Determine What You Want to Accomplish by Creating a Social Media Account
There are several different platforms, all best utilized for different purposes with their own set of followers. It’s important to identify your purpose before you can move on to the next step. Possible reasons for creating a social media account or multiple accounts:
- Disseminate information about events and town news, similar to a bulletin board;
- Create a public forum and encourage discussion;
- Creating a way for citizens to ask questions or contact the municipality with questions and feedback;
- Increase local tourism.
Determine Your Audience
Who are you trying to reach? Different platforms are primarily followed by different demographics, and these demographics are constantly changing.
- Determine what type of information you will be posting; different platforms are better suited for reaching different goals.
- Explore the platforms available and choose the one(s) that you feel will work best for accomplishing your goals, as well as contacting your target audience(s).
Create a Social Media Policy
Create a social media policy to formalize what type of information will be posted, who will be responsible for managing the site and other guidelines that you feel may be important.
Promote the Existence of Your Account
Once an account is created, don’t forget to tell people about it. Too often an account is created and that’s the end of it. You need to let residents know that the account exists and where to find it. If no one is following you, you have accomplished nothing in increasing the audience of your messages. Possible ways to promote your accounts:
- Add social media buttons to your website.
- Include social media information in staff email signatures.
- Include social media information in mailings and on printed flyers.
- Post social media information on town hall bulletin boards.
- Advertise your accounts at town events.
- Tell your municipal departments about the account(s) and ask them to include this information in their mailings, email signature lines, at events and on their bulletin boards.
- Use hashtags.
- Embed your social media feed into your website’s homepage.
- Add share buttons to the bottom of press releases posted on your website. This allows readers to easily share your news on their individual feeds, further increasing your reach and building your account’s followers.