Optimizing Your Social Media Presence with Auditing
For local governments unsure on how on to improve their social media game, an audit will help answer key questions that will to determine the best content that will reach target audiences.
First, why should municipalities use social media at all? The Association of Local Government Auditors put it simply:
“Social media breaks down walls to allow the direct sharing of information to citizens and city officials about issues that impact their daily lives. This can only be a win-win for transparency and civic engagement.”
Who is your audience? For governments, that means the constituents and residents who benefit from, and contribute taxes to, your services.
What are your goals? Social media offers different ways to share important information, including text, photo and video. Look at what other governments are doing for examples of best practices from writing style and tone, to the number of posts per day. Then, set a policy, stick to it, make it public and adapt where needed. This will not only create consistency, but also allow for further transparency with your audience.
What is your agency's policy? The Institute for Local Government offers some social media policy examples here. King County, Washington set up a webpagewith links to social media accounts for each of its departments, along with a social media handbook and action plan those bodies adhere to.
What platforms should you use? There aremany, but it’s smart to stick with a combination of the most widely used platforms— Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest— so there’s a better chance to reach as many people as possible. For instance, about two-thirds of U.S. adults use Facebook, according to data from the Pew Research Center.
How fresh is your content? Search Engine Journal has extremely helpful information for content creators that municipalities can use when considering what to examine in a social media audit. One reason they give for performing an audit is staleness, in that what worked a couple years ago might not work today, so update content where possible. For governments, that especially goes for information that is crucial to productive people. An audit can help pick out information that is no longer up-to-date or accurate, whether it be related to deadlines or new policies.
How are your posts performing? Search Engine Journal suggests starting out by tracking content with a spreadsheet broken down with columns for URL, content Author, production time, title, date, content type, content goal, word count, comments, and social shares. Here’s their handy sample spreadsheet, along with their content data excel doc.