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15 Social Media Tips for Parks & Rec


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15 social media tips for municipal parks and recreation departments. Emphasis on Facebook, but also mentions Twitter, Yelp, Foursquare, and others.

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15 Social Media Tips for Parks & Rec

  1. 1. 15 SOCIAL MEDIA TIPS FOR PARKS & REC IN 30 MINUTES Carla Pendergraft Carla Pendergraft Associates
  2. 2. About You  How many are using social media personally?  How many are using social in your job?  How many have restrictions on use of social in job?
  3. 3. About You  How many are frustrated with how municipal culture is the polar opposite of the culture of the Internet and social media?  Change-averse vs. embracing change  Closed culture vs. open culture
  4. 4. Municipal Culture Roadblocks  Social media may be seen as superfluous to the mission  Virus dangers  Open Records, Open Meetings Acts  Municipal managers often behind the curve on technology
  5. 5. Your Mission  To let go of the need for your city to “get it”  To be the evangelist for social media  To embrace and become comfortable with constant change in the technologies  To commit to lifelong self-teaching  To purchase and use technology on your own in order to learn it (e.g. iPhones)
  6. 6. Some Innovative Examples  Pearland PARD Facebook Page  Most posts are by citizens, not staff  People use it like a rec center bulletin board  Looking for basketball partners  People asking questions of staff  Maintenance complaints  Dates of recurring events  Requests
  8. 8. 1. Ask for input from citizens.  Name that park!  Report maintenance problems – ask citizens to be your eyes and ears  Where should the next park be?  What else?
  9. 9. 2. Conduct a photo contest  Upload photos of their favorite park, activity, etc.  Include stipulation that you can use their photos in your publications  Ask them to upload directly to your Flickr group, or your Facebook page if you prefer
  10. 10. 3. Create a group on Flickr, encourage people to post photos of your parks. VisitAustinTx invites you to share your photos of Austin in their Flickr group pool, via Twitter.
  11. 11. Round Rock’s Flickr Group - >1,000 photos
  12. 12. 4. Video contest  Video Contest - “Tell us how you have fun in (your city’s) parks”  Comedy is encouraged!  Must be family-friendly  Embed the best ones in your website.
  13. 13. Plano, Texas Parks and Recreation 47 videos posted by the City on YouTube
  14. 14. 5. Decentralize posting responsibilities  Have a team of people from your staff do the posting.  This creates a variety of voices  Helps keep the content fresh and new  Arlington PARD “signs” their posts: “Gary-APRD”
  15. 15. 6. Post Before and After Photos  Before the flood and after the flood  Before the park renovations and afterward  Before the skate park and after  Always have people in the shot! It’s not about the parks, it’s about the people.
  16. 16. 7. Link all your web presences  Home page of your Parks website should have links to all your social media pages  This is where people go to get the whole picture  Cross-post these links. On your Facebook page, have links to all the others and so on.
  17. 17. 8. Conduct a Contest  Ask people to tweet about one of your events for a chance to win a prize.  Example: Go to @wacopard and tweet, “I can’t wait for #pawsinthepark in Waco this Saturday!”  Benefits: you get publicity for your event among all their followers, Google will pick it up, and the hash tag will indicate the level of interest in the event and prize.
  18. 18. 9. Incent people to friend and follow you  Example: “Become a Facebook friend of the Waco Parks and Rec Department. Each month we will give away a prize. New winners will be chosen exclusively from our fan base.”
  19. 19. 10. Monitor key searches on Twitter.  Use Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, etc. to create a saved search  “Waco Park” or “City of Waco” or “Cameron Park” might be some typical ones  Monitor the use of these terms and respond where appropriate.
  20. 20. 11. Encourage Hashtags  Decide what hashtags make sense for your department, and start publicizing them. That way, you can monitor the conversation and give people a way to express themselves that is less random than if they make them up themselves.  Examples: #wacoparks, #texasredsfestival, etc.
  21. 21. 12. Use Foursquare  Foursquare is a location-based social networking site.  Foursquare cross posts to Twitter and its traffic is becoming hard to ignore.  “Do you manage this venue? Claim here”  Claim your listing, correct the information, post tips, create specials
  22. 22. 13. Claim your offices on Google Places  Go to:  Will allow people to find your offices more efficiently  Positions your offices on Google Maps
  23. 23. 14. Use Yelp  Review your parks and points of interest  Encourage others to do the same
  24. 24. – “park” near 78701 Great job, Austin! Many reviews of Austin parks.
  25. 25. 15. Monitor your reputation and online reviews  Do regular Google searches on your key terms and phrases  Set a Google alert at  Correct misinformation where you can  Encourage positive reviews
  26. 26. Bonus Tip – Google Maps  You can create custom Google maps of all your recreational venues  Embed them in your website  Easily update them with changes  Create different maps for different things
  27. 27. Waco CVB Recreation page Google map of recreation- al venues in Waco