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3 ways to spruce up your agency’s social media

May 18, 2022

Contributed blog by Sarah Rihaly, Content Manager at Government Social Media

Tired of the same type of posts on your agency’s social media accounts? Whether it’s creative block, trouble getting approval for a new project or other potential roadblocks you face as a government social media professional, we have a quick list of ideas on how to spruce up your agency’s social media content you can start incorporating today:

Try new post styles

This isn’t always easy to do! But, it’s useful to try something new and expand how you’re communicating. Here are a few of the many different techniques you could try incorporating into your agency’s social media:

  • Go behind-the-scenes: What’s happening at your agency that would be interesting to the general public that they might not necessarily know about? This is a unique opportunity to go beyond the normal hubbub of announcements — think of ideas like fire department trainings, inter-agency roundtables, ride-alongs or what it looks like working for your agency.
  • Feature community members/employees: Social media is, well, social. Think about who is doing what interesting thing at your agency or who in your area is doing something that ties to your agency’s message. Have a local kid raising money for charity at a lemonade stand? Write about it. A police dog that helped someone? Feature it. A fellow co-worker who exemplifies what it means to be a part of your agency? That’s a story worth sharing. 
  • User-generated content: Get permission to use submitted photos (always consult with your legal advisor and fellow socialgovs on how they’ve used this type of content). This not only helps fill content, but also connects with your audience by featuring how they capture the community you live in.

Trying something new can look many more ways than just the few mentioned above! It can even look like consulting an expert on how to pronounce your city, like this recent post from City of Carrollton, Texas:

 

Creative (free!) tools

Sprucing up your agency’s social media doesn't just mean adding new content pieces to your calendar — it also means giving a facelift to the content you already have. 

Do you find yourself using the same words over and over again? Concerned you might sound too much like a government agency? While keeping to your agency’s approved tone and voice is important, it’s also important to not get completely stuck repeating the same message with the same words (especially if your audience isn’t consuming the information).

Downloading writing assistants like Grammarly or ProWritingAid can help review grammar, style choices and even your tone to see what different word combinations seem more friendly, serious or whatever tone you need to match your message. Keep in mind, there’s a time and place for certain stylistic choices like humor, puns or snark. Always ask: If you were a member of your community reading this, how would you respond? If you’re waffling even slightly on a stylistic choice, get a second (or third) opinion prior to publishing, and always be on the lookout for out-of-the-box examples of using voice like in this post from Southlake DPS: 

Think about taking another look at your agency’s pool of photography and graphics — what could use a refresh? Besides your in-house or freelancer images, you can also use stock photos as well (but make sure to always double check the rights) from sources like Pixabay or Unsplash.

It’s also important to ensure the photos you use are representative of your entire community. Take steps to diversify your photo library of real photos from your community for the most authentic representation, but if you want to diversify your photos now, some of our members recommend using sites like Nappy and Pexels or Canva’s Natural Women Collection. Also, always ensure your designs are as accessible as possible. Read through these resources for helpful tips: How to design for government social media; 3 top tips: Engaging & accessible social media webinar

Get out of the box & get inspired

Again, easier said than done, but, breaking down those barriers can help stop the scroll, and as you know, when that happens, your message is more likely to be heard. How can you creatively communicate important messages so that they’re heard? Take the City of Wichita Falls, Texas social media where they used visualization to explain this potentially life-saving message:

The best source of inspiration is through each other! See what others in the government social media profession — and in your own backyard — are creating and saying. While we never condone plagiarism, it is OK to use ideas as a jumping off point or as inspiration: 

  • Practice social listening: Hearing what others are saying about your agency can help guide areas that might need to be addressed — or, fun conversations to join in on.
  • Spend productive time on social media: Take some time each day to stay on top of the trends happening on different platforms — is there a way you could join that conversation?
  • Don’t be afraid to hop on trends: Remember Bernie’s mittens? Elf on the shelf? Government agencies can often translate trends to their message, but not every trend is government agency-worthy. Make sure to always understand where trends are born, why they went viral and whether it’s an effective way to communicate with your audience.

Pro tip: Joining groups like our GSM Community on Facebook or GSM network (both free!) are great ways to get inspired, see what others are doing and genuinely ask questions and crowdsource ideas for your agency’s social media.

Pro pro tip: Check out the 2022 Golden Post Awards winners and finalists for examples of agencies excelling in categories like Best Facebook Presence, Best Use of Long Form Video and more. 

Best communicate with the public you serve by becoming a part of the free Government Social Media network — only available to full/part-time employees of government or educational institutions. 

We support the largest network of government social media professionals in the U.S. by guiding government agencies through complex social media issues. Government Social Media helps you successfully communicate with the public you serve, protect your agency and keep public trust while finding your support community. 

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