I recently attended an event hosted by Twitter and Hootsuite called “Igniting Your Marketing Success on Twitter” (#IgniteMktgSuccess
) where experts from both companies gave advice to small and medium-sized business owners on how to best leverage digital media tools for marketing success.
Marketing? What does marketing have to do with police departments? A lot. Granted, police departments are not businesses but we do offer a product and we have no shortage of customers. Our product is our service. Our customers are our residents, businesses, and civic groups. Once you make that connection, you realize how important it is to learn how the private sector communicates with their customers using digital media and how law enforcement stands to benefit. Remember this corollary as you read on.
Many small to medium-sized businesses have limited staffing and few resources to dedicate towards social media. Sound familiar? It should. Most police departments I’ve spoken to are in the same position. Yet, these same businesses have realized the return on investment for social is huge. In the last few years, successful businesses have recognized that customer expectations and the social media landscape have shifted. Customers talk about brands, products, and services, and expect to hear back from businesses in these conversations. This same customer base has similar expectations of government and police departments.
Jeanette Gibson (@JeanetteG
), head of customer success and community at @HootSuite
, talked about how the combination of a website and presence on Twitter can be phenomenal for business. Perhaps the biggest takeaway was the trend and expectation that it’s no longer B2C (business to consumer); it’s H2H (human to human). Her advice? “Share your passion, share your stories, people tap into that. Share what inspires [your organization].” Other great points include:
• Monitor social networks, respond fast
• Use a dashboard to save time
• Engage directly with customers
• Provide content that is human and relevant
Anne Mercogliano (@akmercog
), head of small/medium business marketing at Twitter, provided great insight on Twitter and the mobile market. Some interesting stats: 76% of users access Twitter using a mobile device. In her own words, “This is a great way to get the customer walking down the street.” For law enforcement, this can often mean witnesses providing real-time information on incidents throughout your jurisdiction. They might be complaining about a traffic issue but you’ll likely earn an ardent supporter when they feel that their issue or complaint was heard and responded to by their local police department. Another takeaway Anne discussed was, “It’s not just you spreading the word, it’s about others spreading the word for you.” It’s one thing for a police department to spread its own message. It’s a whole new level when your community does it for you.
For the law enforcement digital media managers out there, I encourage you to follow the private sector and learn what works and doesn’t work for them. There’s no need to recreate the proverbial wheel.
The marketing success event can be seen in its entirety here