Tips to Engage a New Audience with Social Media

Back in 2011, before the former White House aid ever assumed public office in Chicago, Twitter user @MayorEmanuel accrued nearly 50,000 followers and published more than 1,500 aggressively funny tweets showcasing the prospective mayor. In 2012, Secretary of State Clinton was similarly satirized, this time on the Tumblr site Texts from Hillary. Nearly 45,000 Tumblr users signed up for updates on Clinton’s social texting in the single week that the meme was active.

Two years later, both memes have quieted down. However, a number of satiric, political social media handles have popped up in their place. @VeepJoeBiden, @SrWHOfficial, and @TeaPartyCat are just a few examples. What’s more, many of these users have moved beyond poking fun at politicians to cover all sorts of government activities and issues. For instance, @SarcasticRover provides hilarious but informative updates on NASA’s Curiosity Rover to more than 122,000 followers. There’s also @big_ben_clock, which doesn’t inform its 450,000 followers of anything more than the time simultaneously relayed by its real-life counterpart at the United Kingdom’s House of Commons.

These social media personas are meant to be funny. However, they also serve a secondary purpose of drawing in a new audience to government issues. Your agency can learn from this creative approach to enhance your image.

Below are just a few tips about marketing your agency, which you can take from these social media pranksters:

  • Don’t be afraid to change your tone. Granted, there are times when a fun tone may be inappropriate to the message you’re trying to relay (think: sharing disaster response information). But most of the time, changing your tone is an easy way to engage a new audience and add diversity to your messaging. Have fun with your followers, whenever you can.
  • Humble┬áBrag. The most favorited tweets by @MayorEmanuel were brash, all-caps highlights of the real Emanuel’s victories along the campaign trail. You should be highlighting your victories, too. Own the fact that what your agency does is awesome and noteworthy. Show off your accomplishments and ambitions, without worrying that your message may come off as ‘braggy’ or ‘silly’.
  • Be chatty. You don’t have to wait for a major achievement or news story to get in touch with the public. If the tone of your message is right, even chatting about the minutiae of your agency’s day-to-day can captivate your audience.
  • Use an engaged audience to champion your work. @SarcasticRover doesn’t work for NASA but he tweets about the Mars mission every single day. If you can find even one person who is really passionate about your agency, you can use them to spread that enthusiasm to others.

Do you know of any other social media users we should be following for quirky updates on politics and government? Let us know in the comments section.

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