Humor coming from a government agency has the capability to skyrocket engagement or go up in flames causing a PR nightmare. If you run a government social media page, you are well aware of the struggle to obtain followers and boost engagement. Many of us are tempted to experiment with humor, but could there be a strategy for government humor on social media?
We hosted a discussion on this topic on June 18, during our #GSMCHAT bi-weekly Twitter chat. Several local and state agency representatives from all over the United States joined in sharing their ideas and experiences with each other. While some admitted a hesitance toward humor, the majority enjoys joking with their followers.
Twitter recently unveiled a new look – and here’s what you need to know if you manage a Twitter account for a government agency.
1. Optimize Your Images
First of all, your existing profile picture (probably your agency’s logo or official seal) is going to automatically stretch proportionally to fit the larger 400×400 pixel size. You might not even have to update it, unless the resolution looks grainy – an indicator that you need a larger size.
I recently got married (in an awesomely nerdy LOTR* themed wedding) and changed my last name from Fifelski to my husband’s last name, Dalton. Legally changing your name and dealing with altering it on your driver’s license, passport, debit cards, online billing, etc. is quite a process. However, this process was equaled in tediousness when it came to changing my digital footprint on social media.
Ride-alongs are structured programs offered by many police departments that allow civilians to ride in a patrol car while observing an officer on duty. They are a great way for people with an interest in a future law enforcement career to spend “a day on the job.” Ride-alongs are also popular among journalists covering police beats.
Dogs are a man’s best friend, but they certainly aren’t cheap. Just ask any pet owner! The cost of food, supplies, medicine, and vet appointments for dogs, cats, and other “fur babies” can definitely add up!
Animal shelter employees and volunteers undoubtedly understand all of the costs associated with taking care of animals. Shelters—which can be non-profit entities or government-run departments—house, feed, and care for homeless, lost, and abandoned pets, often with limited budgets. The success of most animal shelters depends on government funding or grants, donations from the public, and the assistance of unpaid workers.
Shelters must continually strive to increase both pet adoptions as well as monetary donations, and social media is helping many animal shelters do both.
Twitter announced a new ‘custom timeline’ feature this November. It’s a way to create a collection of tweets surrounding a particular topic, or tweets by certain people, or tweets using a particular hashtag, etc. The point is that you can customize the timeline in almost any way you want, give it a title, and embed it on your website. Let’s explore how government might be able to use this feature.
It was reported last week that Twitter released a new best practices guide, part of which covers advice for government agencies using Twitter.
The section features a lot of old news that we’ve heard before – like advice on using photos and ensuring website integration. However, the best part about the new section is the comprehensive information on Twitter Alerts. The value of this new alert feature is that your tweets can appear on subscribers’ phones as SMS notifications when you mark the tweets as an ‘alert’. They will stand out in the timeline as well – marked with an orange bell.