Im starting Social Media for A Municipality..any advice?

In the next couple of weeks i will begin managing the social media for East Point. Any advice for how i should move forward….Thanks for the Help. we are already writing the Social Media policy and are starting our with just facebook and twitter then will move into nixle and other avenues in the future…

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Some good blogs/discussions here: http://topics.govloop.com/social-media

Generally I’d say
-Define business problem – what is the point, what are you trying to do?
-Start with a few platforms – Sounds like you are doing w/ FB and Twitter
-Develop great content
-Find the existing community – where do people in East Point live in Social Media now.

Amanda Paez

For Facebook, there is not way to completely block comments. You can prevent fans from posting unique comments, but they can comment on things you post. For the page I administer, we put a “Comments Policy” and linked it on the “Wall” page. Let’s face it, you will get both positive and negative comments….but we would like to have it stated that we can remove comments if necessary. (Records retention/FOIA issues with social media is a little fuzzy)

You can check out our policy here: http://www.facebook.com/cityofdanville

Also, just be sure to get lots of content. We hooked ours to our websites RSS feeds so there can be indirect updates with new information or calendar listings.

Ryan Link

Great advice below. I would say one of the most important items behind defining your purpose would be giving people a reason to follow/like/etc. Make it exciting! This is a new asset to their community – give them a reason to believe that. In addition to the more traditional information, these sites are also a great resource for educating residents about their community via “did you know?” discussions, treasure hunts and the like. The possibilities are endless, but the key to its success is keeping things fresh and providing value.


Good point Ryan…
-It’s less of tool and more of content. Make it fresh and interesting. Matters in any channel.

Also there are some tools to intergrate channels so FB content pushed to Twitter to email, etc. Some people like these to save time. I’ve heard people use HootSuite to time out Twitter/FB updates in future

Brian Connolly, MPA


My first thought: Talk with the Legal Department. I’d get a handle on exactly what I can and can not control as far as content is concerned. Moving ahead with policy development is great. Updating is crucial. Content has to be fresh. Is there going to be one ‘approver” for all content?

Alex Showerman

This past spring I built an online community for the small town (6,000 residents) of Canton, New York. I started with a Facebook page (which has now grown to nearly 3,000 fans), then moved to include a wordpress blog. Having the blog was nice because it enabled me to generate some of my own content, rather than relying solely on outside links. The fan page had three main purposes:

1. To promote events and businesses within the community
2. Improve town-gown relations (it was a college town)
3. Provide a platform for people to discuss local issues and for decision makers to gather information.

Here are some of the lessons I learned:

1. Avoid automation. Although linking RSS feeds and other tools to your page will save time, they are a great way to bore your fans. Its similar to calling a company and wanting to speak to a real person and getting an automated system. Its easier for the company, but annoying for the consumer.

2. Make sure the content is engaging, ask lots of questions. One way I did this include a question of the day (it was everything from “what is your favorite thing about Canton?” to “should there be a gas station in the historic part of main street?”) Don’t be afraid to touch the hot button topics, for those are the ones that people want to talk about. The more people talk, the greater your message will spread virally. For a great example of how to engage your fans and more advice on this please check out “Skiing, Water Parks, Dating and Politics (Three Ways to Engage Your Online Community)”

3. Drum-up community pride, share events, comment on local sports team successes, congratulate a local graduating class, promote fundraisers for families in need. All of these things get people excited and engaged on your site.

4. Don’t worry about negative comments, they are just part of the dialogue. Only delete comments that would not be aloud on the radio or TV. I learned this the hard way. I deleted a comment that was borderline, and it wound up being more of a problem than had I left it on. When the person reposted it a community member quickly refuted the negative comment. For more check out “To Delete, Or Not to Delete, That is the Question”

5. Encourage local decision makers to get online. I encouraged the mayor of Canton to join Facebook. Having her on the page made it more exciting for people to interact, people could answer the mayor’s questions or get feed back from the mayor.

6. Have fun with it. If you enjoy working on the page, then people will come.

Feel free to check out the site for ideas: Canton, New York. I hope you found this helpful, let me know if you have any questions.

Anita Arile

Wow! nice amount of information! I will share this with my colleagues who are “thinking” about Social Media development in our area of the Pacific.

Heather Heater


I’m a novice myself, but have explored the issue of public health and social media here on GovLoop and Twitter. Here are some groups I’ve joined that have been awesome sources of information on the subject of implementing social media: https://www.govloop.com/group/healthycitizens, https://www.govloop.com/group/socialmediaforgovernment, https://www.govloop.com/group/hhsintheloop, and https://www.govloop.com/group/communicationbestpractices. Lots of good discussion on these pages with links to info you might find useful.


Justin Mosebach

Promote useful information for citizens. Example: A public meeting of the ABC Commission is scheduled to begin at 7:00 tomorrow night. Agenda posted here: .

James Hammond

Wow. Thanks for the info everyone.
Ryan—- I love the ideas of the treasure hunts.
Bryan— I am already talking with the legal dept to see how social they feel comfortable with the city going. Thanks for that advice. I believe i will serve as the “approver” for all content.
Alex—I plan on using your site as an example…I love the originality and fresh content on it.
Heather–Thanks for the groups…I will join all of them.
Im an experienced facebooker but this is my first time representing a govt on Social media so im just trying to make sure im not getting in too deep