Social Media for Public Works
You have heard it before and will hear it again: Social media has revolutionized the way the world communicates. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and others are here to stay.
Staying in touch with Customers
Public works professionals have been using print as an important means of communicating information. Although this should not be entirely compromised in the digital era, the potential of social media is great. There are many reasons why public works professionals who have yet to keep up with the trend need to use social media channel to communicate with their customers.
Social Media is Efficient
Social media channels are the newest and best way to communicate with you customers. In communication, time is of the essence. It is always ideal to communicate information that is accurate in the most efficient manner, especially in public works where the public is usually anticipating to be informed of a particular item. This is essentially where print falls short. The tedious process from when information is received to when it is distributed publicly requires a considerable amount of time. Moreover, having various parties involved in the communication process complicates and lengthens the time required, potentially causing an undesirable delay in distributing information.
An advantage of social media in public works, then, is that they are able to increase efficiency in sending information directly to the desired audience. In utilizing social media, public works professionals are able to communicate information effectively and efficiently, without having to go through several parties and processes to do so. This will also minimize the possibility of the intended message being distorted. Should there be any accidental or last-minute occurrences, they can also give the public an advance notice to avoid negative backlashes as much as possible.
Following the trend, many have flocked to social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to get the latest updates from public works professionals as a majority of them now have Facebook pages or Twitter accounts that they can access to inform followers directly on any matters.
Social Media is Participative
Social media can be considered as one of the most, if not the most participative media platform that currently exists. Before its emergence, communication is mostly one-way; the public is “informed” and there are limited means for them to voice opinions. But with the rise of social media, the community is able to feel connected, provide feedback, and actively respond in the most productive way possible. They are now able to contribute.
When a community feels that their opinions matter, it promotes a positive engagement between the public and public works professionals, and communication becomes two-way. The former is aware of what is happening behind what used to be closed doors and how it affects them; the latter gets feedback on what should be retained and what could be improved. As a result, the public will tend to appreciate the opportunity to make a difference in public matters, and this will no doubt help them in developing a positive attitude to public works in general as well.
Several platforms such as blogs and Facebook allow users to comment on posted items. In short, anyone who has access to an electronic device and internet will be able to contribute their thoughts on a particular issue merely by commenting via social media. Such means of communication is highly participative, and it also allows public works professionals to reach those who are usually overlooked or do not have the courage to speak up in a normal physical setting.
Social Media is Viral
The very nature of social media has a tremendous viral effect due to their accessibility. In fact, this is one of the best platforms to bring about awareness and gain support from the public on a particular subject, which will come in handy in the aspect of public works. In the digital age today, an increasing amount of even the most remote places are able to access the internet. This is a great leap forward for public works professionals as they can be sure that information will be able to reach places beyond which they could ever imagine.
In the case of Facebook, one is able to see the number of “likes” and “shares” a particular post has. These are extremely useful indications when gauging the approximate reach of a post. To get an even more detailed analysis, a Facebook page provides the administrator insights that enables one to view the exact number of people a post successfully reached, a specific day or time in which there is a highest number of traffic, or how many people visited the page – just to name a few. As for Twitter, the hashtag (#) has functions similar to a title – it is supposed to capture the essence of a message. If and when a hashtag is used frequently enough, it will appear on the “Trends” column, and this will no doubt bring about awareness throughout the world. Additionally, the “retweet” function also serves as a brilliant indication of how popular a post is.
With a tool as powerful as social media, public works professionals are able to achieve more than ever before. With just a few clicks, one is able to put out information that will reach hundreds and thousands of followers, which will then be re-shared again with even more followers.
Social media is Ubiquitous
Social media is a broad term. To break it down, there are a few notable names including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. There are also blog sites that come under the umbrella. With such an extensive array of choices to choose from, public works professionals will be able to utilize one or many according to their needs.
For example, Facebook is usually used for an average amount of text posting or photos with a considerable amount of caption. As compared to Instagram which is more personal and photo-based, Facebook is a great way to communicate with the public due to its more generic interface and extensive amount of user base. Twitter on the other hand, is good for communicating short and succinct information in the fastest way possible, which is very suitable for issues such as last-minute announcements or brief updates. Last but not least, many public works professionals write regularly on blog sites – these are great to communicate elaborate information and articles regarding items such as policies.
Social media has become one of the most essential platforms that the public obtains information from. Following this trend, if public works sectors are not able to keep up with this pace, there will be a missing piece in the puzzle. Regardless of the sector’s nature, there is always a social media platform that public works professionals will be able to utilize for the benefit of the community.
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