Social Media for Public Safety Tip #3

How many hands can actually fit into one cookie jar?

I don’t know the answer to that question, though I do know that even one hand can break up all the cookies.

How many people can run your social media program for your public safety agency?


That may be easier to answer than the cookie jar, but it’s still not a perfect science. You have to start by asking how often you are going to interact with your followers and how quickly you want posts or comments responded to.

For some agencies, one person can handle all aspects of the social media program. With clear information that the page is not used for emergency communication and that the page isn’t monitored 24/7, one person working 40 hours per week can handle the content creation and page management for a small to mid size agency. The perfect scenario would be for this person to be involved in public information or media relations, that way they understand the limitations of content and the importance of a consistent message.

For larger agencies, or those who want to make sure they respond in an appropriate time frame, they may use several people to monitor and post. This creates the possibility of inconsistencies in information and even how followers are managed. If this is the case, it’s vital to have a clear social media plan that is updated on a regular basis defining who is responsible for creating content, engaging users, and identifying types of information that can be shared.

Too many administrators can kill the effectiveness of social media.

Disclaimer: The content of this blog and any opinions, observations, or ideas are mine and not associated in any way with my employer, The Reedy Creek Improvement District.


Social Media for Public Safety Tip #2

social-media-billboardPage management is always critical for those using social media for branding and marketing purposes, and it takes on the same type of urgency in public safety. While Public Safety Agencies aren’t selling a product or trying to increase followers, managing the page is important to the customer service aspect of our industry.

What do I mean by page management?

First, I am using “page” in an interchangeable format. Whatever platform you are using, you must manage not only the content that you are creating and/or sharing (see tip # 1) but you must make sure that the page is maintained so that conversations don’t get out of hand or become inappropriate.

1. Remove inappropriate or vulgar comments as soon as you see them and send a warning to the user. Keep a list of those who are using inappropriate or vulgar language and when they repeat, block them. It’s your reputation as an agency that is on the line, not the one user causing the problem.

2. Respond to complaints or questions in a timely manner. You may not be able to answer the question directly, but you can provide contact information for someone who can. If it is a complaint, never address it on your page other than to provide the contact information for someone that can help. Starting a Twitter or Facebook argument is not good for your agency.

3. Remember #2? Never, ever delete a complaint or negative comment about your agency unless it is being disruptive, causing arguments, or contains vulgar or inappropriate language. Simply deleting a complaint does nothing to solve a problem and if you provide the contact details, you have given them an avenue for resolving their issue.

4. Use your page to provide information, not to lobby for a political agenda or comment on social matters. As an agency, you are providing a service for all of your area, let the politicians and news media pontificate, while you enhance your image as an impartial agency with safety of the community in mind.

Manage your page well and your followers will appreciate it and your agency will be seen as a professional organization that knows how to act in public.

Upcoming Posts: Social Media for Public Safety Tip #3: How many hands should be in the cookie jar?

Disclaimer: The content of this blog and any opinions, observations, or ideas are mine and not associated in any way with my employer, The Reedy Creek Improvement District.