By Joe Dougherty, PIO
Utah Division of Emergency Management
When it comes to social media, there are two platforms that are essential: Twitter and Facebook. Do both well, and you establish your organization as a credible source of information with those who are consuming your content digitally.
During our quarterly training luncheon in Park City on August 15, Zach Whitney from UDOT (@zachwhitneynews) and I (@PIO_Joe) shared some tips about using those two platforms more effectively to reach people who care about your message and to filter out the noise.
Zach’s presentation information is here and mine is in the next post, Part 2 – Maximizing Your Twitter Game.
Facebook Groups for Government Agencies
If you are going to do social media, and among the platforms you are using is Facebook, then Zach Whitney says that it’s important that you give people information that they actually want.
Facebook’s recent emphasis on giving users the chance to make more meaningful connections brought about the ability for pages to create and join community pages.
Zach’s slides are here, and you can see his takeaways below.
Join community groups
Let’s take it for a spin. Find a group you would like to join as a page. In this case, I am requesting to join a group called Utah Emergency Preparedness. Then, I select that I want to join as my page for the Utah Division of Emergency Management instead of as myself.
Group administrators have the ability in their group settings to decide whether to allow pages to join or not. I tried joining a Herriman emergency preparedness group, but it would only allow me to join from my profile.
There are various groups you could consider joining as your page.
- Community 411/rumor groups (They go by different names in each county.)
- County “yard sale” groups
- Groups organized by topic (such as emergency preparedness)
Here are examples of groups UDOT has joined
Create your own group
UDOT has created community groups (make sure you’re logged into Facebook to use that link) for specific construction projects and environmental studies and statements.
Here’s how you do it:
As a page manager, go to your page and click groups on the left-hand side.
Click “create group.” Name it, select administrators and a privacy setting and begin posting. Make sure to invite some people to your group. And spend some time in the various group settings.
Remember, the goal is engagement. How can you help foster conversations among group members so they have meaningful interactions? What will be most valuable to them?
This is what UDOT knows about its followers in the group. They want information when it’s relevant to them. Zach said they tried having some fun with some posts, but people were more interested in the relevant information. Their point? Just get us the information we came here to get.
Join some groups
If you haven’t joined any groups, either as a person or a page, consider searching for something you are passionate about in Facebook’s search bar and then refine your search by groups.
If you haven’t yet, consider joining the Utah PIO Association on Facebook. Come in, ask a question, and watch the PIOs come up with responses.
Don’t forget email
If you’re doing social media, do it the best you can. Though it’s tempting to put all of our eggs in the basket of social media, it can’t be the only way we reach people. Check out these stats from UDOT’s survey to its stakeholders.
A well-written, well-timed email will still do wonders to get people the information they want.
Want to see part 2 of our recap of the quarterly meeting? My info about Twitter is here.
Zach Whitney is a digital communications specialist for the Utah Department of Transportation. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joe Dougherty is the public information officer for the Utah Division of Emergency Management. email@example.com