8 Ways Local Governments Can Step Up Their Social Media

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If local governments are not on social media, they’re missing out on countless ways to connect, inform and engage the public. For government agencies, social media provides more channels to let the people know what’s going on around them, from information on an urgent weather event or upcoming community gathering, and promoting what officials have accomplished. It’s a way to be more accessible and a part of citizens’ daily lives.

Here are eight ways local governments can step up their social media presence:

Urgent messaging

Social media is a quick way for municipalities to share information during emergencies like  weather alerts. Not only is it fast, but messages can be shared to multiple channels with links to important resources.

San Luis Obispo County continues to share updates on local wildfires:


Daily check-ins

Start the morning off with a post that shares upcoming events or meetings going on that day. It’s also great to share weather information. Does the forecast call for sunshine and heat? Post a picture of a municipality pool or beach. If it calls for rain, let the public know you’re keeping an eye on it for events that might have to be postponed or canceled.


Meeting engagement

Let people know when they can listen in or give input. Typically, governments are required by law to give notice for public meetings and typically do so in their official newspapers and on their websites, but they can do the public an added service by sharing on social media when meetings are happening. By posting a meeting agenda, community members can quickly see if it’s a meeting they’d want to attend to provide public input or follow developments in a new policy that affects them. If meetings are recorded, share the video link so that people who can’t make it in person can still participate.

Check out how the City of Fort Collins used Twitter the public of an extended feedback period:


Upcoming events

Need volunteers to register for an upcoming park clean up or want a well-attended movie night put on by the your youth commission? Get the message out social media. Online flyers with links to registration forms that would otherwise be emailed or posted on the municipality website with event details can easily be uploaded to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram several times ahead of the event. Be sure to share photos before and during the event so people know it’s happening! Photos and videos can be used to promote the next event, as people are more likely to engage with posts with some type of media.

The City of Grand Rapids shares upcoming events in a video on Facebook and links to its calendar:


Promote progress

Show how the process is working. Did a public forum on local traffic have a great turnout? Share it! Post a photo of the crowd to show it was well-attended, inform the public of the next step in the process and thank those who took the time to be there. Additionally, let people know the status of projects around town.

See here how the City of Fayetteville gave updates on a public works project:


Share local history

Local governments can have a little fun on social media, too. The Town of Riverhead  gets in on #ThrowbackThursday, or #tbt, posting a weekly photo of town landmarks or long gone sites of the past that the town historian digs up.


Get personal

Show the faces of the people that keep things running. It’s a testament to their work, as well as a way to show the public the human side of their government. It also provides a way to update the public on what different departments are working on. Is it National Volunteer Week? Share a photo from a recent event to thank volunteers and promote the next one.

The City of Modesto got in on #NationalInternDay, using the popular hashtag to show one of its interns:


Have some fun

Local governments can show a little personality on social media to its advantage by creating eye-catching posts with photos or memes. It’s a fun way to show a sense of humor and stop people from quickly scrolling by in their newsfeeds.

Fairfax County got funny with an old prom photo to promote a local service: