Government Social Media Workshop: 6 Things to NEVER Do on Social Media as a Government Official or Agency

6 Things Gov Blog Post header

Does Social Media frighten your government organization? Actually, if you don’t have a solid social media policy and strategy, it actually should. The basic nature of social media is based on sharing and conversations, so negative comments or Social Media ‘mistakes’ could reach mass awareness before it can be addressed by your government organization if you don’t have a trained team, a solid strategy and a social media policy.

To avoid such a situation, here are 6 things to NEVER do on social media as a government official or agency:

  1. Rant and complain. Just don’t. Don’t create or join in negative conversations. Take the upper hand and find a positive way to encourage and support your community – and to represent your office/department. Don’t post anything that you wouldn’t want shared with your boss, the media or your mother!
  2. Be sarcastic. While it is fun to show your personality on social media, humor is subjective. Be careful when posting sarcasm or potentially ‘uncomfortable’ humor. Often this type of communication can be misunderstood and requires a lot of attention to resolve it if it is taken the wrong way.
  3. Give Social Media account access to the wrong people. Only allow access to your Social Media accounts to anyone with whom you have COMPLETE confidence in their representation of you/your organization online – at all times. Just because an intern is active in Social Media, he/she may not be mature/knowledgeable enough to respond on your behalf. Avoid any Admins who might possibly mistake their work social media account for their personal account or might potentially update in Social Media while drinking.
  4. Have only one person in charge of your Social Media. What happens if that person quits, becomes disgruntled, gets sick, or, God forbid, dies? Have multiple administrators for all of your Social Media accounts to make sure you maintain access as well as potential use as a back-up should the other administrator not be accessible.
  5. Remove comments. But, wait! What if they’re negative? (Right?!) People comment on Social Media because they want to be heard. Comments about your government official/agency may be your constituents’ attempt to communicate with or about you. You may not be able to resolve their complaint or situation, but you have the wonderful opportunity to show them that you care and that their feedback/situation is important to you. Often just responding with ‘Thank you for your feedback. We’ll …” shows them and others that you are interested in their opinion and receiving their feedback. The one exception for removing comments is any that may be offensive or threatening. These should be addressed offline.
  6. Try to be on every social network. It’s impossible and there is no way you can do every one of them well. Follow your Government Social Media Policy and Strategy to determine which social networks align with your audience/community as well as your social media strategy/goals. Claim your name in other social networks and post that you’re not active there but to sign up for your updates for the future.

The best way to get great results on Social Media as a government official/agency, is to have a solid Social Media strategy and a trained team who can implement it. 

Need help with your government Social Media plan? We can help. Contact Boot Camp Digital for help utilizing Social Media to support and grow your community online. We offer Social Media policy workshops and Social Media training for government employees, as well as organizations and companies.

January Social Media Round Up

Social media news monthly round up

Check out our round-up of the biggest changes in social media and digital marketing from the last month. Let us do the work for you, we gather the updates, you reap the benefit of having all of them in one place!

We read all of the latest social media news so you don’t have to.

As a value add for our All Access Pass Members, we provide a monthly call where in 30 minutes we share the biggest changes in social media and importantly how they impact your social media strategy and 30 minutes of open Q&A where we answer questions from our members!

The top news in social media that we covered this month includes:

Facebook

  • Testing professional services feature – This service lets you find local businesses based on ratings and reviews. This could be interesting (IF people actually use it) and it would make local business Pages and reviews even more important. Facebook has tried to make business listing more relevant in the past with enhanced search, etc, but they have not been overly successful. We’ll keep our eyes on this and keep you updated.
  • Facebook videos are embeddable – Could Facebook be getting in on YouTubes turf? Maybe. Facebook launched an embed API which means that Facebook videos can now be embedded on other sites. This is another move in the direction of making Facebook more about videos.
  • Facebook LIVE gets bigger – Facebook live brings the streaming power of Periscope to Facebook. Verified Pages can now stream live — the streamed event shows up as a notification to fans and is recorded and added to the Timeline after streaming. This is a great way to increase visibility with your fans.
  • Facebook messenger adds fun new features – This is probably more relevant for personal users vs. businesses, but Messenger has new capabilities including private photo group messaging, fun animations and more. As Messenger becomes more relevant it will likely generate increased business opportunities over time. Also, Facebook announced that Messenger has over 800 Million Users… making messenger one of the biggest social networks.
  • Facebook Launches Audience Optimizer – This is mostly relevant for content producers, however it allows you to suggest who is likely to be interested in your content. This may be linked to rumors that Facebook will be launching additional newsfeeds to connect you to things you might be interested in.
  • Facebook Enhances Lead Ads – Facebook enhances their lead ads to provide additional information to drive sign ups. If you haven’t checked out lead ads yet take a look – initial studies show that they are a cost effective way to focus your Facebook advertising budget.

LinkedIn

Twitter

  • Celebrate New Years with a Secret Emoji – Twitter created a cool feature where if you used the #HappyNewYear a new year emoji would be unlocked and added to the Tweet. While this isn’t mind-blowing it could signal potential future opportunities – imagine if a brand could create/purchase special emojis that are unlocked when you use their hashtag….
  • Twitter launches conversational promoted Tweets – This is ONLY available with promoted Tweets, but you can now create conversations with Promoted Tweets. This makes Twitter ads even more interactive — if you actually create an ad that people want to interact with.
  • Is Twitter Lifting the Character Limit – There are rumors that Twitter is lifting the character limit – so instead of 140 characters you could have 10,000 characters. This has not been confirmed. In unrelated (or maybe related?) news a number of top executives recently left Twitter, suggesting changes at the social network.

Pinterest

  • Pinterest Buyable Pins show price drops – Pinterest is focusing on retail (they announced that Retail and CPG are their focus areas for ads) and Buyable Pins will now feature price drops, making them more relevant for shoppers.

Vine

  • Vine For You Channel – Vine has created a custom channel for each user populated with Vines they think you’ll love. As Vine continues to try to become the “go-to” place for video consumption this new feature could drive even more users.

Google+

  • Google+ Adds Features – You thought it was dead, didn’t you? Google is still looking to do SOMETHING with Google+ and make it a relevant community. Google+ added community categories in an attempt to drive user discussions on the platform.

Persiscope

Influencer Marketing and the FTC

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Government Social Media Workshop: 5 Guidelines for Government Officials/Organizations on Social Media

5 Guidelines Blog Post header

The overall purpose of the government is to better their citizens. The government is BY the people, FOR the people – right? How does this apply now in the time of social media and digital communications? (We discussed this in a recent Government Social Media Workshop.)

The impact of Social Media has significantly changed the way ‘the people’ live, work and communicate. This change in the last decade has caused those in government to adapt how they communicate, broadcast, serve and hear from ‘the people’ in their community.

Social Media has also created significant concerns on how governments engage with their citizens. The volume of communication has greatly increased, as has the expectation for government officials and departments to respond to and support their communities.

Sound overwhelming? It can be. Most governmental offices have limited staff and demanding roles in maintaining the quality of life that residents expect. How can government officials and departments utilize social media for the good of their organizations and citizens? Here are 5 Guidelines for Government Officials/Organizations using Social Media:

  1. Determine your Government Social Media Policy and Strategy – Don’t jump on the social network on behalf of your government organization until you’ve first determined your Social Media Policy. A government Social Media Policy defines who can use Social Media for your government organization/official, what staff can/can’t do on social media, disclaimers, etc. There’s a lot to consider and legal issues that must be determined before taking that leap. Then it’s time to determine a Government Social Media Strategy.  Social Media requires that you have a solid understanding of goals for social media, who your audience is, your online voice/brand and much more. (See those posts for more information on these key elements for government social media plans.)
  2. Train your government personnel in Social Media – Training should not just include the PIO or the head of the communications team – but the staffers, and maybe even the official, such as the Mayor or Police Chief. If they want to be in touch with the public, they need to know how to use Social Media correctly. The risk for miscommunication is high in Social Media so the team – from the top down – needs to know how to use social media and when to consult with the lead of your organization’s social media efforts for advice or final approval.
  3. Go where your People are – Often government organizations/staff get overwhelmed by the number of social networks and all the time that they require to post quality content, respond to people, etc. A realistic Social Media Strategy is based on the social networks where your constituents are and where your involvement/impact is aligned with your goals. Don’t try to be on every social network. Do what is good for reaching your community and achieving your Social Media goals.
  4. Be active – Extending your government personnel/organization on Social Media requires a commitment – a long-term commitment. People using Social Media have high expectations on using it for accessing others – like government officials and government organizations, receiving customer service/information, finding out timely information and much more. Come up with a plan for your government agency/official that is do-able. And keep that commitment. An inactive Social Media account is actually worse that not being there at all – it implies that you’re not really interested in being accessible and communicating.
  5. Be Transparent – People on Social Media expect authenticity, and this definitely applies to government personnel/agencies. Deleting negative comments, giving the PR ‘line’ instead of an honest response or pushing your agenda (especially while not listening) are instant ways to lose support and all the goodwill that you’ve done in previous updates/posts. However, the opposite is also true. By honestly responding to negative comments, even with just ‘Thanks for your thoughts! We’re working to make this better,” shows that you’re listening and that your government agency cares about people in your community.

Need to create a Social Media Policy for your government agency/organization? Interested in learning more about Social Media and how your government organization can use Social Media to grow your influence in your community?

We’d love to work with you. Boot Camp Digital has worked with various government groups – from Parks Boards, to Mayor’s Advisors, to Emergency/Law Enforcement organizations, etc. We lead Social Media Policy workshops, assist government groups in creating their Social Media Strategy and train government employees on how to use Social Media to communicate and support their communities. Contact us today to find out more or plan your government social media workshop!

Join Our NEW Digital Marketing and Social Media Boot Camp Training in San Diego California 2016

San Diego Blog Post

In 2016, Boot Camp Digital has expanded our popular top-rated Social Media Workshop to include an Internet Marketing Workshop – we now offer a comprehensive 4-Day Digital Marketing Boot Camp.

The first Boot Camp will take place in San Diego California from February 23 – 26 2016.

Is Digital Marketing one of  your New Years Resolutions? It should be.

  • Digital marketing is the most in demand marketing skill by employers.
  • Many brand managers managing digital marketing don’t understand it well enough to make smart strategic decisions.
  • Digital marketing is the top area of marketing spending growth in 2016 and beyond.
  • Business owners and marketers must have a strong understanding of digital marketing to succeed.

Join us in sunny San Diego (what better place to spend a week in February?) for our first 4-Day Boot Camp. This Boot Camp will cover everything you need to know about social media and digital marketing. In 2016 we extended our Digital Marketing training based on feedback from our customers. They wanted more time to understand how to implement a comprehensive digital marketing strategy and more time to get to the meat of social media. The new format provides plenty of time to cover everything you need to know about digital marketing.

What Makes our Boot Camp Different?

Our Boot Camp is like a fitness Boot Camp – it is a fast and effective way to kick-start your knowledge. Unlike a conference that covers a lot of different content at various levels, the Boot Camp is comprehensive – it will show you EVERYTHING you need to know to be successful. PLUS we offer:

  • Step-by-step instructions to actually get results
  • Resources, tools and checklists to extend your learning
  • Extended Q&A periods to get all of your questions answered
  • A small intimate environment — not a mega-conference
  • A personalized hands-on workshop environment
  • Knowledgable industry-leading instructors

Learn everything you need to be effective in 4 Days with our intensive, interactive Boot Camp.

Seating is Limited – Join Us!!!

To keep the Boot Camp experience intimate and effective we limit participation… which means we have limited seats available. Don’t miss this opportunity to join us and get the skills you need to succeed.

Learn More about the 4 Day Digital Marketing Workshop Here.

Don’t forget to reserve your seat ASAP, or contact us if you have any questions.

Digital Marketing 101: The Core Things that Every Marketer (or business professional) Needs to Understand

Digital Marketing 101 blog post

When it comes to digital marketing, many business professionals are intimidated and don’t know where to start. That is understandable – it is a large and confusing world.

If you aren’t sure where to start or what you really need to know about digital marketing, consider starting with the Digital Marketing Foundations that every business professional should know.

Social Media: More people check Facebook every day than read a newspaper or listen to the radio (actually more people check Facebook every day than shower). Social media is the #1 activity online. This means that you can’t afford to ignore it. Regardless of your business you need to understand this powerful tool and how it impacts you.

Search Engine Optimization: Most people start with search when buying anything. You can’t afford to not understand how search engines actually work and understand how your business is represented on search engines. It blows my mind how many businesses are DEFINITELY losing out because they don’t look at how their business shows up in search engines.

Website Optimization: It is amazing how many websites still don’t work well. Most businesses hire a website company and end up dissatisfied because they feel like their site doesn’t work well…. They are usually right. Your website is the core of your digital marketing and the center of your online presence. Learn about usability and user design so that you have a website that doesn’t just look pretty, but actually serves a purpose.

Conversion Optimization & Planning: All marketing and all digital marketing is about getting people to do something. Conversion optimization is about getting more people to do what you want them to do. Conversion planning is about building a roadmap to drive people to take action. If you want results from digital marketing, you’ll need to convert people.

Content Marketing: Content marketing really sits at the intersection of a number of digital marketing areas – social media, conversion planning, search engine optimization and more. The big idea is that creating great content improves your online presence and helps with your marketing. Understanding content marketing will help connect the dots between your marketing strategies.

Online Advertising: Online advertising is an incredibly valuable tool – any business of any size can easily run ads with a budget of any size. The targeting opportunities mean that your advertising can reach exactly the audience that you want to get in front of. Businesses ignoring online advertising are missing out on a huge and simple way to get new customers.

 Email Marketing: Email marketing has been around for a long time, so many  people forget about it… it remains one of the most effective digital marketing tools  and one of the best ways to drive action from people who are interested in your  business. Yet most people send out the same boring emails without ever thinking  about how to optimize them to get better results.

Mobile Marketing: These days mobile marketing shouldn’t be a silo – the reality is that we are marketing in a mobile world. This means that mobile should be a consideration in everything you do….. from your website to email to your in-store experience.

In 2016 – if you are a business professional you can’t afford to ignore these powerful tools and at least understand how they work. Take some time to educate yourself on Digital Marketing Foundations so that you can have success in 2016!

December Social Media Round Up

Social media news monthly round up

Check out our round-up of the biggest changes in social media and digital marketing from the last month. Let us do the work for you, we gather the updates, you reap the benefit of having all of them in one place!

We read all of the latest social media news so you don’t have to.

As a value add for our All Access Pass Members, we provide a monthly call where in 30 minutes we share the biggest changes in social media and importantly how they impact your social media strategy and 30 minutes of open Q&A where we answer questions from our members!

The top news in social media that we covered this month includes:

Facebook

  • Facebook is testing real-time status comments. Users will now be able to see if someone is typing a comment by the display of an ellipsis similar to what is seen on Messenger. Facebook feels that this will increase engagement. The goal is to keep you aware of the status of the conversation, and whether the other person intends to reply.
  • Facebook is testing a search option to find local services with reviews! Sounds a lot like something we know….Yelp. This is Facebook’s way of helping you to find businesses around you along with ratings and recommendations on where to go. This will make it easier for customers to find you but it also makes it even more imperative to make sure that the business’ contact information on Facebook is up to date and that reviews are being monitored to make sure they are responded to accordingly.
  • Facebook releases two new features to their page plugin: Messages and Events. These features allows people the ability to message your business and view events from your website. This is great because it allows you to keep people on your site longer which is the goal…to drive people to your site.
  • Facebook tests live video and collages: Could this be Facebook’s response to Periscope and Meerkat? From your status update you will have the ability to live stream video that you would like to share and include a description. During the broadcast, you’ll be able to see engagement and at the end of your broadcast, the video will be saved on your timeline. There is also an option for users to subscribe so that they are notified the next time you live stream. If you’re not ready to dive into Periscope, Meerkat or other live streaming apps, maybe consider testing out this new feature to see what you can share and the type of engagement you receive.

Twitter

Instagram

YouTube

Other Social Media Mentions

Looking ahead to Digital Marketing in 2016

  • Parse.ly shared an end-of-year survey to understand the state of the digital media industry in 2015 and discovered what challenges are expected in 2016. While digital publishers are confident in the overall success of the industry, 46% of respondents report having profited primarily through traditional advertising in 2015. This percentage is expected to drop in 2016 as efforts shift towards a combination of streams. This Report/Survey says Monetization will be Digital Media’s Biggest Challenge in 2016

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Digital and Social Media Marketing Updates

We bring you quick and easy social media & digital marketing DIY tips; along with reminders for entrepreneurs to keep motivated! We know that the Social Media & Digital Marketing world is constantly changing and updating more than daily. It’s not always easy to stay current on all the new ways to reach your audience. Spend a minute to check out the latest updates and tips that we’ve compiled for you.

B-to-B Instagram Case Study: Awareness, Branding & Sales

B to B Instagram Case Study Blog

Instagram is one of the most powerful social networks – it is growing quickly and Instagram users are highly engaged.

Many businesses and social media marketers wonder if Instagram is right for B-to-B businesses… The long answer is that it depends on your marketing objectives and the nature of your business. The short answer is that it is worth exploring Instagram – even for B-to-B businesses.

The Challenge

Boot Camp Digital wanted to use Instagram to grow brand awareness with new audiences. The target audience uses social media in a limited capacity and wants to learn more about how to strategically use social media professionally.

As a social media company, it made sense for Boot Camp Digital to participate on Instagram to demonstrate thought leadership…. But can Instagram actually generate clients for B-to-B businesses?

Execution/Implementation

Boot Camp Digital shares content on Instagram regularly to engage with those interested in learning more about social media marketing and digital marketing.

The content posted to Instagram includes social media tips and tricks, as well as live pictures from the Boot Camp Digital social media training.

Boot Camp Digital posts a few times a week with content that builds the brand and is useful to marketers.

Results

Boot Camp Digital was successful in building brand awareness through Instagram – even business related posts and quotes received 20+ likes on average and a few comments.

The engagement on the posts showed that Boot Camp Digital was achieving their strategic objective of building awareness and connecting with the Instagram audience.

Surprisingly however, the results went even further. A post about a live Social Media Boot Camp workshop generated a comment from an Instagram user who was interested in our training. The conversation was taken offline where Boot Camp Digital could share more details about the training.

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Bottom Line

There are a few things that this case study demonstrates:

  1. There is an interest in B-to-B content on Instagram.
  2. Instagram can drive awareness and be used as a brand-building tool.
  3. You never know where your customers will come from – the more great content you put out the more opportunities you’ll generate.

Find out more about what Boot Camp Digital shares on Instagram

Government Social Media Workshop: Using Social Media for Good – How Government Social Media can Impact a Community

Government for Good Blog Post header

Social Media offers government agencies/officials the opportunity to connect and influence their communities. (We were just discussing that in a Government Social Media Workshop.) But, as can happen in the real world of Social Media, sometimes the conversation is or turns antagonistic. How should government representatives respond to negative social conversations?

In this government Social Media workshop with a group of government officials our goal was to define their Government Social Media Policy and to train them on Social Media networks and strategy. (Think Mayor representatives, PIO, youth programs, health department, fire department, and other government services.)

In customizing our training to meet their needs and to assist in writing their social media policy, we noticed a recurring theme: negativity on Social Media networks in their community. Residents frequently used Social Media to complain about people, things, services, etc. (We’ve noticed this in other community groups too. There are some people who feel invisible on Social Media and tend to use it as a forum for venting and complaining.)

As leaders in a community, government officials/agencies have the opportunity to influence their community in a very positive and impactful way. Government Social Media training can make sure the digital conversation surrounding their municipality/city/community is positive.

Here are 6 ways for government officials/agencies to use Social Media to impact your community for good.

  1. Have a Plan. Know your objectives for using Social Media and how you’re going to use it to create and support positive Social media communication. Have a Social Media Policy in place that guides the team in what can/can’t be shared on Social Media, the use of which social networks and management tools for using them for positive communications in your community. Train your team on how to handle comments, questions, complaints, and crisis management – as well as encourage positive communication.
  2. Share the greatness! Be the positive force in your community. Government agencies and officials can use Social Media to share great news and updates. Examples: Positive articles/PR about your city/organization, awards, new/growing companies, citizens who are doing great things, and inspirational updates. Take a leadership role in being the voice of encouragement and support on social networks.Government social media example
  3. Get the conversation started! Create a #Hashtag for your city. For example, a neighborhood in Cincinnati is called ‘Over the Rhine’ (OTR). Supporters and fans of OTR use ‘#ThisisOTR’ when posting photos and updates about this neighborhood. It brings people together in their support of this beautiful district. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake uses #SaferStreets, #StrongerNeigbhorhoods, #BetterSchools and #HealthierCity to share her initiatives and to encourage conversation around these positive topics. What #Hashtag can you create for your city or neighborhood to get people sharing in Social Media?
  4. Encourage your employees to share positive posts too. You don’t have to ‘mandate’ that they express anything that they don’t believe/support, but if they’re at a great event or take a beautiful photo of the city, remind them to share it in social. Get the word out that your city/community is beautiful and loved. (Actually, based on your Social Media policy , they shouldn’t be sharing negative comments about your community any way!)
  5. Say it in Pictures and Videos. Every day is a great day to show a wonderful photo of your community, your employees, or your city. Take amazing photos and share them on your government Social Media networks. Capture the spirit of your community in videos and post those in various social networks.
  6. Like/Share positive comments about your city/community. Social Media is the perfect place to show your awareness, support and involvement with your citizens, constituents and other local government departments. Follow local hashtags, other government departments, local residents who are actively positive on your city/organization. LIKE and SHARE (with attribution) their photos and updates. Thank them for posting great things about your city/organization.

BONUS: (It’s not a social media idea, but still a great digital communications example.) Give a constant reminder. An advocate for Cincinnati adds this to her email signature: “What great thing have you said about Cincinnati today?” What could you add to your email signature? Website? Tagline? Think of ways you can encourage others to be positive about your community every day!

As leaders in your community, who are passionate about their citizens, businesses and neighborhoods, government officials/organizations have the opportunity to turn around any negativity in Social Media. Challenge your personnel and officials to do so with encouragement and examples, and with government Social Media training.

For government Social Media training, Social Media policy and strategy, Boot Camp Digital is here to help. Contact us today to find out about our government Social Media workshops and how we can assist your government official(s)/agencies in utilizing Social Media to reach your community and make a difference!

November Social Media Round Up

Social media news monthly round up

Check out our round-up of the biggest changes in social media and digital marketing from the last month. Let us do the work for you, we gather the updates, you reap the benefit of having all of them in one place!

We read all of the latest social media news so you don’t have to.

As a value add for our All Access Pass Members, we provide a monthly call where in 30 minutes we share the biggest changes in social media and importantly how they impact your social media strategy and 30 minutes of open Q&A where we answer questions from our members!

The top news in social media that we covered this month includes:

Facebook

Google

Instagram

Periscope

Pinterest

Twitter

YouTube

Get these updates right in your inbox: