Learn about the impact and importance of using social media to engage with citizens.
- [Instructor] As you might expect, companies use social media to sell products, but why does a government agency use social media? It goes way beyond simply promoting a brand, and the most important reason is to engage with the public. When governments first started experimenting with social media, they used it as an extension of their website or press release for one-way communication blasts, not very ideal. I'm happy to say that governments have come a long way and have learned that there is more value in engaging in two-way dialogue with citizens on social media.
Today, social media can be used in sophisticated ways to support the mission of your agency and get real results. For example, law enforcement can use social media to crowdsource surveillance footage and help solve crimes in the community. That's what the Orem Police Department does with their #TattletaleTuesday posts on Facebook. These posts actually have a good success rate in catching criminals. Many agencies get results by creatively working with the public on social networks.
Take the Tennessee Department of Transportation. They integrated social media with a really unique crowdsourcing contest to create highway message signs. It's lighthearted and fun, but the people who participate also learn about traffic safety. So beside solving crime and promoting safety campaigns, public agencies use social media in a ton of other ways, including customer service, recruitment, gathering input, communicating during crisis, and humanizing their agency.
Let's talk about that last one, humanizing government, because trust in government officials is at an all-time low all over the world. Take a look at this Edelman Trust Barometer. This annual international survey shows that government officials are seen as the least credible people, so there's a big value in humanizing government. When agencies are able to relate to citizens on social media, it helps build trust. One popular technique for humanizing government is to show citizens what it's like behind the scenes, like the city of Roanoke, Virginia.
Here on Facebook, they're showing live video of staff members grilling out at a recruitment event. People love getting an inside look at things they just don't see every day. The fact is, you can use a lot of techniques to engage on social media, but at the end of the day, strive to bring value to your agency through meaningful interactions with citizens. Think about it, your social media presence might just be the only way some people ever interact with your agency, so please make it count.
- Putting together a social media program structure
- Establishing a social media policy
- Public records and archives
- Comment moderation and freedom of speech
- Employee use of social media
- Improving service delivery
- Best practices for managing your agency's social media
- Writing a social media strategy
- The use of humor on government social media
- Dealing with negativity
- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn for government