Golden Post Awards: 2023 Winners & Finalists

Our annual award program honors outstanding use of social media by government agencies in the United States. Winners were announced on May 3 at a special awards ceremony during the hybrid 2023 Government Social Media Conference in Reno, Nevada.

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. 

Category: Social Media Professional of the Year

Winner: Warren Kagarise, King County, WA

Congratulations to Warren Kagarise for being recognized as the Social Media Professional of the Year! The award honors a social media professional in government who is known in the space for their work, while being committed to supporting and teaching fellow communicators. 

Warren embodies what it means to be an effective, accessible and incredible communicator. He's been part of the Government Social Media community for several years, serving as a leader and role model for so many socialgovs -- both within GSM and his own organization. Warren's contributions to GSM are far-reaching and long-lasting. From speaking on many topics at GSMCON to sharing knowledge about best practices in other organizations and his dedication to the field is unwavering. Warren served on the GSM professional association membership council in 2020 and 2021 and stepped up as president in 2022. 

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

Follow Warren Kagarise on Twitter

Category: Social Media Leadership Award

Winner: Anndrea Harris, City of Wichita Falls, TX

We’re proud to announce Anndrea Harris as the recipient of the 2023 Social Media Leadership Award! This recognition is focused on an individual who is known for being the champion of an important area within the profession. 

Anndrea is a champion of one of the most useful tools in the socialgov space: Canva. She's dedicated a considerable amount of time to teach others all of the tips and tricks and share her knowledge at GSMCON. Anndrea is known for her willingness to share and can-do attitude.

Past winners include Emily Allen Lucht and Jordan Gilgenbach.

Follow Anndrea Harris on Twitter.

Category: Social Media Team of the Year

Winner: City of Las Vegas, NV

The team at the City of Las Vegas has been part of the government social media space since the beginning. The team is creative, dedicated and always ready to tackle new platforms (and was one of the first agencies to hop on Snapchat, Twitter Spaces, Instagram Reels and TikTok!). The team is diverse, hard-working and stands out in the socialgov space.

Past winners include Team Gilbert of Gilbert, Arizona and the Transportation Security Agency (TSA).

City of Las Vegas, NV on Facebook | Twitter | Website

Category: Nextdoor Neighborly Award

Winner: Charlotte County, FL

Nextdoor awarded Charlotte County, Florida with the Nextdoor Neighborly Award for their consistent use of the platform throughout the last year and how they handled communications before, during and after Hurricane Ian. Nextdoor staff were very impressed with posts about the category 4 hurricane and how neighbors interacted with the posts. 

Charlotte County, FL on Nextdoor | Facebook | Twitter | Website

Category: LinkedIn [In]Spiration Award

Winner: JobsOhio

*New for 2023* LinkedIn awarded JobsOhio with the LinkedIn [In]Spiration Award for their inspiring and creative strategy on the platform. The team at JobsOhio is open to trying new things on LinkedIn and measuring what works. The team has a consistent, bold brand and uses a healthy combination of content types to engage the audience, including eye-catching imagery, video and carousels. JobsOhio nurtures its audience throughout the marketing funnel, using organic, on-platform ads and the LinkedIn audience network to achieve maximum reach and stand out.

JobsOhio on LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Website

Category: Facebook Favorite

Winner: City of Sugar Land, TX

Meta awarded the City of Sugar Land, Texas for their Facebook Favorite Award! Carlin Daharsh, an External Affairs Manager on the U.S. Policy team at Meta, said the agency was selected for its impact and ability to bring people closer together. She said the agency expertly manages humor and professionalism on its page and is unafraid to embrace changing products, mediums and tools to connect with people -- especially on issues of environmentalism and consumerism. Additionally, the agency uses a variety of tools, such as standard posts, video content, GIFs and emojis.

City of Sugar Land, TX on Facebook | Website

Category: Best Facebook Presence

Winners: National Park Service and Town of Mooresville Police Department, NC

*Due to the large number of entries submitted for this category, the judges recognized two winners. 

The judges loved the mix of humor, history and educational information that the National Park Service mixes into their posts. For being a 100+ year old agency, they've figured out how to adapt to 2023 and connect with their 1+ million audience. 

National Park Service on Facebook | Twitter | Website

The judges felt that the Mooresville Police Department in North Carolina has a Facebook presence that shows they genuinely care about their community and put a lot of thought and strategy into their online presence. They have found ways to humanize their officers and staff and bring creativity to their posts. 

Mooresville Police Department on Facebook | Website

Category Finalists:

  • Baytown Police Department, TX
  • City of Battle Creek, MI
  • City of Denton, TX
  • City of Des Plaines, IL 
  • City of Lincoln, NE
  • City of Riverside, CA
  • City of Sugar Land, TX
  • Washoe County Health District, NV

Category: Best Twitter Presence

Winner: Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District

The judges noted that this agency was a standout in a very strong category. The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District figured out how to humanize the account and make waste management interesting. 

Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District on Twitter | Facebook | Website

Category Finalists:

  • National Human Genome Research Institute
  • National Park Service
  • Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
  • Washington State Department of Natural Resources 

Category: Best Instagram Presence

Winners: City of Tampa, FL and The Seattle Public Library, WA

*Due to the large number of entries submitted for this category, the judges recognized two winners. 

The City of Tampa, Florida runs a well-rounded account that shows the diverse and vibrant culture of the city while incorporating useful information for residents that's a balanced combination of general communications, 311, customer service and public safety. 

City of Tampa, FL on Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Website

The judges were impressed by the ability of the Seattle Public Library in Washington to capitalize on current trends and make them relevant without taking them too far. Their commitment to diversity was among the best seen this year. What really put them at the top was their strong online analytics and significant real-world impact in their success. 

The Seattle Public Library on InstagramFacebook | Twitter | Website

Category Finalists:

  • City of Dublin, OH
  • City of Long Beach Public Library, CA
  • National Park Service
  • San Gabriel Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District, CA
  • South Walton Fire District, FL
  • Town of Gilbert, AZ
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Category: Best LinkedIn Presence

Winner: City of Fort Lauderdale, FL

The agency's presence on LinkedIn is well-executed and receives a lot of community engagement. The judges appreciated their ability to capitalize on using #WeAreFTL and the metrics and data clearly reflect their quality content.

City of Fort Lauderdale, FL on LinkedIn Instagram Facebook | Twitter | Website

Category Finalists:

  • City of Anna, TX
  • City of Dubuque, IA
  • Lane Transit District, OR
  • National Institutes of Health

Category: Best Nextdoor Presence

Winner: Camano Island Fire & Rescue, WA

The judges felt this agency stood out for its use of website analytics to inform their social media strategy. It was clear to the judges that the team listens to their community and implements the feedback they receive. 

Camano Island Fire & Rescue, WA on NextdoorFacebook | Twitter | Website

Category Finalists:

  • Ada County Highway District, ID
  • City of Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho (COMPASS)
  • Stafford County Government, VA

Category: Best Podcast

Winner: U.S. Food and Drug Administration

The judges said the FDA podcast is an excellent, well-produced podcast that covers topics that don't normally lend themselves to the medium and still manage to elevate them. Their efforts to ensure their podcast is accessible through plain language and supporting transcripts and visuals goes above and beyond.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Facebook | Twitter | Website | Podcast 

Category Finalists:

  • National Park Service - Grand Canyon National Park
  • Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Category: Best Use of Short Form Video

Winners: Maricopa County, AZ and Seattle Channel, WA

*Due to the large number of entries submitted for this category, the judges recognized two winners. 

The judges noted that the Maricopa County, Arizona account featured timely, actionable and lifesaving content. The judges said: "it's an effective bit, reminding people to do something as simple yet important as drinking water during a heat wave." 

Watch the video here.

Maricopa County, AZ on Facebook | Twitter | Website 

Seattle Channel's entry was described as compelling storytelling, creative and well-executed. They demonstrated how to repurpose long form video to create effective short form video and their efforts toward diversity and inclusion were exceptionally strong. 

Watch the video here.

Seattle Channel on Facebook | Twitter | Website

 Category Finalists:

  • Ada County Highway District, ID
  • City of Boise, ID
  • City of Chandler, AZ
  • City of Santa Clarita, CA
  • Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, FL 
  • Riverside County Department of Waste Resources, CA
  • Town of Collierville, TN

Category: Best Use of Long Form Video

Winner: Fort Worth Police Department, TX and Southlake DPS, TX

*Due to the large number of entries submitted for this category, the judges recognized two winners. 

The entry from the Fort Worth Police Department in Texas was featured on the Today Show. Additionally, the judges described the video as hilarious, creative and fun while done on a shoestring budget with a big splash. 

Watch the video here.

Fort Worth Police Department, TX on Facebook | Twitter | Website

The judges said the entry from Southlake DPS in Texas was excellent and entertaining and they also found it funny and memorable. The video was filmed completely in-house on an iPhone, an impressive achievement. 

Watch the video here.

Southlake DPS, TX on Facebook | Twitter | Website

Category Finalists:

  • Ada County Highway District, ID
  • Buffalo Common Council, NY
  • Central Utah Water Conservancy District
  • City of Hyattsville, MD 
  • Columbus Department of Public Service; Division of Parking Services, OH
  • Daytona Beach International Airport, FL
  • Maricopa Association of Governments, AZ
  • Sarasota Police Department, FL

Category: Best Social Media Customer Service

Winner: City of Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation, MI

The judges said the entry from the City of Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation in Michigan clearly showcased customer service through social media by responding to comments and answering questions. The community embraces this approach and gives them shout outs on their pages. Their metrics were clear and measurable and the size of their team made everything even more impressive. 

City of Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation, MI on Facebook | Website

Category Finalists:

  • City of Atlanta 311, GA
  • Michigan Department of Corrections
  • United States Postal Service
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Category: Best Use of Social Media in an Emergency

Winner: City of Tampa, FL

This year's finalists in this category responded to a variety of both weather and non-weather related emergencies. The judges noted that the social media response from the City of Tampa in Florida to Hurricane Ian had clear and concise goals, was well-rounded in its approach and did a great job of ensuring content was accessible, including captions on every video and alt text with every image. 

City of Tampa, FL on Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Website

Category Finalists:

  • City of North Port, FL
  • City of Round Rock, TX
  • City of San José, CA
  • San Carlos Park Fire Protection and Rescue Service District, FL

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