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How to Reach Your Community with Social Media: Twitter vs. Facebook

Social Media on Mobile

Think you've got a good Facebook page? What about your latest tweets?

More and more we hear about how important it is for law enforcement to connect with their communities with social media. Now, this article is from my point of view as a civilian. So I'll explore different posts I enjoy seeing and ones that get a lot of attention. However, they may not be realistic for every department.

(let me know in the comments below what you think)

I write this in hopes to give you insight into what people think when they look at your social channels while providing examples of how to improve social media.

I also found this awesome social media briefing PDF by The Police Foundation - check it out!

 

So first of all...

Why Bother?

Social media in law enforcement is important for a few different reasons:

  • Develop trust with community
  • Answer questions & communicate
  • Spread information
  • Reduce crime
  • Build reputation for department

 


If you're wondering how to improve your social media...

Check out these Facebook & Twitter pages for some great examples:

 

Why are they great examples?

  • Very responsive to messages
  • Commenting back to people who commented on posts
  • Updates on department activity (missing persons, wanted, etc.)
  • Uplifting stories in the community
  • Informative videos
  • Added humor and personal touch

 

 

Differences of how to maintain a Facebook vs. Twitter page...

Twitter

  • Posts limit you to 140 characters
  • Post more often [than Facebook] - 1 or more a day if possible
  • Hashtags allow more people to see your post (add 2 per tweet, depending on what is relevant)
  • Verify your page (blue check mark indicating it is, in fact, your department)
  • Keep it professional but also personable

 

 Twitter Example

 

Facebook

  • You can write as much as you'd like in a post
  • Try to post at least one time each week but no more than 5 times a week
  • You can tag other Facebook users/pages using @
  • Verify your page (blue/gray check mark indicating it is officially your department)
  • Keep it professional but also personable
  • Facebook live - you can stream live videos

 

Facebook Example

 

 

What kinds of things should I post on social?

  • Holiday greetings
  • Events
  • Pictures
  • News updates
  • Share helpful articles
  • Videos
  • Wanted persons
  • Lost & found
  • Tips & Tricks
  • Memes (what is a meme?)

 

Wondering how to find time to interact on Social Media?

Unfortunately, many people don't have time to spend on social media. Some departments will have personnel specifically assigned to this task because it is so time-consuming.

But for starters, informing your administrators of the goals and purpose of social media is great. Keep it front of mind so that when an opportunity arises, it will be more likely to get posted.

Have you ever seen Trooper Ben's page? He has over 27,000 followers. Check it out here - https://twitter.com/TrooperBenKHP 

 

Having a smartphone or tablet on hand is essential so that you can snap pictures, and upload them right away with the latest news. 

Make sure to schedule your officers efficiently and always have someone on duty dedicated to social media. 

 

What are the negatives?

Having social media is not all wonderful. 

There are potential risks and things you'll have to deal with that otherwise would not.

Check out some potential risks here

 

Have some thoughts of your own about social media? Let us know what you think in the comments below. And don't forget to follow our social pages too! Facebook - Twitter - LinkedIn - Google +

 


 

About PlanIt Police: We proudly provide an officer scheduling software solution for law enforcement agencies. PlanIt can manage regular schedules, overtime, extra duty, time off, court appearances, and much more. For more information about the company, please go to www.ragnasoft.com

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PlanIt Police scheduling software is extremely powerful yet easy-to-use. It is meant to simplify scheduling and enhance communication for law enforcement agencies. PlanIt was developed by Ragnasoft, Inc who have specialized in public safety scheduling solutions for over 10 years.

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PlanIt Police

PlanIt Police is an online scheduling system for police departments. PlanIt is developed by Ragnasoft, Inc which has specialized in public safety scheduling solutions for over 10 years.

Our Contacts

PO BOX 4903
Lancaster, PA 17604
Phone: 1-866-471-2001
Fax: 1-717-925-3908
Email: sales@planitschedule.com