On February 21, EmpowerLA Director of Outreach Tom Soong and FUSE Fellow Aparna Mukherjee hosted an excellent and eye-opening workshop at LA City Hall with social media guru Sree Sreenivasan for staff from EmpowerLA and other City departments. Sree has served as Chief Digital Officer for the City of New York, the Metropolitan Museum, and Columbia University, and he kindly shared his time and considerable expertise with staff from many City and County agencies, including the LA Public Library, Recreation and Parks, ITA, LADOT, and the Office of Finance.
Check out these #SreeTips for successful social media
#SreeTips is a hashtag students use to share insights gleaned in Sree’s social media classes. Here are some of our favorite tips from his City Hall workshop which you can apply to your own Neighborhood Council outreach:
- “In a Snapchat world, email still counts,” said Sree. While it’s always a good idea to keep track of which digital platforms matter most to your stakeholders, your email list remains one of the most important tools you have at your disposal for connecting to your audience.
- Feedback comes via many channels, and not just through your agency’s official feedback process. For example, your board may have a procedure set up for responding to comments received through the contact form on your website, but stakeholders may also be reviewing your Council on Yelp. If no one on your board responds to that Yelp feedback, that can impact your credibility. Any avenue where the public can make or view comments about your Council is an opportunity to protect and grow your public reputation, if your board has a plan in place to respond to your stakeholders no matter what platform they use to communicate with you.
- Sree states that in today’s world, “the scarcest resource is human attention.” One easy way to respect the time stakeholders invest in following your Neighborhood Council on social media is to create posts that are concise but complete, so that someone doesn’t have to click through pages of material to take action. For example, if you’re holding an event, include time, date, address, and parking info in your social media posts, so someone can get in the door with just the info in your post. You can always provide a link to additional details, if someone wants to learn more.
- “In social media, your accounts are like your embassies, and your website is like your home country.” Sree paraphrased former UNICEF Digital Strategist Jim Rosenberg, and explained that social media must be supported by meaningful website content in order to be successful. By nature, social media posts are brief, so the best posts function like the tip of an iceberg, giving a taste of the richer, more complex content that your followers see when they click through to your site.
- Enhance transparency by going live on your social media accounts. You and your board are already doing great work, but how can you make sure your stakeholders know about it? Using the option to share your events and meetings as they’re happening on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and other social media platforms can help your stakeholders stay informed, and make your meetings more accessible to those who cannot attend in person. Some Neighborhood Councils, like Venice or Mar Vista, are already getting great results streaming their board meetings on platforms like Facebook or YouTube.
Make sure to follow @sree on Twitter, and to also follow hashtag #SreeTips to get more digital outreach insights!