10 Ways for Emergency Managers to Boost Facebook Content

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Post by: Kim Stephens

Oneforty.com recently posted 25 ideas to liven up the content you share on your Facebook page. This inspired me to write a list specifically for the emergency management community because whenever I present to groups about SMEM one of the most often asked question is “How do we get more people to visit our page?”. Coming up with interesting content day after day or even week after week can become exhausting and can also cause burn out on the part of the person responsible for writing that content. I have discussed this before in other blog posts but I think it is worth revisiting.

Here’s a mix of ideas from the OneForty list (which are in quotes) and my own.

1. “Don’t automate Twitter updates to your Facebook page. They are different platforms, so treat them differently.”

This tip is true for preparedness information but probably doesn’t apply to emergency information. For example,  if there is a tree down on a street and you’d like the information to get out quickly to everyone, you might post something like this:

However, what you don’t want post non-critical information in this same manner because it really can limit the amount of interactivity you get on your site.

2. Don’t only post the weather.

Services that automatically post weather updates to your facebook and twitter accounts make it much easier to post that information in a timely manner, and also takes the burden off of organizations that are short staffed. However, what happens is that you loose any opportunity for engagement with your community. Keep in mind that you are on a “social” platform. Imagine if you were at a party and the person sitting next to you only spouted weather data–you’d probably find a way to move away.

3. “Reply to users’ comments and “likes” on your statuses. The more engagement, the more likely your post will make it to your community members’ newsfeed.”

4. “Have a guest host. Have a celebrity, influencer or company executive take over your Facebook page for an hour or a day to interact directly with community members and answer their questions.”

Instead of “company executive” it might be interesting to have local celebrities take over the page, even it that’s the HighSchool football coach talking about how to keep hydrated in the hot weather. All communities have local celebrities that could be tapped. Plan for someone different once per month and then advertise that they will be available to chat on your page during specific times.

5. “Ask for your community’s opinion – Talk about a question that was asked somewhere else (blog, Twitter, etc) and pose that to your Facebook audience.”

Being open to hear what the community has to say is really what these social media platforms are all about. Asking questions, is a great way to open the door for true dialog.

6. Use lots of photos.

There are many ways to incorporate photos into your stream that allow for people to interact with your page. People really like pictures, particularly of their kids or pets. Ask for members of your community to submit pictures that reflect your preparedness campaign for the month. For example, if your organization is trying to relay info about how to stay cool in the heat, then people could submit pics of dogs playing in the water or their kids in the sprinkler. (This is my dog!) Turn this into a contest for another layer of interactivity.

Other suggestions from OneForty included hosting a caption contest or posting a mystery photo and having people guess who it is. (It might not be wise, however, to put the mayor up there and ask people to guess who it is. He or she might not be too happy if no one knows.)

7. “Ask for your community’s ideas – Ask them what they would like to see in your next blog post, ebook, webinar, advertisement, event etc.”

8. “Ask a hypothetical question. (Example: “Would you rather ____?” “If you could _____”)”

9. Don’t be afraid to be funny.

10. Consider combining the Facebook pages of your community.

At a recent conference for emergency managers for Universities, one of the audience members asked me what I thought about not having separate Facebook page for the Campus Emergency Management. I actually think this is a probably wise, particularly for smaller communities, including smaller towns or counties. All community information could be included on one facebook page: police, fire department, mayor’s office, emergency management, etc.  In truth, local governments are trying to do more with less therefore, combining efforts into one Facebook page is probably prudent. Of course, I understand that that means cooperation will have to occur between and among different agencies, which isn’t always easy. However, if a crisis were to occur, it would be helpful to have this kind of combined effort already in place.

Please add any ideas I might have missed.

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2 responses to “10 Ways for Emergency Managers to Boost Facebook Content

  1. Pingback: Use your people «

  2. Pingback: 10 Ways for Emergency Managers to Enhance their Social Media presence | RW Disaster Management Services – Blog

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