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Using Video and Social Media to Engage Residents

by Jessica Terashima
Post Date:06/13/2016

It’s not so hard to get social media engagement when you have a great story to tell – a new restaurant opening, an exciting new event – but what about when your update is a little less interesting to citizens? How do you get residents to tune into your reminder about the upcoming census or water conservation rules? We asked our panelists during our recent Social Media Webinar (view a recording here), and they had some great examples of how to liven up government news announcements using video.

Use Local Stars

When the Town of Queen Creek, AZ launched its census participation campaign, it drafted local high school cheerleaders to write a census cheer and star in a video promoting the data collecting effort.  What could have been a low-interest text communication turned into a fun video that attracted thousands of views. 


Tap Into Popular Culture

The City of West Hollywood looks to local talent and influencers to work with the city on PSA videos, and usually finds them happy to participate. Like Queen Creek, they’ve found that creative use of video can take an ordinary topic like water conservation and make it fun and engaging for residents. In one video, they spoofed a certain popular television show to remind residents to keep water usage down. 


Have Fun with It

In San Angelo, TX, Public Information Officer Anthony Wilson and his team produce numerous videos you can find on their social media channels, which cover everything from City Council meetings to mosquito control and water conservation PSA’s. When possible, Anthony like to inject a little fun into the videos by including family members and quick skits to tell an illustrative story. These get thousands of views, build engagement and give residents a reason to look forward to new updates. 


Get Started and Keep at It

The best way to make an impact with videos on social media is to create great content. You don’t need a full professional staff, but you do need to be willing to put in some time and effort to make sure it becomes a viable channel. In all of these examples, video plays a strong and ongoing role in the agency’s communication strategy. Each of these communities posts regularly, and works hard to present information in ways that residents will enjoy.

Watch the Recorded Webinar Now


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