AJ Dimas-Lehndorf October 18th, 2016
As some of you (and some hoodie peddlers) know, I live in Devon. If I was asked to critique and change my town’s social media strategy, my response would look a little like this:
To be fair, I can’t imagine that the Town of Devon has much time or money allocated to social media. They are probably doing the best that they can. If you work for the town and you’re reading this post, just think of it as a few observations and suggestions from a local village person.
I will begin with the town’s Instagram profile.
The first step to using Instagram is actually using Instagram. They got really excited about Christmas in 2015, and haven’t really posted since. I would add a description to the profile so that residents who look it up know they have found the official account of the Town of Devon. The internet is not local, but global, so I would also include a concise note about where we are located, and what makes us special. This way, we could use it as a marketing tool to Instagram users who don’t live in Devon, but could be persuaded to visit or even move there. I would also try to engage with the audience to gain and maintain followers. The City of Calgary uses a couple of techniques on Instagram that encourage engagement.
They ask users to tag their own photos with a specific hashtag so they can interact with the official page. I think this is a great idea because the pictures are a beautiful representation of the city for prospective visitors and citizens alike. The users do the hard work, taking the photos, and they feel great when they get featured (I know I would). This symbiotic relationship is a great engagement strategy that Devon could use.
The Town of Devon uses other social media platforms as well.
I would avoid clip art altogether, because it’s not 2003, and replace it with photos from past events, or even stock photos in a pinch. I think this change would make the first post more personal and professional. The second set of posts shows two things that I would change. Most posts are preceded or succeeded by a “^” and two letters. I have no idea what the symbols are supposed to mean, so I would eliminate them, or include their meaning in the description. The Town also has a habit of posting the same status multiple times in a row, and they do this on twitter as well. Instead, I would use the “share” and “retweet” functions to repeat the information, while not appearing redundant or irritating. I would promote town events and facilities by posting pictures of relevant people and places. I would engage with my audience by posting questions that they can reply to in the comments, thereby working the post into the timelines of the user’s friends. Finally, I would implement a photo contest in which users would guess where a photo was taken each week. This idea is based on EIA’s “Fun Flying Fridays.”
The Town of Devon’s social media profiles could gain followers by directly interacting with users and promoting personal content that is interesting to both local citizens and potential visitors.