In this post I am going to look at how social media helps a sheriff’s office do their job more safely and efficiently.
Social media has been a b2b marketing bandwagon for a couple of years now. More b2b companies are active on social media than ever before. But with the rise in social media has come some realizations: social media isn’t a worthwhile investment for every business, in fact it’s hard to even measure how effective social media is. According to the 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, only 37% of marketers agreed that they were able to measure their social media activities. With this in mind, social media can be a great tool to help certain businesses and organizations do their jobs better. See this blog on maximizing social media ROI.
I recently graduated from the University of Georgia which happens to be located right next to Oconee County, the place that my fiancé grew up. One day she told me I had to check out the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook page. When she showed me I was impressed and a little shocked: the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is an organization that has used Facebook like a boss.
How many social likes do you usually get? How many would make your draw drop? Unless you are some kind of internet sensation, I’m guessing that 4,000 likes on a Facebook status might shock you a little bit.
Meet the Oconee County Georgia Sheriff’s Office. Check out this screen shot from their Facebook page:
First off, sense when did cops have a sense of humor? Secondly, that is a butt load of likes.
Do you remember that dress picture that was blowing up your Facebook news feed a couple of months ago? Yep… These clever cops are pretty internet savvy.
Different social networks are useful for different things. Linkedin is mainly for professional networking, Twitter is mainly for news and pithy one liners, and Facebook is most used for personal interactions like keeping up with college friends and posting cat videos.
People are most likely not going to go to Facebook to do business. Thus businesses and organizations are going to have to engage with people on a largely un-professional level. While prospects are most likely not going to message you asking for pricing on your latest products, Facebook is great for improving an organization’s image and customer relations.
As you can see from the post above, humor and personality go far on Facebook.
By using humor, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is able to redefine the boring and unrelatable stereotype that is often placed on police officers. Let’s look at a few more posts…
A personal, heartfelt thank you goes a long way.
Healthy competition never hurt anybody.
Who knew that all it takes to get more views is to ask?
Man, these guys do have a sense of humor.
I want to go hug a cop right now, and Ginger Redwine Hurst.
Honesty and integrity are always a good thing. Sooner or later people are going to criticize. When they do, don’t ignore it, use it as an opportunity to show people what you are doing right.
A great way to establish and preserve a good brand: show people that you care and that you are doing your job well.
Again, honesty is a good thing. Also, facing rumors head on. Especially if those rumors have to do with escaped murderers.
Let people share in your successes. People like to be a part of something bigger than themselves.
More healthy competition.
These cops’ quick whit strikes again.
Man that’s cute!
So is the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office making bank from their Facebook page? Nope. So how do they measure their social media ROI?
Everybody knows that police have a hard job. It’s not easy to enforce the law. Negative perceptions of cops don’t make their job any easier. By creating a relatable online brand, they made their job easier. I bet that Oconee County residence can’t help but think about their Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook page when they see a cop car drive by. If I get pulled over by officer Elrod and recognize him from his picture with the cute kid in his car, my first impression is not of a policeman who is pulling me over, but of a nice guy that likes kids. That first impression will most likely make our interaction more pleasant.
Not to be too dramatic, but one day that Facebook page may save officer Elrod’s life, or the life of someone who might have attacked him if public opinion of policemen in the area wasn’t as positive.
So how does the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office measure the ROI of its social media efforts? While their Facebook page isn’t raking in the big bucks, I think it is still a valuable endeavor.
How can you use social media to effect your brand image? Take a few tips from the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office:
1) Be appropriate. Find out which social networks are appropriate for your industry and company goals and then find out what the appropriate communication is on those social networks.
2) Be funny. On non-professional networks (like Facebook and Twitter), using appropriate humor is great for making your brand more relatable. Keyword: appropriate. Making tasteless jokes can be destructive to a brand.
3) Address criticism. The Oconee County Police used clear facts to fight the commonly held belief that cops make money when they give tickets. Are there negative perceptions about your industry, brand, company, yourself? When they are true then change them. When they are false, present the facts clearly.
4) Share success stories. Use peer pressure in your favor: a great way to grow your following is to tell everybody how big your following is. Bragging if done correctly can get your supporters excited, letting them know that they were right about you all along.
5) Don’t post in a vacuum. No one wants to hear you drone on about yourself and your products. The Oconee Sheriff’s Office posted about real people and real issues that were going on in the community. Even some of the humorous posts were addressing issues in the community.
6) Share about individual employees. Don’t be afraid to step away from posting about the ambiguous “we.” Highlighting individual employees is a great way to give your audience a peek into the culture of your company, and to remind them that you are actual real living people.
With the police showing up so frequently in the news, it is nice to see a police force that is using social media to create such positive engagement with their community.
Social media marketing isn’t the only thing a company needs to establish a strong brand, but it can help.
Thanks for reading!