics. In the past ten years governments and politicians have begun to use social media as a way to build political awareness among citizens. In fact, the last three U.S. presidential elections relied heavily on social media, particularly focusing on swaying public opinion. A 2015 report from the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) determined that 76% of congressional members agreed that "social media enabled us to have more meaningful interactions with constituents."

Most famously former President Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential win was heralded for its ability to capture the youth vote through its use of social media. The fact is, social media makes it easy for candidates, members of congress and governments to interact with citizens anywhere, anytime.

2. Public Safety

Another way governments can strategically use social media is to incorporate it into their crisis management plans. Weather, terrorism, major accidents—all of these require effective communication between a government and their residents. Social media is one way to quickly communicate with citizens on a mass scale. Social media can also be used to monitor news sources, citizen responses, questions and rumors.

3. Town Halls and Council Meetings

Not everyone can make their way to a town hall or council meeting—family obligations, work shifts, or even disability may prevent residents from attending important government gatherings. But, you can easily use social media to stream city meetings (YouTube is one way to do this). You can also create hashtags that you share on Twitter, Facebook and even Instagram, where residents can send in questions or comments they have on current issues being discussed.

4. Post Job Applications

That’s right, use social media to post job applications—many municipalities use LinkedIn to do this, often sharing links to their LinkedIn job board through Facebook, Twitter and even Instagram. Sharing job postings via social media helps broaden the scope for job applicants, meaning your government will have more choice.

5. Self-Promotion

Social media provides the perfect medium for governments to talk about themselves. In the age of digital media, self-promotion is vital to fostering engagement and effective communication. The more your citizens, businesses and visitors know about what your government is doing, the more likely they are to take part—whether that’s in town halls and council meetings, fundraisers, or other municipal events.

Self-promotion also provides local government the perfect opportunity to modernize their branding and maintain (or improve if need be) their public image adding a personal touch to their brand as a whole, but also individual departments. Social media can be used to highlight city staff, humanizing your government.

Know Your Strategy

Social media can be a local government’s best friend—that is if you use it strategically. Knowing how you want to use your social sites, their main purposes and how you’ll oversee them is the best way to ensure you get the most out of the time you dedicate to social media. It’s important to keep in mind: you don’t need to use every strategy for social media, but having one or two helps your sites maintain perspective, enabling you to connect with your residents to the best of your abilities.

West’s CivicLive solutions is a complete eGovernment suite of digital solutions that foster citizen engagement and modernize local governments. To learn more about CivicLive, contact us today.

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