I had originally intended to describe the following plan as part of my goals for 2014, following the current Social Media Beat trend of New Year’s posts. I was then inspired by Dionne Waugh’s blog post
about multiple agency “tweeters” to provide my perspective about using a single agency source for Twitter. Thankfully for me and my agency, these two subjects are closely related.
San Mateo Police Department is a mid-size agency, in that 50 to 150 sworn range that not only suits the majority of agencies in North America, it also fits the size range generally of “precincts,” “companies,” or whatever label large agencies place on their regional district stations. If memory serves, there’s a magic maximum number for effective management at around 108 …
My point is that while I prefer to have a single source of Twitter contact to maximize the impact of our information to our 4600+ followers, rather than “diluting” our messaging impact through multiple tweeters, we are essentially messaging from a 100 cop-agency, to a neighborhood of about 100,000 residents. This is likely a similar size community reached by a large agency’s “district tweeter,” so this is one of those debates where maybe both sides are right!
The question is – what are you sending out to those followers through your source, and are you providing some variety that addresses crime trends and safety tips, good work from your cops, your agency’s relationship with your community, and maybe some feature pieces about its different divisions and responsibilities?
I think Twitter and Facebook are both great venues for this information, but I don’t want to spread out to too many Facebook pages or Twitter accounts to publicize this broad range of information. My plan for 2014 is to broaden the scope of information coming from our agency, while keeping our sources limited and tight, so our community and the media know exactly where to go to get our information.
Any of you who deal with your agency’s government website for information know how clunky and non user-friendly these web pages can be. Wordpress, Blogger, or a similar blog-page of your choice can be a much easier alternative. They tend to be fully customizable, easy to set up, and the biggest benefit is the ability to send out a link via social media platforms when you publish the blog article. This is a flexible enough format to post press releases, videos, quasi-news articles, photo slideshows, or anything else your creative mind wishes to produce.
My only caveat advice is this – link it up to your government webpage so that command staff, department heads, and government officials don’t think you’ve taken your agency completely of the government grid!
Here’s my varied to do list for the www.SanMateoPD.org
blog this year. Each of these features will be publicized through our established Twitter and Facebook accounts:
• Detailed safety tips on various criminal trends as continuation from media
releases (keeps our safety message in the release brief – with more
• Featured safety information (“From the Desk of …” type information from our
fraud detective, property crimes detective, traffic officer, etc.)
• Featured division information (Focused articles on our K9, SWAT, Traffic Unit,
Dispatch, Civilian Volunteers & Neighborhood Watch)
• Community outreach features (Although I see these as sometimes not rising
to the level of “Press Release” the “everything is a press release” rule applies,
and sometimes these are the most media-generating of all)
What’s on YOUR to do list?