Social Media, Now a Key Municipal Communications Tool

I had previously mentioned how the City of Clarence-Rockland is a relative newcomer in terms of using social media as a communication tool. Only after the election of a new and younger municipal council and the presentation of a strong social media policy in 2015 were we able to build our municipal Facebook page. How far we have come in just five years!

At the beginning, we used a centralized social media approach, as we needed time to build the City’s brand as well as our community.  We used our Facebook page as an extension of our traditional communication tools. I would write a press release, send it to the media, and publish it on our website and on our Facebook page. It worked well for a year or two, giving us time to learn about the platform and how it could work for us.

Over time, like approximately half of Ontario municipalities, we switched to a mixed approach. We still have our main Facebook page where we give information about road closures, new services and overall municipal information. As residents love commenting about fires and accidents, we have a Fire Department Facebook page where the administrators give information about active incidents and do health and safety promotion.  Our public library also has its Facebook page to promote their fun activities and programs. The administrators of that page did an amazing job at transforming the way residents view the library. Since we share each others posts, we are able to reach more residents than just our page’s followers.

Source : Redbrick Communications 2017 Social Media Survey

We recently added a sister page to our main Facebook page. In December, we opened the Alain Potvin Park, featuring a skating path and a sledding hill. This new page’s purpose is to inform residents about the conditions of the park before they venture out. We introduced our little penguins and we update the page as the conditions change.  

Source : Clarence-Rockland Alain Potvin Park Facebook Page

Being the administrator of two social media pages does present its challenges. Residents will private message our pages during the weekends (sometimes during the night) and until recently, being sick or going on vacation and not monitoring our pages was not an option.

I am fortunate that the City of Clarence-Rockland now considers social media a vital, if not primary, communications tool. We now have a backup administrator and we are slowly considering giving editing rights to other staff members.

Do you follow a municipal social media page? If yes, what type of information do you expect to see?

Twitter : Learn how @clarencerocklan uses social media in its daily communications #municipalcommunications https://bit.ly/2T5TFog

Facebook : The City of Clarence-Rockland administers four different Facebook pages. How well does it work? https://bit.ly/2T5TFog

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