Although we’re already a week into the new year, it’s still not too late to consider some New Year’s resolutions for 2013. When it comes to deploying social media to connect with citizens and constituents, there’s no time like the present. If you’re having trouble getting a social media program off the ground, or trying to determine where to take your strategy next, here’s a few resolutions to consider.
Make it happen.
This should be obvious by now, but your citizens are active on social media. Whether it’s a grandmother keeping tabs on her grandkids from several states away or a college student making plans for Friday night, sites like Facebook and Twitter are not at the leading edge anymore. Social media is in the mainstream. According to Facebook’s data, 73% of those online in the United States have a Facebook page. If you have not considered deploying social media to help connect with citizens, you are missing a chance to interact with your constituents.
Overcome the objections.
It’s hard to find the staff to support social media postings. It’s difficult to track down interesting stories. We’ll be exposed to criticism from citizens.
There are always reasons to avoid kicking off a social media program, but if you prioritize it for your organization, there are always ways to overcome those issues. Use a free collaborative tool like Hootsuite to allow multiple employees to post to the same social media accounts. Encourage staffers and citizens alike to contribute their own content through e-mail reminders and even signs at key locations around town. Leverage the local paper for fresh daily content. Be prepared to use any citizen complaints as a moment to demonstrate exceptional customer service.
Keep things fresh.
Based on the time your organization can devote, determine a posting schedule, and stick with it. Maybe you’d like to try an ambitious daily posting schedule, or maybe twice a week makes more sense. Whatever you decide, use those dates as a guidepost to dictate your efforts. You may be surprised how easy it is to find content once you start leveraging searches on sites like Google, Flickr, Pinterest, or Twitter. Your citizens may be creating great photos, videos, or blog posts that deserve more exposure, which has the added benefit of engaging their creative sides and keeping your content stream active.
Social media can have some serious benefits, but it’s meant to be enjoyable. If you are enjoying the opportunity to share good information and communicate with citizens, that spirit will become infectious. However you choose to approach social media, it’s most important to have fun with it. Your audience will notice and maybe have a little fun themselves.