Local government as a social media competitor

By June, 2017 ICT, Local
Councils across Australia may have to contend with viral cat videos to ensure they can spread their message of better service delivery to the community.

Image: Animated Heaven/flickr

Reaching people in the crowded newsfeeds of today’s social media platforms has never been more challenging.

Local government must compete for the same territory as viral cat videos, pictures of family and friends, and businesses big and small spruiking their products.

Now more than ever before, content must be attention grabbing, visual and offer something a little different to stand out from the crowd.

This doesn’t mean councils need to start sharing gimmicky posts and updates which dilute their message and brand. However they should be thinking outside the square when it comes to social media, ensuring that content shared across platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are fit for the medium.

This means keeping it short and sweet, with heavy emphasis on images, video and other forms of multimedia. Try experimenting with emojis, and seeing if you get a better hit rate.

Think about what you like to watch, share and engage with on Facebook when you scroll your own feed. A good rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t double tap and hit ‘like’ – think again.

Paid social media advertising is a guaranteed way to cut through the noise of social media and hit your target local audience.

By developing copy and advertising tailored to a specific segment of your community (think your older demographic, or young families) and boosting it with small amounts of money – you can be very forensic about who you reach.

Instagram, now owned by Facebook has also come to the party. Instagram advertising is a powerful and effective way for local government to reach local and external audiences, particularly to reach tourism markets.

The big bonus? These platforms want you to advertise with them, so you can basically teach yourself!

Samantha Dean is social media and corporate communications adviser to the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ). This column was published in the April-May edition of Council Leader magazine, an affiliated publication with the LGAQ.

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