The Law Enforcement Social Media Blog

The authoritative resource for news and information about law enforcement social media. From Facebook and Twitter to YouTube and Nixle, we discuss social media and its use as the ultimate community policing tool.

Are You a Social Media Master?

Social Media Master

Regardless if you are going to use social media as a person, or a department, you are required to do it right. Notice I wrote "required" as opposed to "you should." The reason why I wrote it that way is that I have seen too many people who think they know what they're doing on social media, only to screw it up, and then not realize the significance of their actions. 

For some odd reason, when you try to guide or correct people on something they did wrong on social media, people become offended and defensive. I think it has to do with an ego thing - "since everyone is doing social media and getting it, I can too."

If you are one of these people, you need to lay down your sword and listen to those who have more experience than you in the subject matter. There's a reason they do what they do, and there is a reason you do what you do. 

Become A Master of What You're Going To Do, And Where You're Going To Do It.

 

If you are a new department or business, and you are going to start posting on Facebook, then you need to know Facebook inside and out, period. Now granted, the platform changes almost daily, but you should be in tune enough to know when something does change. Once you know all you need to know about how the platform works, do yourself one substantial giant favor. Click on the settings tab and go into the "back side" of the platform and learn what every button does, and what every feature does when it is turned on and turned off. The scary thing is that creating a Facebook profile is as easy as providing your name, email address, date of birth, and gender. Once a profile is created, people go on and start "playing." No one takes the time to learn about safety and security settings, and alert functions until it's way too late.

After you have mastered the platform you are going to use, take a look at where your industry is as a whole, regarding using the platform, and social media in general. Make sure you are doing it right and doing it well, both as an individual and as a business or department.

This means having a consistent tone and online characteristic. You can't respond to one person with, "Thank you for reaching out to me, and I look forward to engaging with you here on social media," to one person, and then responding to someone else with "Thank you." You don't want to confuse people and need to keep in line with your developed posting guidelines or standards. There's nothing wrong with simply stating "Thank you," make sure you're consistent. 

Put Your Psychology Hat On

Once you have developed a substantial presence on social media, you'll need to take a step back and take a look at what others are doing on social media. I often laugh because any time a new feature comes out on social media, or a unique style of video or photo, marketers and the rest of the world jump on the bandwagon and beat the thing to death. For example, you might remember when marketers would write something like, "What this grandfather did next for this bikini model will shock you," in hopes of luring you to clicking on their link, video, or photo. After about the 100th post like that, no one clicked because they knew it was "click bait."

After you've seen what's going on, try to figure out how to stand out above everyone else. Maybe you should do the complete opposite of everyone else. Perhaps you wear a neon blue suit whenever you do a live video, or you have a particular way of opening up your videos. Whatever it may be, you need to find out what captivates people's attention, and more importantly, how you get them to interact with you.
Reach out to a couple of your "avatars" and find out what they want to see from you, and how they want to see it. An avatar is the profile picture on someone's social media profile, which in essence, is your target or client. 

Once you have identified what your community wants from you, then deliver it - on their terms.

Don't Be A Lawyer, Doctor, or Scientist

 

Let's face it - people in these professions get paid well because they can write and understand the documents of their profession. They also speak well among their colleagues, but many of them struggle when it comes to interacting with the public. Don't worry, most of my cop buddies struggle too when it comes to being - human.

If you can't explain something in simple terms, or you don't have a creative or entertaining side to your possibility, then you need to acknowledge your limitations and hire someone who can help your business grow.

At the same time, if it's you that you're trying to expand or grow on social media, and you don't have these skill sets, then quite frankly, you need to learn them, somehow. For some, that might mean taking a shot of Jack Daniel's Whiskey, and for others, it means taking acting lessons.

Think Outside The Box

 

I'm a police officer. That was my calling in life since I started as a young police explorer scout in 1986. But since becoming involved in social media, my next calling is somewhere out there helping someone, a brand, or something, erupt into greatness.

Don't back yourself into a corner just because of who you are as a professional when becoming involved in social media. Be cognizant you might find your roll is somewhere else in line with your profession or knowledge, and when taking in to account all you are as a person, you could be a rock star yourself.

Read More... 

This article is an excerpt from a chapter in the book, "The Ultimate Guide To Social Media," which was written by me, for the author, Mitch Jackson. Click here to get your copy of the book and read more of this chapter.  

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