Those blue boxes are ubiquitous.
There’s the bird, cramming her valuable insight into only 140 characters. That lower case “f,” reminding all of us that ex-boyfriends get married and that videos of kittens are really funny (see the word cloud below). The “in” box, tempting us with updates of recruiters from Fortune 500 companies that have taken a peek at our online resume.
And that’s just the blue ones. There’s red, orange, green – a virtual (pun intended) rainbow of ways for you to engage with your residents. But how can you discuss heavy hitting topics, like taxes and equality and education, next to somebody’s #TBT pic of last week’s #bestpumpkinlatteever?
The way you can understand all of the social media is as the creation of a new kind of public space.” – Danah Boyd, Social Media Researcher, Microsoft
The first step is to overcome fear and embrace social media for what it is. You wouldn’t think twice about walking in to a public library to engage with people. Municipal auditoriums often host town halls. Town plazas are great venues for city festivals. The same ease of engagement should be present when utilizing social media as a “public space” for civic purposes.
Consider social media a way to support your overall mission and strategy – not the sole warehouse of information. When we view social media as a tool to help continue our engagement, it becomes an easier concept to grasp. Get comfortable with the different networks, then capitalize on the strengths of each one.
- Tweet about road construction delays at one of the biggest intersections in your city, making your residents commute easier.
- Use your MindMixer site to get feedback on a proposed change to that intersection and traffic flow.
- Use Twitter to let your residents know to GO to your MindMixer site to give you that information, and you’ve turned pro.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the rest can be critical in helping get your word out about your online conversation, but won’t provide you with the focused, productive input you need to build a better community. Your MindMixer site not only allows you to connect with your residents in their homes, on their couches, on their phones; it also allows you to see the data behind the connectivity.
Leverage social media to drive traffic to your MindMixer platform. Because let’s face it; you aren’t looking for pumpkin lattes. You’re looking for meaningful demographic data to move your community forward. Look at how these communities are doing it:
engageHagerstown: When it comes to social media promotion, the City of Hagerstown, Md., has it under control. Knowing that people might try to engage with the its MindMixer topics on Facebook, the city regularly steers people back toward the engageHagerstown website whenever posting about it on the social network.
Nebraska Department of Roads: Amid tweets about inclement weather and road closures, the Nebraska Department of Roads is busy spreading the word to its Twitter followers about the conversation happening on its MindMixer site. NDOR featured a recent photo share topic as a way to drive traffic from Twitter to the site.
By Dana Greiner , Customer Development Executive