In 2016, the Obama White House took one step closer to the cool kids and rolled out its Snapchat account. In its launch announcement, the White House noted that the app fits into its decentralized strategy of “meeting people where they are” on a variety of digital platforms. Other agencies and local governments of all shapes and sizes soon followed.
Yet the social media phenomenon - centered around disappearing 10-second-or-less photo and video sharing - remains a mystery to many. What do government folks need to know in order to make public service snapping a success?
For many, Snapchat’s appeal is its deep reach into the younger demographic. The platform has over 150 million daily active users, most of whom are under the age of 30. These people aren’t as connected to more traditional forms of communication. Young people might not be on Nextdoor or Facebook and they certainly don’t check the city blog. Snapchat? You’ll find them there.
A Snapchat account just to check the box on a new platform won’t be successful. Content should be fun, visual, and creative. You won’t be able to post a press release or even detailed information about a new strategic plan. You could try a story about a local event, showcase your public transportation system, interview the librarian. Remember, all snaps you post are downloadable, which makes record keeping easy.
A major sticking point for many when adopting a new platform is time. You just don’t have it. The good news is that Snapchat works best when you provide a variety of content - and what better way to do that then to enlist your entire organization! Think about the events happening locally and reach out to people involved to ask them to take over the handle for the day or send you pictures to post later. Thats right, you don’t have to post in the moment - you can upload pictures from your camera roll into the app.
Before you start, think through how you want to use Snapchat to augment your social strategy. Why do you want to snap? What will you share? Who do you hope to reach? To get started, follow local leaders, news agencies, and your local government peers who are already on the platform. Examples of govies who already snap:
A list of problem-driven use cases where data and analytics made all the difference by asking “what kinds of operations-enhancing questions have cities asked and answered with data and analytics?”
The short and sweet guide you need to make social media an essential part of your long-term community development strategy. TL;DR its all about the strategy.