Today's guest blog post comes from Senior Office Mike McCoy of the Houston, Texas, Police Department (HPD). Mike has been a police officer since 1982, and has worked in recruiting until 2009. Mike created a successful blog (www.hpdblog.com) in 2007 to help reach out to possible recruits on a more personal level. Mike is now working in public affairs where he maintains the HPD Facebook, Twitter, and of course the Recruiting Blog, where it all started. He not only maintains these sites, but also takes a majority of the photos and produces some of the video. Please contact Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org or 713-308-3206 if you have any ideas or questions.
What is the perception of a police officer to the general public? Many times in my thirty years as a Houston police officer I have attended gatherings where it’s inevitable that someone tells me that they are shocked when they find out I am a police officer because I have a sense of humor. The general public; the ones who have no friends, relatives, or co-workers who are cops, see us as serious, mean, and humorless individuals.
I took that to heart when I started the Houston Police Department
(HPD) Facebook page back in August of 2009. Sure, like most of us, we had our challenges at first. We were not sure what to post, how often to post, and how to monitor what we had posted. We had major growing pains. It took some time, but we managed to figure it out.
I noticed that the biggest response and involvement comes when I throw in a splash of humor in my post. Many comments from our “fans” on a humorous post indicate that the post is well received and in turn we get comments stating that they are happy to see that HPD officers are actual humans and not emotionless robots.
The majority of our posts involve crime fighting statistics, crime prevention tips, and positive stories involving our officers, but we noticed that although well received, it generally did not get much response in the form of comments and interaction.
Humor sells, folks.
This works both ways. Humor generates buzz, “shares”, and comments which in turn increases your fan base. For the most part the humor connects with many individuals on many different levels, thus confirming that we are not emotionless robots, but humans with feelings as well.
Make fun of yourself once in awhile, show your emotions, and tell a funny story. It works.
Here is your first hint at humor: celebrate National Doughnut Day; your fans will love you for it.