Seven Social Media Tips For Local Government

Increasing Constituent Satisfaction and

Citizen Involvement

 Step 1: Understand how the agency is being portrayed in social media.

A person, business or institution does not have to be an active user of social media to have a social media presence.  People online are already talking about you – the good, the bad and the ugly.  Moreover, for a public agency, there are important topics and issues that are being addressed in social media that government can have a positive role if it is aware of online public sentiment.  So, the first step to engaging in social media is to listen to cyberspace and analyze what is happening.  Continue reading “Seven Social Media Tips For Local Government”

Creating the right message

Emergency "Twitter was down so I wrote my...
Image via Wikipedia

I am creating a powerpoint tool to walk my clients through the social media message-making process.  If you can relax for just three minutes – long enough to read this post – I’ll let you know what it does:

I am a publicist. In my world, the message rules. The technology (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flicker, YouTube, Google Analytics) is simply a tool to serve the message. Knowing about all the technical bells and whistles has as much to do with social networking as sports announcers spouting box scores have to do with winning the baseball game.  In sports, it’s the athletes.  In publicity, it’s the message.

Everything starts by defining your online ‘voice.’  The voice must be simple, direct and transparent. This is true of all effective publicity.

“I’ll be back.”

“Heeeeeare’s Johnny!”

“What ju talken’ ’bout, Willis?”

Technology is fantastic. I listen to Irish radio live on my phone. As you know, the Irish are known for their wonderful word smithing. This morning, a news columnist who wanted desperately to keep a specific area – a remote peninsula jutting into the wild Atlantic Ocean – preserved as-is was interviewed. Her key message: “above all, no cars.” Simple, direct, transparent. Common sense, really.

Irish coast
Image by K2D2vaca via Flickr

She did not focus on the people and interests who want the area developed for tourism. She didn’t counter complex arguments about jobs, the economic development, politics, the environment, etc. making it a point; counter-point debate. Instead, she characterized the place as “shutting the door behind you” to enter a world of silence away from the noise of the modern world. “If you like silence, this place must be preserved. That means no cars.” No cars. That’s her catch-phrase, her mission, her message. Our job is to develop the same message simplicity for you, too.

What is your “no cars” catch-phrase? Let’s find it and use it. Remember, the message rules!

First, we need you to express your voice effortlessly in a simple of manner. Then, we add volume, lots and lots of volume. The real difficulty is keeping the transparency (honesty/authenticity).  That is the first place most social media campaigns fail.

Your friends and fans, prospects and clients,  strangers and nair-do-wells don’t want to read what your ad agency says you should say.  Nope.  They want to hear your voice. They want to know, “Hey, YOU – Cars? No cars? What do YOU think? Oh, you’re in business, too? Cool. My sister needs two of everything you got.”

I solve the challenge of transparency by asking you up front to define the following:

  1. What are the three things professionally you do better than anyone else? [What makes you uniquely qualified? What is your niche in the marketplace?]
  2. What are the three biggest problems your best clients need solved?
  3. What are the three biggest problems you solve for clients best?

We use your own answers to craft three very simple general messages that reflect the values you and your little township of prospects and clients have in common. Those messages are then translated into posts using a variety of grammatical devices such as analogies, similes, examples, etc.

The posts are then linked to either your web page, your blog or something else. The idea is to:

A) Always offer genuine value

B) Be a good (social networking) neighbor

C) Engage your fans!

Every post has a link.  Every post is written to offer genuine value.  Every post reflects the values and priorities you have in common with your clients.

Once we have your voice defined, here’s what I do:

  • Distribute your key messages cleanly using LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
  • Generate up to one post-per-hour (8/day – 56/wk) (can be pre-approved)
  • Create a conversational mix with about 1/5th being direct sales-oriented and the rest being your key messages (see fb page as example).

Beyond, this, as we drill down, we customize to include key words (SEO), web site landing page copy, blog posts, etc. within a comprehensive/holistic communications strategy. But it all revolves around the message – your key messages.

Why not do SEO and web copy first?  Why not post funny quotes and links to your site? Why not write a blog about your business.  Why not?  Because the message rules! We get the message nailed first.  From a compelling, pithy message, all things are possible.  In other words, Is Féidir Linn!”  Si se Puede!  Yes We Can!

Si Se Puede

Facebook apps we might like

Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Fr...
Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Français : Logo de Facebook Tiếng Việt: Logo Facebook (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  • Working from Oakland, California, the North Social group claims to be ‘easy-to-use applications that enable anyone to quickly create and manage a custom Facebook page.’   Apps are priced from $19 a month and offer a free 14-day test run.
  • MailChimp is an E-Newsletter system like Constant Contact, but it’s free for the first 12,000 emails per month to a list of 2,000 subscribers.  We like free a lot.
  • Pagemodo is an app that let’s you very easily and quickly create a custom welcome tab on your Facebook page.  The free version just puts a link to the pagemodo website at the bottom.  They even let you create a video welcome.
  • Our friend Diego is really jazzed about Huddle which also offers a 14-day free trial and starts at $15 per user/per month to manage projects, files and people in the cloud.  When it rains, it pours, eh?
  • This one claims to get signed up in 20 seconds.  Okay – wait here.  Let me time them….  Holy app crunchers, WildFire App wasn’t lying.  I’ve got access to getaway sweepstakes, fan quiz, travel photo contest and other promotions.  Not what a PR agency needs but perhaps what a PR agency’s clients need.  Nice.
  • Finally, fanapps claims to be ‘the most popular integrated suite of applications for social media marketing.’  Oh, really?  Again, what’s nice is they have a free version to see what the hullabalu is all about.

Do us a favor, if you use, or have used, any of these apps, let us know how they worked for you.  If you would like us to help set you up with any, well, you know where to find us.  And, if you want even more information on other apps, we got all our info from this informationweek article.