Facebook is an extremely powerful social media community that has become larger than I am sure many Facebook executives would admit they thought was possible. Facebook had over 2.5 billion visits last month (10/2009), which is quite stunning. There are millions of people visiting Facebook billions of times a month to communicate with each other, but what is mostly missing from Facebook? A strong law enforcement presence.
A Facebook Fan Page is extremely easy to set up and run on a daily basis. A key point to remember is you should never set up your business (law enforcement agency) as a personal account or group. Both are tied to a person and both are in violation of Facebook rules, which could cause the accounts to be disabled. Here is the 411 on how to set up a Facebook Fan Page the right way:
1) Establish a personal account- right now this is the only way to create a Fan Page, I suggest you make this a new account not belonging to anyone in particular with the sole purpose of being the placeholder for the Fan Page.
2) Choose type of Fan Page-Website choice will allow you to put in the basic information about your Police Department which is a good choice since you are communicating on the web and you should have a website to promote.
3) Add Your Image- You will need a graphic to represent your brand or department, which most times you will already have again if you already have a web presence.
4) Publish-Once have your image uploaded, your content in place (website url, description of department, mission statement, etc) then you will publish your page. Once published you can begin to publish information on your wall (status box).
But, what do I want to publish to my Facebook Fan Page? Again, go back to the stunning statistic above, 2.5 billion visits in October 2009. You can communicate through posts to your wall a variety of important police information:
1) Crime prevention tips
2) Wanted person pictures
3) Videos from robberies or other crimes
4) Information about department/city activities
5) Community news relevant to the police departments mission
6) Missing persons
7) Blog posts if you have a blog, if you don’t start one
Another tip I suggest is to target followers geographically through the search function on Facebook to try to obtain followers (friends) in your community. Then once you have a decent following of local followers for your community follow their followers. This can be done very easy and the end game is to obtain as many local followers as you can to get your message out. With the large amount of people using Facebook I will almost guarantee that every law enforcement jurisdiction has plenty of Facebook users. I will say it again, police have an opportunity to communicate in “real time” with their citizens, which is a huge communication shift. If you have any questions on how to set up a Facebook Fan Page, contact me at [email protected] .
POSTED BY MIKE VALLEZ ON THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2009 AT 9:54 PM (EDIT)
FILED UNDER SOCIAL MEDIA, SOCIAL MEDIA LAW ENFORCEMENT, THE POLICE BLOG 2.0 · TAGGED WITH FACEBOOK, FACEBOOK FAN PAGE, MIKE VALLEZ, SOCIAL MEDIA, THE POLICE BLOG 2.0
I’ve also heard how law enforcement has used facebook to catch criminals and parole officers have successfully used it to find individuals who have jumped parole.
I love that. I think people in general need to see police as people too. Not just a uniform. This is one way to help the perception that police are “them”.
Tricia and Amanda thanks for checking this out. And I agree that this makes police “more real” and tangible people, not big scary guys with guns and handcuffs.
Facebook is in fact helping law enforcement by nabbing criminals who put pictures of themselves, real names when they are actually wanted. You know what they say criminals are not the smartest, but they are opportunistic.