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With This One Rule, Law Enforcement Social Media Managers Can Increase Engagement in 2019

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When we look at our friends and family members' social media pages, we see what's going on in their lives. From what they're eating and where they're going to their personal triumphs and tragedies, it's all laid out on their timeline.

When it comes to how a police agency uses social media, there has to be a mind-shift. We have to think of these pages as being "for the people," and not so much as being about the law enforcement agencies charged with maintaining them.

One commonality among social media accounts of police departments, officers, government organizations, and politicians is the "we have to be in every photo" mentality. If law enforcement social media managers change their way of thinking in 2019, they'll see dramatic improvements in their engagement activity on social media.

It's time to return to the "70/15/15" rule of posting on social media, which we taught in our police social media training classes in 2016. This rule will work on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or any platform for that matter, and will help you better engage and interact with your community. 

Your Community Takes Priority 

70% of your social media content should be relevant to what your community is interested in seeing. For example, if you are a police department located in the suburbs of Los Angeles, posting instructions on how to avoid traffic and make it to Dodgers' Stadium on time, peppered with some traffic safety lingo, is bound to win you points with your community. You're sending the message that you're "in-tune" with the community, and their well-being. 


PRO TIP: Go onto Facebook, and type in the search bar the phrase, "Pages liked by people who like [ENTER YOUR DEPARTMENT'S FACEBOOK PAGE NAME HERE]. Then, click on the pages tab and you'll soon see what your online community, as well as your actual community, are interested in.

 

Maybe a new shopping center is being built in a neighborhood, and you can hear and see a lot of chatter on social media about it, on various local Facebook groups or through a hashtag search. Seize the opportunity to speak up about whatever their concerns are, whether it be increased traffic or what's going on behind the scenes. Tie in a safety or crime prevention to your post, image, or video, and you'll be golden.

Talk About The Profession

Ever since the early cops-and-robbers tv shows, the country has always been interested in police work. I can guarantee you that if you turned on the television, looked at your phone, or picked up a newspaper right now, something would pop up about either a crime or the police.

Capitalize on that curiosity, interest or whatever you call it and make sure 15% of your content is about the law enforcement profession, or another agency or officer. Maybe it's a story from the other side of the country that sheds a positive light on the profession and the men and women who wear the badge.

At the time this article was published, a pregnant woman from Waco, Texas, had posted a picture of a police officer who had helped her and her daughter while they walked in the heat. The officer had given them a ride to their father's work, where the family's only car was parked. "He's got such a big heart, and I don't know if he wanted to be recognized, but I'm grateful that he came along when he did," said the mother, Kassidey Perez.



"I mean I like the positivity that it's brought out," said Lopez. "And you know, shed some light on our officers that we genuinely do care, and our job is just not to take bad guys to jail. So I do like that aspect of it." - Waco Police Officer Dennis Lopez

You could re-post or share this story on your social media pages, with gracious comments towards the Waco Police Department and Officer Lopez. In your comments, you could direct a comment to prospective applicants or police academy trainees, how there is more to the profession than making arrests.

Take Center Stage

Posting content about your department, employees, and the city or county should be the last 15% of the rule. As their local law enforcement, you want to give them just enough that they engage with your content whole-heartedly, and they're looking forward to the next time you post.


PRO TIP: There's another benefit to using the 70/15/15 rule - you don't have to come up with content as frequently, as it's already being developed for you. You just have to take advantage of using it.

 

You Can Combine Different Parts Of The Rule

If you are going to solve crimes with the help of social media, or provide excellent public safety, by all means, can you target two parts of the rule. If a rash of nighttime car burglaries is affecting your community, then you can post a public service announcement video in which you or your public information officer alert the community to what's going on, and who you might be looking for.

How Your Engagement Will Be Affected

In doing this type of posting, you'll see an increase in all the numbers - shares, reach, follows, likes, and comments. You'll be leveraging social media algorithms to expand your reach which means you'll be showing up in your the social media feeds of the members of your community, through the help of out-of-the-area viewers.

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