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What’s worth sharing?

Whether your social media outlets represent your entire department or just one office, deciding on your the kind of information you will share shapes interactions with your followers. I have seen several public entities struggle with what they should share via social media. My suggestion has been to come up with a list of standard information messages (regular board meetings, questions to followers, staff features) so they have a “bank” of posts to chose from when it’s a slow news day. When considering what to share, keep in mind the overall goals of your agency.

  • How would information from an elected body differ from that of a public facility and would you cross post?
  • Is your goal a stream of information or to encourage two way discussion?

Let’s say you represent the Goldfox County Board of Commissioners.* A few Facebook posts or Tweets might look like this.

  • County commission meeting tonight at 7 pm. Public comments accepted at the end of the Board’s agenda.
  • Learn about the county’s “Going Green” initiatives for the future. goldfoxcounty.com for information
  • Cold weather shelters will be open tonight and tomorrow night due to the drop in temperatures. goldfoxcounty.com for locations

Now, you represent the Goldfox Public Library

  • Late fees on books rising from 25 cents per day to 35 cents per day beginning April 1.
  • Want to learn about patio gardening? Meet gardening expert Twig Flowers this Wednesday evening at the library.
  • Read any good books lately?

Do these questions encourage dialogue and later follow up with followers or are they pretty standard and boring? Should posts be snappy or simply provide timely information?

How do you decide what’s worth sharing?

*There is no Goldfox County in the US. I just like making up hypothetical locations. I have seen actual posts almost identical to the ones I listed above, however.

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Allison Primack

Emily, I actually do work with GovLoop’s social media (I am a fellow here), and if it helps, this is how I decide what to share on the different social media websites.

Facebook – we try to keep it more light, and fun. While it is all still content from GovLoop, we still want to make it something our users want to interact with. Our most successful posts are favorite quotes, polls, pictures, and silly questions.

Twitter – we try to disseminate as much as our content as possible. Currently we run an RSS but we are in the process of changing that

LinkedIn – we take one of the top posts from the day, and pose it to our LinkedIn community. This is usually a topic of more debate, to try to inspire thoughtful and more extensive feedback.

At the end of the day, I think it depends on the community you are trying to reach out to, and what your ultimate goal is. Hope this helps!

Jack Hernandez

Several people have asked me “Why should I post on Twitter and also on Facebook?” To be brief … use Facebook to publicize and discuss a significant topic or event. Use Twitter to post ongoing developments such as a meeting or conference event. Try to avoid lengthy discussions on Twitter … your tweet can refer to a “beefier” Facebook post or your website article where you have a comments section.

Gyula Kovacs

Great question Emily… with two interesting answers so far. But I’m curious to find out about Amanda’s comment about RSS. Shouldn’t that always be provided as an option?