Social media offers so much potential for building and improving relationships. Relationships form the basic building blocks of networks, and strong networks strengthen communities. Alberta Municipal Affairs’ Public Input Toolkit begins: “Relationships among people are a critical element of municipal business,” but developing relationships in today’s fast-paced, uber-connected world often presents a challenge for smaller municipalities with limited resources and expertise. Keeping in mind a few basics strategies can help to engage citizens, improve services and spark the exchange of ideas.
Before beginning, it’s important to consider the reasons people are using social media in the first place. In the book Networked, authors Rainie and Wellman list the advantages of online engagement: the opportunity to learn; the ability for self expression; a space for communities to connect and collaborate; the opportunity to gain a sense of empowerment and a prelude to greater glory.
Greater glory aside, how do you create an online space where that encourages learning, connecting and collaborating? Here are a few tips recommended by Amy Porterfield to help you “de-stress your social media marketing” and begin your building better relationships online:
1. Make a big impact
· Photos equal engagement – photos on Facebook generate over 50% more Likes
· Think of a "snackable strategy,” easily digestible, clear messages
· Sneak peak strategy – take people behind the scenes
· Inspiring quote strategy – use an image and call to action; include share or RT if you agree
2. Know your audience
· Identify five niche topics
· Identify five non-niche topics
· Research the interest and behaviors of the ideal audience
3. Ignite action
· Ask fans to comment, Like, RT, share
· Use kick-starters such as:
i. On a scale of 1-10…
ii. Yes or no
iii. Do or don’t
· Ask for help:
i. We need your feedback/advice
ii. What do you think?
I hope you find these suggestions helpful. If you have other ideas for calls to action or strategies that helped you build online relationships, please comment below. I’d love to hear about them!
Love your blog! I find the biggest challenge is making others aware that one's blog, article, or event even exist. I must say I was quite happy to see that for the most part I am already following your steps outlined in this post. =)After working with the Town it was quite apparent that it is impossible to reach every person out there through just one form of communication. No matter how much advertising is done, you will have people come to you saying they didn't know anything about it! Myself included! LOLLooking forward to more of your blog! =)
Great post, Krista!You are quite right that municipalities have a particularly difficult challenge using social media, particularly since the more you do, the more there is to do. However, social media is must in your engagement toolkit as a municipal communicator. You have outlined some great tips for interacting with the public and encouraging interaction. This is key since this interaction is one way you can measure whether people are interested in continuing a conversation with your municipality or business.David