Digital communications and the role that it plays

By Lindsay Housaman

Public relationships are just like our private relationships. We talk to each other when, how and where we are. That’s why communicating on social media is so important to government agencies, corporations and companies. 

Everyone is on social media. That’s where the conversations are.

Hootsuite, a platform used for managing digital marketing, reports 4.33 billion active social media users who spend an average of two hours, 22 minutes a day on platforms. Everyone is guilty of scrolling the time away, however, within those times, messages, ideas, and opinions are shared and conversations are happening. 

It is how any organization introduces itself, its staff, products, and services to you. Like any relationship, some days, we discuss serious issues, other times we just want to wish you a happy Friday. The key is to keep the conversation going. 

With that in mind, governmental agencies are getting better at “talking” the way we speak, in plain language. What is so natural for us isn’t so natural for agencies. In 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Plain Writing Act. Change is tough for those who are used to speaking in more formal language, however, please know governments and corporations are doing their best to trend towards everyday language. Those who don’t speak in “plain language” will miss reaching their audience and customers on an emotional level. 

One of the main missions of social media communications is to allow your organization, agency, or businesses to allow its “personality” to shine on social media. Allow the tone and tenor of your organization be known. As with our personal relationships, the more people communicate, the more a personality comes forth. The key is consistent communication. Consistency can be accomplished by using several small campaigns at once. For example, the Town of Bluffton and Bluffton Police Department have campaigns such as “Meet Us Monday,” a weekly introduction to town staff. The police department has a “9 PM Routine,” a campaign to remind people to lock all vehicle and house doors at 9 p.m. The objective is to deliver safety or other messages wrapped in the personality of the town while caring for its citizens. 

People listen when they know you care.

Social media managers usually have multiple skills, such as graphic design, photography and videography skills. Additionally, this position also requires research, creativity and marketing. Social media platforms change daily, and managers must keep abreast of those changes. It is not a nine to five job, it’s around the clock


Tips for social media managers in 2021:

  • Be sensitive to what’s going on in the world to ensure you post content that is not only timely, but strikes the right tone. This past year in particular has shown the importance of “reading the room” in order to post meaningful content – think about how your company’s tone will be perceived in everything that you do/post. 
  • Make sure that in addition to specific information about your company, your posts also educate and provide value. The 80/20 rule (with 80 percent of posts serving to educate, inform and/or entertain and only 20 percent of posts directly promoting your business) is still a good formula to follow – and ensures that your audience will seek out your social media for added value. 
  • Above all, encourage engagement. Social media that engages your audience through eye-catching photos, catchy wording, thought-provoking questions and contests is a great way to build relationships – and make sure to encourage your staff, clients and volunteers to engage with your posts, too.

Lindsay Housaman is the digital communications manager for the Town of Bluffton. She oversees all facets of the Town’s digital content and strategy for Bluffton and its police department, including all social media platforms and its website.

 

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