Quick VACo Conference Wrap Up

Last week’s Virginia Association of Counties’ annual conference in Bath County offered an opportunity for Red Boot Media to provide free 45 minute social media consulting sessions for county officials. We had a number of county supervisors, administrators and county CIOs stop by and ask questions about using social media tools to connect with their constituents.

Jim Spencer, Tazewell County Administrator, stopped by to talk about the county’s new Virtual Marketing Assistance Partnership – VMAP. Through this program, the county creates a 45-60 second professionally produced video for any business in the county. This free marketing assistance is designed to encourage economic development in the county and attract future growth and development. Learn more here.

I was very pleased to have had so many officials visit for their consultations, provided by VACo as member benefit. I look forward to helping local governments promote public service and connect with constituents!

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Would you pay for Facebook? – GovLoop.com

Read the full post with comments here. Originally posted 10/3/12 at 4:54 pm.

Facebook has announced that it is starting a trial service that allows personal posts to be more visible…by paying $7.

Read the full article here on the Wall Street Journal online. (Also see within the article a link to the Facebook release.)

This service has been available for pages for a few months now, but it’s new to personal accounts. I’m thinking now we might formally begin to separate “classic” social media, whereby you connect with friends and other actual humans, and “commercial” social media where you connect with businesses. Where would government fit in?

What do you think? Is there ever a circumstance in which you’d pay for social media that has so far been free?

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Code for America-Will it help you? – GovLoop.com

Read the full post with comments here. Originally posted 9/28/12 at 11:18 am.

Feeling suffocated by 24/7 productivity expectations? Hungry for a technological edge to make your life easier and your community better? Code for America Commons is a great resource for discovering community-driven civic applications for open government.

Think of it as a resource to discover who is using what, how it works, how successful it is, and how you can integrate it into your best practices.  You can look for applications and solutions by city or government agency, and you can even directly browse the apps themselves, which are neatly arranged by software type, license, and application function. It functions like a wiki—so add your two cents and share with the community the solutions you’ve found, too.

It really is as simple as that. The only thing left is for you to explore! They have a very clean site that is easily navigable (though they are still tweaking the site as it is in beta mode).

How will you leverage Code for America to find solutions in your community?

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Will QR codes everywhere lead to a tourist boom for Gibraltar? – GovLoop.com

Read the full post with all comments here. Originally posted 9/19/12 at 3:51 pm

A colleague who knows of my love of properly used QR codes just sent me this article about the city of Gibraltar. They will be placing QR codes at tourist attractions around the city that link to Wikipedia pages about that location.

Volunteers will be writing articles in several languages about important locations around the city, and officials are considering offering free WiFi for those concerned about roaming costs.

Read the full story here on the BBC web site.

What do you think of this idea? How can Gibraltar’s local government leverage success to benefit city residents?

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The individual approach to social media – GovLoop.com

Read the full post with comments here. Originally posted 9/13/12 at 12:26 pm

Jack Hernandez, Red Boot Media’s Graphic Designer, shared some of his thoughts on designing a social media strategy for a client recently. We weren’t sure if it was his years of work with local government or his partnership with Red Boot Media that helped him craft this advice, but we thought it would be great to share either way!

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Each client has a unique approach to social media and how they can use it, not just for the sake of social media but to benefit from it realistically. Here is how I approached a client recently when he asked me how relevant using social media would be for his business. His publicity manager had neglected to utilize Facebook effectively and because of that, he got the impression that Facebook had gone the way of Myspace.

Clients who aren’t social media savvy can easily be misled by others who don’t know quite what they’re doing themselves. My client asked me if Twitter was “good.” At that point I resolved to come up with a list of questions and suggestions that help him consider how Social Media would benefit him and which tools he would specifically find useful.

It’s not enough to come up with a basic list of questions and answers. The question “Who is your audience?” may be important, but it’s vague, and without pointing it out, a client may not realize who can potentially be his/her audience. Explain your suggestions and questions based on your client’s specific goals and product. Don’t be generic.

What do you personally hope to achieve through social media?
Ask yourself this without worrying about the limitations of technology and current social media capabilities. More than likely, there is a solution that will enable you to meet (and excel) those goals. Do you need a Facebook app that is effectively your web site? Do you want to link videos and open up a YouTube account? Really…anything is possible.

Who is your target audience(s)?
Your site is catered to a very niche clientele. Your Facebook page broadens the audience in that it makes your product more visible to others who are on Facebook, not just your friends but friends of those friends. People in the industry who start off on your official site also are drawn to your Facebook page for updates and developments. Through social media, you can update your audience with real-time developments and post images for visual impact. Twitter is a great if you intend to make very frequent real-time updates such as attending a conference or describing your activities throughout a big event.

Maximizing the social media coverage and broadening the target audience:
You have different sub-companies for each of your products. But you may consider having your Facebook business page represent all your products in general. The space available for your main graphic is large enough for to design something snazzy that will incorporate all your logos and a slogan. This will allow you to direct all your site visitors (from all your sites) to a central social media page where you can make more frequent updates.

Differentiating between your personal page and the business page:
It’s up to you to update your posts on the business page. If posts on your personal page highlight you receiving awards or going to conventions should be posting first on the business page, including images. From your business page, you can share your posts on your personal page, and potentially draw more “fans” to your business page.

Updating and maintaining:
In order to keep your Facebook page active, you need to be active. A few posts a week is a good way to update people and keep your product in their minds. More posts and gallery images if you’re attending a conference or receiving recognition for your achievements. Remember to reply to comments and questions that people post on your page. Social media is a dialogue!

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