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Golden Post Awards 2020: Winners

Annual award program recognizing outstanding use of social media by local and state government agencies in the U.S.

Our annual award program honors outstanding use of social media by local and state government agencies in the United States. View the 2020 Golden Post Award winners & finalists on this page!

People who manage social media in government are in one of the most difficult fields for social media professionals. The Golden Post Awards is a free program dedicated to recognizing their hard work, which frequently involves high stakes, high expectations and limited resources in facilitating open communication with the public. 

Typically, the GPA ceremony is held during the Government Social Media Conference, but we adapted the 2020 program amid the COVID-19 pandemic to continue the tradition. Finalists were named in February 2020, and winners were announced during three virtual ceremonies. 


Golden Post Awards Ceremony Part 1
Aired July 16, 2020

Golden Post Awards Ceremony Part 2
Aired July 23, 2020

Golden Post Awards Ceremony Part 3
Aired July 30, 2020


Category: Social Media Professional of the Year

Winner: Kristen Waggener, City of Bryan, TX

Congratulations to Kristen Waggener for being recognized as the Social Media Professional of the Year! The name of this award has evolved from previous years, but the intent remains the same – to honor a social media professional in government who is known in the space for their work, while being committed to supporting and teaching fellow communicators. Kristen is a frequent volunteer within the government social media community, and her encouragement and willingness to help other communicators embodies what it means to be a true professional.  

Previous recipients include Chris Hsiung and Mary Jo Flynn, well-known advocates in the socialgov space.

Follow Kristen Waggener on Twitter.


Category: Social Media Leadership Award

Winner: Emily Allen Lucht, Maryland Center for School Safety

For the first-ever Social Media Leadership Award, we’re proud to announce Emily Allen Lucht as the recipient. This new recognition is focused on an individual who is known for being the champion of an important area within the profession. Emily’s work in social media accessibility has helped educate many members of the socialgov community through her conference lectures. As an #a11y champion, she presses social networks to ensure their platform features are inclusive to everyone, and her energy and commitment helps us all do better. 

Follow Emily Allen Lucht on Twitter for the latest accessibility news.


Category: Social Media Team of the Year

Winner: Town of Gilbert, AZ

The digital team at the Town of Gilbert, Arizona is a highly dedicated, efficient and talented team who work together to incorporate social into everything they do, including their State of the City experience, to create a great digital-first strategy. They are rock stars across their whole organization, led by Dana Berchman, who lets her people shine.

Town of Gilbert, AZ on Facebook | Twitter | Website


Category: Nextdoor Neighborly Award

Winner: Montgomery County Government

Nextdoor awarded Montgomery County Government with the Nextdoor Neighborly Award for their exceptional use of this platform and how they embrace best practices to have the PIO office take the lead and manage Nextdoor for their agency, have multiple departments posting, using their department name and real name on staff member profiles and create engaging, quality posts driving real value. 

Montgomery County MD Government on Nextdoor | Facebook | Twitter | Website


Category: Facebook Favorite

Winner: Southlake DPS, TX

Facebook awarded Southlake DPS, TX for their Facebook Favorite Award! Southlake DPS was chosen for their excellent content that helps humanize their combined police and fire department entity, get important messages to the people they serve and make their followers excited to be members of the community. Here’s one of their Facebook videos that gives kids, stuck at home during COVID-19, the opportunity to experience a fire department tour in a first-person experience as a rookie.  

Southlake DPS, TX on Facebook | Twitter | Website


Category: Best Social Media Customer Service

Winner: City of Las Vegas, NV

A team of three at the City of Las Vegas, NV, handles customer service across their many social media accounts. With the assistance of their 22 departments, they work to solve customer service issues and get residents where they need to go on their website. The Messenger widget is also embedded on every page of their website, and they use bots to help initially respond to customers and get them to the right place before sending the inquiry to a team member. 

City of Las Vegas on Facebook | Twitter | Website

Category Finalists:

  • City of Atlanta 311, GA
  • City of Battle Creek, MI
  • City of Bryan, TX
  • Utah Division of Emergency Management 

Category: Best Nextdoor Presence

Winner: Wyoming Department of Public Safety - Police Division

The Wyoming Department of Public Safety - Police Division’s goals are to provide a place for information and a point of contact for their citizens on their Nextdoor page. Between Traffic Tuesday posts, where they ask community members a traffic question each week, and event posts, their citizens have a place to get a large amount of information from the police department. Through their Nextdoor posts, officers are also being recognized at events and presentations, and citizens feel more comfortable approaching them and asking questions.

Wyoming Department of Public Safety - Police Division on NextdoorFacebook | Twitter | Website

Category Finalists:

  • Harris County Sheriff’s Office, TX
  • Irvine Police Department, CA
  • Renton Police Department, WA
  • Sedona Police Department, AZ

Category: Best Use of Live Video

Winner: Graham Fire & Rescue, WA

Graham Fire & Rescue’s overall goal is to bring awareness to the citizens they serve about the services that their fire department has to offer, through the use of live video. Before a house from the school district would be torn down, they use it for their firefighters to practice in. The goal of their video was to spread awareness to the community so that they knew why so many fire trucks were at the house and to showcase the school district and fire department working together.

Wyoming Department of Public Safety - Police Division on Facebook | Twitter | Website

Here's one of their Facebook Live videos and check out more videos.

Category Finalists:

  • City of Franklin, TN
  • City of Pflugerville, TX
  • City of Portland Bureau of Development Services, OR
  • Sarasota County Government, FL

Category: Best Use of Social Media in an Emergency

Winner: Clark County Public Health, WA

Clark County Public Health responded to a measles outbreak in their community by keeping the community informed on a rapidly evolving situation, provide accurate, reliable information and to promote immunization as the best protection against measles.

They ensured the community had access to information like the number of confirmed and suspect measles cases, new public locations where people may have been exposed to measles, and ways for people to keep themselves and their families safe, while answering questions and addressing concerns, as well as calming fears by putting the risk into perspective.

Clark County Public Health, WA on Facebook | Twitter | Website

Category Finalists:

  • City of Battle Creek, MI
  • City of Dallas, TX
  • City of San Marcos, TX
  • Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, CO

Category: Best Facebook Presence

Winner: San Antonio Water System, TX

San Antonio Water System, TX provides timely, engaging posts created specifically to their primary audience informed of the latest SAWS water conservation programs and initiatives that promote responsible water use. They used the platform to create water and wastewater awareness by curating and creating written and video content about critical, timely water/wastewater topics that not only affect San Antonio but environmental/weather conditions that impact the quality and availability of this precious resource. Armed with this new education, they convert followers to become ambassadors for SAWS in the community, further amplifying a better understanding of how the utility works for the health and benefit of the entire community.

San Antonio Water System, TX on Facebook | Twitter | Website

Category Finalists:

  • City of Round Rock, TX
  • City Utilities of Springfield, MO
  • Southlake DPS, TX
  • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Category: Best Podcast

Winner: Los Angeles Police Department, CA

“Our LAPD Story” is recorded, produced, and published in-house with a process built around the theme of story telling. The show aims to tell the stories of the men and women of the LAPD. Not war stories, but the stories that make all 10,000 of them individuals. The process starts by either hearing in passing, or meeting directly with officers that have unique paths, or stories that detail the raw emotion and at times peril, of working as a law enforcement officer in the 21st century. “Our LAPD Story” was designed to create an emotional connection between the police department and the public.

Los Angeles Police Department’s website.

Listen to Our LAPD Story podcast.

Category Finalists:

  • Michigan Department of Natural Resources
  • Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency
  • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Category: Best Instagram Presence

Winner: Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Colorado Parks and Wildlife has very focused goals for their Instagram presence, upping the ante from their strategy of sharing beautiful and interesting moments from across the state. Part of the agency's mission is to inspire the current generation to fall in love with the Colorado outdoors so that they choose to be a steward for future generations. They share conservation work and success stories through storytelling and captivating photography. Rather than just sharing generic, beautiful imagery that doesn't educate — they’re able to share educational facts about state parks, wildlife and conservation in all posts. They also partner with individual profiles of people in the Colorado community and share how they engage with the outdoors.

Colorado Parks & Wildlife on Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Website

Category Finalists:

  • City of Hermosa Beach, CA
  • LA Metro, CA
  • Oakland County, MI
  • Walton County Sheriff’s Office, FL

Category: Best LinkedIn Presence

Winner: Kern County, CA

The main goals of Kern County’s LinkedIn page is to engage their community and employees, equip county employees with the ability to expand their careers, and celebrate the staff and the work they’re doing. The judges noted that their LinkedIn presence really showcases their employees, and features dozens and dozens of jobs, not only for executives, but all the way down to front line staff. They also noted the county’s commitment to the platform by rolling out LinkedIn Learning to all county employees. 

Kern County, CA on LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Website

Category Finalists:

  • City of Long Beach, CA
  • State of Michigan

Category: Best Use of Video

Winner: Lexington Police Department, KY

This brand new category looks at an agency’s overall video strategy, rather than a single video. The Lexington Police Department uses a wide variety of video styles to achieve a number of real-world results, such as crime prevention, highlighting the good work of department personnel, and showing the human (and occasionally humorous) side of law enforcement. Oftentimes, the use of video helps them achieve these goals in ways that a press release or photo cannot.

Lexington Kentucky Police Department on Facebook | Twitter | Website

Category Finalists:

  • New York City Fire Department
  • LA Metro, CA
  • Sarasota County, FL
  • Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Category: Best Twitter Presence

Winner: Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Colorado Parks and Wildlife brings home another win! Their social media team worked off of a content calendar and ramped up sharing on-the-ground updates of conservation efforts from wildlife officers and rangers. They shared wildlife rescues, completed conservation projects, volunteer opportunities and large wildlife studies. They worked to ensure a consistent brand voice for Twitter that spoke simply, often used humor and connected the story to a broader narrative and current events.

Colorado Parks & Wildlife on Twitter | Facebook | Website

Category Finalists:

  • LA Metro, CA
  • Lawrence Police Department, KS
  • New Jersey Governor's Office
  • Office of Communications, Executive Office of Mayor Muriel Bowser, Washington D.C.

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