Date: Friday, March 04, 2011
In the beginning, there were press releases. Then there was posting your press releases online, and now you're posting them on your social media sites.
But at some point you need to start creating content specifically for your social media sites. Sure you can still use your current content, but there are differences between how that's used in the traditional sense and how it's used online.
For example, as our recruit class was taught this week, you don't type anything in all capital letters unless you want to yell at people and really get their attention. Writing something in all capital letters is the online equivalent of shouting. We at Richmond Police
use it when we tweet about traffic-related incidents. We do it like this: "TRAFFIC ALERT: West Main Street closed at 5th Street for accident."
Something else to considering when posting content online is try to keep it short. People, especially younger generations, don't read items online the same way they would read a book or a newspaper. Generally, they scan or skim-read. The same is true of videos. People are more likely to read or watch what you've posted when it's shorter.
It's also good to try to communicate in a more conversational tone online. After all, you're trying to personalize your department and the communication. For example, if you're responding to a comment on Facebook, use the person's first name if you feel comfortable, or Mr. or Ms. And if you feel comfortable and it's appropriate, feel free to use a smiley face or an exclamation point. But don't use too many or you can come off sounding too personal.
Bottom line: think of what you read online. What keeps your attention? How long do you sit at a computer or read items on your phone? What videos or photos catch your attention? Think of what's interesting to you and what you'd want to know if you were a citizen learning about public safety in your neighborhood. Then go from there.