It’s not enough simply to be on social media as a law enforcement agency. It’s vital that you engage with your followers. So once you have figured out how to use the various platforms it’s time to concentrate on nurturing your community. I have developed the 5 C’s approach to nurturing a law enforcement social media community, which I’m sharing here for the first time.
The 5 C’s approach to nurturing your LESM community
Here’s how it works:
Consider the daily newspaper you read, or the weekly current affairs show that you watch, or even your favourite sporting or fashion magazine. Each media outlet produces consistent content delivered to you at a specific time and date.
But more than that, media outlets provide content relevant to their audience, adding value to their overall experience.
This therefore results in an expectation. So as a law enforcement agency using social media it’s vital that you create an expectation around the content that you are going to serve to your community.
What does your content schedule look like? Perhaps something like this?
- Monday motivation: crime prevention tips
- Twitter chat: Tuesday 8pm - #askacop
- Throwback Thursday: cracking crime, cases solved
- Friday Interview with agency staff
- Selfie Saturday: cops on the beat
- Sunday Funday: community initiatives
- Daily operational, community and PR updates released at agreed time e.g. 7am, 11.30am, 2.30pm, 10pm (times may vary according to the social media channel)
Aside from creating an expectation around consistency of content it’s also important to create an expectation around the type of content you will share.
Will it include?
- Crime prevention tips
- Updates on incidents of crime in local area
- Public relations communications
- Recruitment notices
- Collaborations with other police agencies
- Community and charity activities
- Agency staff profiles
Collaboration is a central pillar of every law enforcement agency. You collaborate with your citizens in terms of crime prevention and crime investigation; you collaborate with state agencies in the sharing of public interest information; you collaborate with other law enforcement agencies to crack down on organised crime, you collaborate with international police forces in preventing or solving cybercrime and you collaborate with the media in order to get your message out.
Therefore, you need to consider collaboration in your social media strategy.
Follow all key stakeholders on social media; tag them in relevant status updates, consider launching joint information campaigns and give them credit on any joint initiative. You have a responsibility to communicate details of all collaborations and include your stakeholders in relevant social media conversations.
Curating content online is one tactic that is hugely successful but also appealing in your overall social media strategy. What content will you curate from third party website and/or social media sites?
Remember content, our second C? You are producing and sharing content that your audience expects to see, so keep it relevant. Here are some ideas around content curation for a law enforcement agency.
- Community activities in your local area
- Public interest information from state agencies such as local government, schools governors, media
- Inspiring stories of people who have overcome adversity e.g. military personnel
- Weather and traffic related information
- Sporting events
Campaigns are an organised method of pushing out information. In order to increase the level of engagement and interest from your community in your activities it is advisable to launch at least one campaign every two months. A campaign takes the following format:
- A launch date and an end date
- A call to action aimed at a specific audience e.g. drink driving campaign aimed at 18-24 year old males
- An agreed method of communicating with your online community e.g. website landing page, comments on Facebook status update, DMs on Twitter
- Promotion of your campaign e.g. a campaign visual designed, updated Facebook cover photo, a dedicated hashtag, an information video, an interview with a key spokesperson, a press release issued to the media
By now most law enforcement agencies will have some level of social media presence. However, it’s now time to ramp up engagement, because without conversations with your community you will hit a social media dead-end.
Don’t forget, I’m seeking to test my 5 C’s approach with one law enforcement agency, so get in touch if you want me to work with you.
Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter also @tweetsbyJSB.