COM0015 #2: Strong & Weak Organizations

In looking for organization for a case study on strong and weak social media strategies, it’s easy to become inundated by the worldwide traffic online. After searching at a national level, I opted to look at organizations within Ottawa and it became easy to narrow down two impressive campaigns: Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and the Ottawa Police Service.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Ottawa Community Support Coalition could benefit from an online makeover.

Mayor Jim Watson

Since taking his seat in 2010, Mayor Jim Watson has become known for his seemingly effortless use of social media to engage with citizens. The mayor’s office has virtually opened its door by letting Ottawans in on the daily goings on of the city’s chief executive official. watson

Through his daily use of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr and monthly chats, Mayor Watson has proven himself to be open, transparent, outspoken and reachable.

He is not above answering questions from citizens in a casual Twitter exchange, and he is also not afraid to let critics know how he really feels. During the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, the mayor announced that Ottawa would fly a pride flag in response to a Russian law against the spread of “propaganda for non-traditional sexual relations.”

Twitter user, @Awesomely11, responded to the Mayor’s tweet, calling it “a stupid waste of time,” adding that the mayor had “lost” his vote. Mayor Watson wasted little time with his brief response: “if you have that point of view, I really don’t want your vote.”

Beyond using the online platforms, Mayor Watson offers tips for social media and has even hosted an AMA on Reddit. Watson can serve as a prime example of what many other elected officials should strive for.

Ottawa Police Service

In an era when the police are often view and/or portrayed in a negative light, the Ottawa Police Service is managing to put out a strong positive message.

This organization utilizes a number of social media tools to serve their needs – from promoting local initiatives to publishing advisories, they are harnessing these tools to get the word out.

For example, the main website features a link to Pinterest where they are posting wanted people, missing persons, safety and crime prevention messages and, for human interest, fallen officers, canines of the force and police cars, among other themes.

The Ottawa Police Facebook page is an array of community announcements and advisories regarding crimes in the city. The Twitter page is chock-full of advice and events, and they even have a YouTube channel with a variety of videos showing footage of robberies, promotion for future recruits and updates on investigations.

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Whereas a number of these elements would have once only been available to citizens via local news reports, the Ottawa Police Service have essentially taken matters into their own hands and are reporting for themselves which is a positive initiative and a great example for other front line organizations.

The Ottawa Community Support Coalition

The OCSC is struggling in its online messaging. According to the mission statement, the OCSC “works together to strengthen community support services – for the health and independence of older adults and adults with disabilities in the City of Ottawa.”

It is a positive organization for the aging population in Ottawa. Granted, the older generation is not as active on Twitter and Facebook as younger citizens, but there is still a benefit in reaching out online. The fact is, people of all ages are using the internet and they are learning to use social media platforms as means to stay connected. Plus, if the message is communicated to people of all ages, the organization stands a better chance to flourish.

The OCSC has two social media links on the website: Twitter, which has 34 followers, and Facebook with 41 likes. Their most recent updates on both pages were on October 1, 2015.

Beyond social media, they are also in need of a website overhaul to make their page more engaging – simply reducing the use of stock photography and using catchier phrases on their newsletter would likely drive more clicks. That would be the first step, but there are many more steps to take in order to reach a broader following. They could begin their social media strategy by sharing facts and anecdotes, engaging with local organizations and individuals, and sharing tips for that older generation to show that they too can participate on social media.

This organization has a lot of potential to harness the messaging platform and bring Ottawa’s aging population into the social media realm but they need a social media strategist to get them off the ground.

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