Are you considering adding social media to your communications plan? Maybe your agency is on various social networking sites, but you aren’t sure if you’re using social media as effectively as you could? We’ve pulled together the best practices our agency follows when launching, evaluating, and pivoting social media plans for government agencies.
First, you will want to establish a ‘brand’ tone and voice for your accounts – even if you don’t identify your agency as a ‘brand.’ Will you always be buttoned up and straightforward, presenting information only? Will you incorporate a more conversational tone? Maybe you want to be approachable and relatable, posting cheeky and trendy posts from time to time? We suggest finding a balance that works for your agency, comes naturally for your team and isn’t forced. Additionally, you’ll want to understand each social media platform’s strengths and choose which social media channels are appropriate for your agency based on who you want to reach. You don’t have to do everything; pick which channels will be most meaningful for your outreach objectives.
After establishing your agency’s social media personality, you want to build trust with your audience and establish yourself as a source for reliable and timely information. Constituents will follow you because they want to hear from you. It is your job to provide timely and dependable information. You don’t need to post multiple times a day or even once a day – but you do need to be transparent and authentic with relevant information. As information and updates become available, you will want to be the first to talk about it. Be proactive, not reactive.
Lastly, don’t forget to engage with your followers. Respond to direct messages and comments promptly. Your followers should be able to trust that if they have a question or concern, your team receives it and is available to respond. A good rule of thumb is to respond within 24 hours to the best of your ability, and when you don’t have the answers, provide resources that might help them get the information they’re looking for.
As a bonus – use visual elements to drive engagement and gain followers. Posts that include visual attachments reach more people and have higher engagement rates. Pictures and video also boost shares of your content, so you reach more people beyond your followers, and you begin to reach their friends/followers too.
When you are developing material in general, think about how each piece can be repurposed for social. For example, if you are creating an informational handout, can that piece be developed into a branded infographic? Is your project team taking video of progress that could be turned into a time-lapse for social? Visual content does not have to be expensive or time-consuming; oftentimes your agency already has content available that can be modified for social media.
The key to social media is to be authentic, transparent and engaging. You don’t have to be overwhelmed by trying to do everything or reach everyone. Be intentional with how social media will play a role in your communications plan, look for content inspiration that already exists and contact us if you need ideas or support.