Golden Post Awards: 2024 Winners & Finalists

Our annual award program honors outstanding use of social media by government agencies in the United States. Winners were announced on April 17 at a special awards ceremony during the hybrid 2024 Government Social Media Conference in Palm Springs, California. Nearly 450 entries were received.

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. 

View the 2024 finalists and winners gallery

Category: Social Media Professional of the Year

Winner: Timothy Akimoff, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Congratulations to Timothy Akimoff for being recognized as the Social Media Professional of the Year! This coveted award recognizes someone in our industry who encourages, supports and teaches fellow communicators, making big commitments both personally and professionally to the government social media community.

Timothy embodies what it means to be an effective and accessible communicator, adapting to the changing world we work in. Timothy has been a long-time participant in the world of Government Social Media, mentoring many govies along the way, and often taking his own time to not only run a Facebook group for a niche world within our world, but recently kicked off a podcast that goes behind the scenes with expert communicators across our industry, offering another venue for people to soak in knowledge to improve their skills.

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

Follow Timothy Akimoff on LinkedIn

Category: Social Media Leadership Award

Winner: Bronlea Mishler, Bronlea M Consulting, LLC

We’re thrilled to announce Bronlea Mishler as the recipient of this year’s Social Media Leadership Award for her work in social media crisis communications! This award is focused on an individual who is known for being a champion of an important area within the profession.

Bronlea goes above and beyond to elevate and evolve the profession, working to convince organizations of the importance of our roles and supporting socialgovs across the country. She has been part of the Government Social Media community nearly from the start and is truly dedicated to elevating the profession. She educates on crisis communications, not only through GSM, but also through her role in a local fire department and her consulting firm, teaching across the country (and even in the middle of the Pacific Ocean) with FEMA and the National Disaster Preparedness Center.  Bronlea helps to ensure that social media becomes an integral part in crisis communications planning around the globe. 

Follow Bronlea Mishler on LinkedIn

Category: Social Media Team of the Year

Winner: Washington State Department of Transportation

Congratulations to the team at the Washington State Department of Transportation! This award is presented to a team for being known and appreciated in the socialgov community for their content, strategy, customer response and overall presence.

This year’s winning team at WSDOT has been at the forefront of making government social media fun for the public for years. With a rather unique style of visuals, they led the way in helping the public understand oftentimes less-than-interesting information that would impact their community’s day-to-day lives by infusing humor into their strategy. Their team consistently works to elevate the profession, serve the public and share their experience and expertise with the world through unique behind-the-scenes blogs on how they do what they do.

Washington State Department of Transportation on X I Facebook I LinkedIn I Website  

Category: Nextdoor Neighborly Award

Winner: Fairfax County Government, VA

Nextdoor named Fairfax County Government as the recipient of the Nextdoor Neighborly Award in consideration of how the agency has embraced Nextdoor’s best practices. Communicators from multiple departments within the County actively post and each staff member uses their department name and their real name. Nextdoor also noted that the County has very engaging posts with large numbers of quality posts driving real value to their neighbors. By consistently polling neighborhoods on the value residents are getting out of posts, the County is able to adapt their Nextdoor content to be extremely meaningful for the public they serve.

Fairfax County Government on Nextdoor I Website

Category: LinkedIn [In]Spiration Award

Winner: Military Spouse Employment Partnership

LinkedIn awarded the Military Spouse Employment Partnership with the [In]Spiration Award  which honors a government agency who inspires with their LinkedIn strategy. 

MSEP is a program of the U.S. Department of Defense that connects military spouses with job opportunities and empowers them to enhance their skills, advance their careers, and achieve financial stability. Their LinkedIn page is rich with resources and guidance, and they’ve cultivated an engaged community of over 33,000 followers. They host regular LinkedIn live events with employers to help military spouses learn about new opportunities and ask questions directly to the employers. 

Military Spouse Employment Partnership on LinkedIn I Website

Category: Best Facebook Presence

Winner: Spring Hill Kansas Police Department

The judges noted that the Spring Hill Kansas Police Department has an excellent Facebook presence and serves as a great example of using the platform to community build. They use humor, create wonderful content, are very engaged with followers, are committed to inclusivity and utilize the accessibility functions of Facebook.   

Spring Hill Kansas Police Department on Facebook I Website

Category Finalists:

  • City of Las Cruces, NM
  • Grand Junction Police Department, CO
  • Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
  • Southlake DPS, TX

Category: Best Instagram Presence

Winners: Utah Department of Transportation and Washington State Department of Natural Resources

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

The judges for this panel were impressed by the social media goals articulated by all of the agencies in this category. Each one exhibited impressive growth and audience engagement that went beyond their posts and was evident through all of the content on the account.

Utah Department of Transportation was selected as the winner as their content walked a fine line dedicated to reaching a local audience while still creating content that exhibited appeal to a wider audience. Their entry showed they have the skill and vision to make content that is informative, entertaining and sells the agency to a growing, engaged audience.

Utah Department of Transportation on Instagram I Website

Washington State Department of Natural Resources account was a favorite among all of the judges on the panel thanks to their creativity, engagement and well-written entry. Their strategy is to post content you’d share with your best friend, and the judges all agreed that they did just that.

Washington State Department of Natural Resources on Instagram I Website

Category Finalists:

  • Idaho Transportation Department
  • Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
  • National Park Service
  • NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
  • San Carlos Park Fire Protection & Rescue Service District
  • Texas Water Development Board
  • Transportation and Public Works - Get There ATX
  • United States Patent and Trademark Office

Category: Best LinkedIn Presence

Winner: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was selected as the winner for this category as they strive to create conversations, not just clicks, putting the “social” in social media. Their LinkedIn page presents a variety of content including news updates, expert voices, success stories, and interactive materials.  

 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on LinkedIn I Website

Category Finalists:

  • City of Allen, TX
  • Wake County Government, NC
  • Wisconsin Department of Administration

Category: Best Nextdoor Presence

Winner: Charlotte County, FL

Nextdoor allows communications teams to target precise areas of their communities with specific messages. This award recognizes a government agency that embodies what it means to be a good neighbor by using Nextdoor to show heart, emphasize community, and make an impact. 

Charlotte County, Florida was selected as the winner of this category as judges were impressed by their use of staff names and photos to engage with their audience, using evacuation zones as target areas and their impressive growth.

Charlotte County on Nextdoor I Website 

Category Finalists:

  • Brazos River Authority, TX
  • Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, FL

Category: Best Podcast

Winner: Michigan Department of Natural Resources

The judges of this category chose Michigan DNR’s Wildtalk podcast as the winning entry because they put so much thought into their entry, showcasing the overall quality of the show and their commitment to their podcasting efforts overall. Their goals stood out as a beacon of excellence and they highlighted the steps they took to ensure the show is as inclusive and accessible as possible, beyond just providing transcripts.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources Podcast I Website

Category Finalists:

  • City of Celina, TX
  • City of Dublin, OH
  • Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, FL
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Category: Best Use of Short Form Video

Winners: City of McKinney, TX and Glendale Police Department, CA

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

The judges noted that the NSYNC style video from the City of McKinney reflected the agency’s brand, aligned with their strategy to use fun content to educate and showed both elements perfectly “in sync”. The city embraces its millennial audience and understands the importance of creating engaging, relevant content. 

City of McKinney on X I FacebookInstagram I Website

Judges noted that the Glendale Police Department video featuring facility dog Brisket also included staff and was creative despite policy challenges. The video also embodied their mission and the diversity of the jobs and people. 

Glendale Police Department on X I Instagram I Website

 Category Finalists:

  • City of Boise, ID
  • City of Long Beach, CA
  • City of Prior Lake, MN 
  • Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
  • Oklahoma Dept. of Wildlife Conservation 
  • Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, FL 
  • St. Louis County Government, MO 
  • Town of Castle Rock, CO

Category: Best Use of Long Form Video

Winners: City of Overland Park, KS and Southlake DPS, TX

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

Judges for this category selected City of Overland Park because they loved the real-world impact of the “Arboretum at a Glance” video in addressing a felt need and bringing resolution. The judges said they also appreciated that the work was entirely done in-house.

City of Overland Park on YouTube I Instagram I X I Facebook I Website 

The judges noted that Southlake DPS did an exceptional job on their entry "The Real Cops of Southlake" – a parody of the hit show “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” Southlake has a reputation for creating memorable humor pieces. The judges said this one went above and beyond normal humor. Their attention to detail in every aspect of the video truly made it stand out above any other humor videos we saw. The video provided education, invited conversation and kept viewers engaged.

Southlake DPS on YouTube I Instagram I X I Facebook I Website

Category Finalists:

  • Celina Police Department, TX 
  • City of Celina, TX 
  • City of Grand Junction, CO 
  • Coral Springs Police Department, FL
  • Livermore Police Department, CA 
  • Wake County Government, NC 
  • West Metro Fire Rescue, CO

Category: Best Social Media Customer Service

Winner: City of Goodyear Digital Communications, AZ

The City of Goodyear, Arizona digital communications team is deeply committed to their role as public servants. This dedication is evident in their approach to customer service on social media, where every comment is promptly and thoughtfully read, tagged, and addressed within 3-4 hours through personalized interactions. Prioritizing proactive engagement and swift response, their team ensures they engage with the community they serve.

City of Goodyear Digital Communications on Facebook I Instagram I X I LinkedIn I Website

Category Finalists:

  • Brazos River Authority, TX
  • Camano Island Fire & Rescue, WA 
  • City of Battle Creek, MI

Category: Best Use of Social Media in an Emergency

Winner: City of Tampa, FL

City of Tampa’s communications during critical incidents showcased strategic use of available tools, resourcefulness and effective collaboration with existing partnerships to amplify messaging. The judges also gave commendation for leveraging diverse platforms and engaging community members with the highest followers! Overall, a phenomenal job in demonstrating broad and outcome-driven social media communications during an emergency.

City of Tampa on Facebook I Instagram I X I LinkedIn I Website

Category Finalists:

  • Charlotte County, FL
  • City of Long Beach, CA
  • Southlake DPS, TX
  • Utah Department of Transportation

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