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Social Media Helps Local Government Engage with Citizens
February 13, 2018

Is your city or town overlooking a valuable way to engage your citizens? If you do not have a social media presence, you may very well be missing out. According to the Public Technology Institute (PTI), 85% of local governments use social media to provide information to their constituents. PTI reports that the most popular social media platforms for the public sector are Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.


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Let’s start by answering providing some anecdotal evidence. I am a heavy social media user, both for business and personally. I know that I am more likely to come across an event or PSA from my city via social media than I am by going directly to its Website, because I am already ON social media, scrolling through my feeds. While waiting in line at Starbucks, waiting for my daughter’s dance class to be finished, or when on hold with a doctor’s office. And that’s the key: meet your citizens where they are. According to statista.com, Facebook has 214 million users; Twitter has 69 million – just in the U.S. alone.This means there is an extremely high probability that your citizens are already engaged on social media, so why not keep them informed where they are already looking for information?

What constitutes “engagement”?

“Engagement” is simply a term that refers to how your audience is interacting with your posts on social media: follows, likes, shares, comments, etc. The point is, your citizens ARE having conversations on social media. If you are not on social media, you are missing out on an easy way to inform, converse with, and notify your citizens. As long as your content is reliable, consistent and valuable, you will likely see an upswing in engaged citizens.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that citizens, more today than ever, expect to interact with businesses, vendors, brands, and yes, even their hometown, on social media. If you’re not providing them with that opportunity, you are missing out on a key way to increase government transparency and build relationships with those you serve.

Does your city, town or county have a social media presence? What platform(s) have you found to be the most successful? How has it helped increase citizen engagement? Let us know, and you could be featured in an upcoming article.

Coming up: I’ll continue this social media series with an article entitled, “Four Easy Steps for Local Governments to Get Started with Social Media”

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