Derek Belt

Last December, King County in Seattle, Wash., drove national media coverage in the New York Times, CNN and Huffington Post alongside nearly 30,000 interactions on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Storify. In three days, we sparked 10X the engagement than we see during a typical month, and we issued 623 marriage licenses to same-sex couples—a typical day sees between 50-100 licenses issued.

I recently presented this case study at a Word of Mouth Marketing Association conference in Seattle, and you can view the slide deck here: http://slidesha.re/Y33tt7.

Event Description:

On the night of Dec. 6, 2012, one month after Washington State voters approved same-sex marriage, King County opened the Recorder’s Office for a special midnight ceremony that ushered in a new era of civil rights. In doing so, King County became the first jurisdiction in the country to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples based on voter approval.

Happy couples young and old, many of whom had waited decades for this moment, braved the chilly night to become a part of American history. Learn how King County blended traditional and social media to connect with participants, drive news coverage, and emcee a once-in-lifetime event that reimagined how a community engages with local government.

Social Media Results:

  • 6,639 mentions of the hashtag #MEDayWA on Twitter
  • 1,246 mentions of @kcnews on Twitter
  • 348 people registered for Facebook events
  • 5,712 people “talking about this” on Facebook
  • 400+ photos shared from participants
  • 8,375 pageviews on Storify
  • 2,725 video views on YouTube
  • 91 check-ins at Recorder’s Office

To put this event in context, here is a comparison of Marriage Equality Day next to the Nov. 6, 2012 general election*, which was a pretty big month for us in terms of social media mentions.

This was a resounding success for us, and we built tremendous goodwill both with the local community and members of the news media we work with regularly. You can see in the box above that only 1,200 of the 30,000 interactions were mentions of our Twitter handle. Those kind of mentions do not automatically equal success. We used social media to communicate with the hundreds of people waiting in line on their smartphones, and we got people talking to each other, telling their own stories and sharing their own content. That’s what social media is all about.

I’d love to talk more about this event and our use of social media if anyone is interested. Please feel free to send me an email.

Derek Belt

Social Media Specialist, King County

[email protected]