By: Alexandria Schell
After working 10 years in the television news business, Lindsay Weisenauer joined the City of Dublin Community Relations Department in 2014 as the Senior Public Information Officer. She is responsible for relaying news and information regarding police, transportation, engineering, parks, public works, and finance to the Dublin community. She uses various social media platforms throughout each day to communicate alerts and information from the City.
I chose to interview Weisenauer after interning with her for three months in the Community Relations Department for the City of Dublin in the summer of 2015. Quickly, it became clear that social media was a large portion of her daily routine at Dublin. In my opinion, Dublin has the strongest social media presence out of all the cities in the Columbus area. Weisenauer is extremely knowledgeable and was an easy choice to interview.
AS: What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring social media professional?
LW: Create a network of communication professionals and stay in constant contact with them to see what platforms they are using, how they’re using them and how it’s working. It’s important to stay on top of changing trends, but to approach each platform differently. Knowing what’s working for other professionals helps you develop that understanding.
AS: What companies/organizations do you think are “doing it right” when it comes to social media? Why?
LW: Since I work in the public sector, I keep an eye out for other public organizations. Two that I think are doing it right are Gilbert, Arizona. They have a strong and strategic presence on Twitter, but also embrace new and up-and-coming platforms, such as Periscope in a bold way. I also watch Mountain View, CA police. They have a great presence on Twitter and Facebook, which is a mix of informative messaging and “personality” posts – things such as pictures that really show the PD more as “people” instead of an entity.
AS: Describe a recent successful social media campaign conducted by your organization and why you feel it was successful?
LW: We recently did a social media campaign to help raise awareness about upcoming job opportunities with our Recreation Services departments. The campaign included multiple platforms, with content directed specifically for each platform. For example, we created a Flipagram and posted it on Facebook. We did pay a small fee to boost the post, and it reached 18.4K Facebook users.
AS: What type of consumer research do you conduct before planning a social media campaign?
LW: We contract with a marketing company, MJ2, for this reason. They keep us informed on cutting edge techniques and trends. They help us maximize our campaigns based on their consumer research. We also use analytics so we have a strong sense of what has worked in the past.
AS: How do you know when a social media campaign is considered a failure? What steps do you take to prevent it from reoccurring?
LW: It’s easy to tell when a campaign falls flat, based on analytics and lack of engagement. We look at everything from time of day that we posted to what types of images were used. We evaluate these campaigns and try not to repeat the same pattern the next time around, but it can be hard to know if it will or will not work. We have to stay on top of the social media algorithms (especially Facebook). If we really want something to stick, a small paid boosted post always seems to work really well.
AS: At Dublin, which social media platform receives the most engagement? Why do you think that is?
LW: Facebook definitely has the most engagement, just because that’s the platform most of our residents are using. But Twitter is really good for certain things, especially road closures and traffic alerts, because they get re-tweeted a lot by local media, traffic reporters and residents.
Several key insights were brought to my attention throughout this interview. The public sector is no different from the private. Social media is a crucial and useful tool, even for those representing the government. Facebook seems to always be the main source of communication for any organization, but other platforms, such as Periscope, may soon reach that level, especially for public organizations, such as the City of Dublin. Analytics are always a great resource before and after conducting a social media campaign. Lastly, always keep your eyes open as a social media professional. Platforms and trends are constantly changing and one should never stop learning to avoid being left behind.