Social Strategy for Municipal Organizations

With the wide reach and instant communication afforded through channels such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, social media is of growing interest for local governments as they search for new and better ways to promote transparency, enhance engagement, and foster collaboration.

WHAT CAN SOCIAL MEDIA DO FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT?

  • General Outreach and Greater Community Engagement – Share information regularly and efficiently
  • Improved Communication – Keep the public better informed with these direct channels
  • Establishing Leadership – Transparency inspires trust and confidence in your municipality
  • Economic Benefits – Social media use can result in cost savings and revenue generation.

SOCIAL MEDIA SERVICES

Facebook – The largest social media site, geared toward connecting you with people you know or with whom you share common interests.

Twitter – A microblogging service, which allows messages of 140 or fewer characters to be transmitted quickly to followers.

YouTube – Video messages from municipalities, highlights of activities, and image-building are potential subjects for such videos.

Instagram – A photo sharing platform can be used to share a different side of your organization.

DEVELOPING A CONTENT CALENDAR

Use this desk calendar to facilitate social content creation. This calendar has over 365 daily content ideas. Your organization likely has a abundance of unique content that is also worth of social content. Fill in this calendar with your unique dates.

Pro Tips:

  • Plan in advance – spend one day a week creating your social content  for the next week and schedule your content to automatically post to your social calendars
  • Photography/Imagery – When possible always use original photography
  • Crowdsource – Repost relevant content provided by your audience
  • Engagement – Ask your audience to engage and share your content AND interact with your audience
  • Follow – Follow other municipalities in your region

Training

CLIENT TRAINING;

WHY CLIENT TRAINING IS IMPORTANT:

Keeping your website current with the most current information and content is critical. Now that you have an organized and functional website, make sure your staff has good understanding of how to make any necessary updates to that website. Avoid mistakes and wasted time with a training plan.

MAKING A TRAINING PLAN:

  • Who will the administrators be of your website?
  • What are those primary tasks needing to be done?
  • What kind of and level of training will be required?
  • Will supplemental training be needed beyond initial launch?
  • Are there already members on team with relevant experience?
  • Would you prefer to have content updated by external team?

TOPICS TO CONSIDER:

Admin area (Dashboard)
How to create a new page or post
How to add an image or video
How to organize content and categories

TOOLS FOR CLIENT EDUCATION:

  • Meeting: (physical or virtual) for site overview to answer any questions
  • Video Recordings: with tutorials for clients to reference at any time
  • Written Documentation: can be provided to clarify any technical details
  • Instructional Emails: can be provided at client request for any topic
  • Contextual Help: within admin area can provide guidance on topics

Basic Website Security

BASIC WEBSITE SECURITY

Help keep your website safe by following these common security tips.

  1.  Use an SSL certificate (HTTPS):
    Using an SSL certificate on your website and forcing its use as mandatory ensures that the data between the website and your users are encrypted.
  2.  Update your content management system (CMS) and plugins regularly:
    If your website uses a CMS such as WordPress or Drupal, make sure to keep them as up-to-date as possible to ensure you are able to take advantage of the latest security patches.
  3. Use a secure server:
    Host your website in a hosting environment that is regular updated for security patches, and follows best-practice configurations for security.
  4. Use strong passwords:
    Require users to have secure passwords of sufficient length that include a mix of upper and lower-case letters, punctuation, and special characters.  Dictionary words should be avoided.
  5. Use a web application firewall (WAP)
    A WAP can help provide protection by acting as an intermediary between the website and its users and inspecting traffic for attempts to exploit security vulnerabilities.
  6. Maintain regular automated backups:
    If all else fails and your website is compromised, you will want to have readily available backups of the website to minimize the amount of downtime when trying to rectify the issues

Open Source CMS Options

WordPress

  • It was initially developed in 2003 as a blogging tool and is the #1 CMS in the world.
  • WordPress has grown and expanded over the last 15 years, and has become the world’s most popular content management system with over 62 million installs.
  • Over 30% of the Internet is now powered by WordPress.
  • WordPress has made significant gains with municipal organizations and political leaders, Whitehouse.gov and 20 of the 22 democratic candidates for the 2020 Presidential election all use WordPress.
Drupal 
  • It provides a back-end framework for at least 2.3% of all web sites worldwide ranging from personal blogs to corporate, political, government sites and is the #1 platform for enterprise CMS’s.
  • The Drupal community is composed of more than 1.3 million members, including 109,000 users actively contributing, resulting in more than 39,000 free modules that extend and customize Drupal functionality and over 2,500 free themes that change the website look and feel.

Choosing the right CMS matters: Open Source Vs Proprietary

A proprietary CMS is a software that is the legal property of an organization, group, or individual that created it. The rights holder to the CMS will usually not release the source code to the public, and often only those who have purchased a special license key may use it. Examples: Kentico, SiteCore, Adobe Experience Manager and CivicEngageAn open-source CMS also has features exactly as the name implies: a source code open to the public eye and free to use by anyone. This can spawn a developer community, where programmers come together to develop the software and provide support to users. Examples: WordPress, Drupal and Joomla

The advantages of a proprietary CMS is the complete control of the source code by the organization, group, or individual behind it. If you don’t want the source code tampered with, this is the alternative to choose.

The disadvantages of a proprietary CMS is that you are locked in as the customer. Even though your developers can have trials or demos, the fact remains that a proprietary CMS is more closed to general development and is solely dependent on the legal owner and creator of the platform.

The advantages of an open-source CMS is the continual testing and development of the product by engaged programmers. This way the CMS will unlikely stay at a standstill, because it will always be improved.

The disadvantages of an open-source CMS may appear to be a lack of control, but the organization controlling the repository where the code lives can decide who can commit changes.

Digital Marketing

Municipal marketing encompasses a wide range advertising activities, many of which are now revolving around digital technologies. Here is a breakdown to be on top of your municipal marketing in the digital age.

Social Media Marketing

This is one of the biggest opportunities brands have at the moment. Much of the brand awareness that can be boosted via social media is free, with the exception of Facebook ads and sponsored posts. There are lots of things you can do to create buzz. First, find the most relevant social networks for your location and target audience. For many, the top 3 will be Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Municipal organizations have a huge advantage in this category. Many people are going to be cities and almost everyone is armed with cellphones with cameras. That’s a lot of people who have the ability to share their experiences with your cities and municipal facilities on social media.Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization helps potential users find your brand a lot easier when searching. This is important for many reasons. Of course it’s pretty easy to be found when someone Googles your company name. But how often do you come up when they’re searching for related search terms that don’t include your company. Say someone was looking for “great parks Bend Oregon”. The top entries will most likely be publications, as their SEO rating is incredibly high due to the volume of content they produce. That being said, if the municipal organization is focusing enough efforts on SEO, they should place fairly high. The Bend Parks and Recreation Department is the 5th Google listing when searching for “great parks Bend Oregon.”

E-mail Marketing

E-mail marketing is still being touted as one of the most effective digital marketing strategies. It is one of the most effective, yet least difficult things to manage. An intelligently designed email can do wonders for keeping your audience engaged. One thing to be careful about is to email your members too frequently. People get tired of emails pretty quickly. Some great ideas for municipal organizations are monthly or weekly emails focused on “things to do”, events, news, and “pro tips”.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is huge because you want to give people a reason to keep coming back to your website. If you only post about your facilities and what goes on, it gives only your community members reason to visit. However, if you are consistently putting up valuable, high-quality content on your blog and social media channels, you will attract many different people to keep visiting your site.

ADA Compliance

Website ADA compliance has been a hot topic recently. Several large enterprise businesses and municipal organizations have been the target of law suits as a result of their website not being compliant.

ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) is a law that went into place in 1990 which states websites must be accessible by people with disabilities. The goal is to have websites that do not discriminate against those with disabilities.

In the first six months of 2018, nearly 5,000 ADA lawsuits have been filed in federal court for alleged violations. Protecting your interests is more important than ever.

Working with a lot of private enterprise, government entities and municipality clients, we have extensive experience with creating an ADA Compliant solution and continued monitoring. We make sure the site’s visual elements are visually compliant. In addition, all page headers, tags and meta data will follow compliance. We do this through automated tools for testing and we embed compliance throughout our design and development process. We will meet Section 508/WCAG2.AA (AAA compliance if requested).

Main factors for creating a complaint website:

  • Visual Elements
  • Site Hierarchy
  • Navigation
  • Meta Data
  • Structural
  • Coding
  • Color Contrasts
  • Content Elements

Contact us today to schedule your ADA audit.

Content Migration

One of the biggest challenges of redesigning a large/robust website is always how you handle content migration. Planeteria has a proven content migration procedure that reduces the headache of a major website redesign task.

Content Audit. We will perform a comprehensive audit of your existing website, cataloging text, images, video, and assessing the architecture and usability of the site.

Identify Content. Certain content will be eliminated and Planeteria will identify any content gaps.

Mapping Content. We will map content from the existing site and where it goes on the new site to ensure an efficient launch.

Here is a new website post

Hello world. This now edited as a test.

Get More Traffic to your website! Get More Leads from your website!

Improving Traffic to your Website

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is all about getting organic traffic from search engines to your website, it’s a huge process which includes various factors like on-page and off-page optimization. Basically, Search engines work with different types of algorithms which will evaluate the website qualities to rank in the search result. These algorithms will regularly update by search engine companies to give quality search results.

Here are a few points to improve the traffic of your website,

About Search Engine Algorithms

Google updates its algorithm 100s of times per year.  We need to do there commended improvements to the website, at least quarterly, to keep up rankings (where your site shows up in results)  and traffic (how many site visitors you have) from the search engines. The kinds of updates required to maintain a stable ranking position and traffic to your website can be confusing.  Here are a few tips to stay stable in search engines.

 

Content Updating

content in websitePeople visit your website to get information for a particular query, so giving them accurate, good and lengthy information will be very useful for them. Search engines take content as important signals to rank your website in search results, to stabilize in SERP (Search engine ranking position) and traffic to your website.  You need to regularly update your content to keep search engines from viewing your content as stale. At a minimum, you have to release 1 or 2 useful blog articles (approx. 1800 words per article) on your website, change existing content which is outdated, and add content to important pages (like the service or about us page) once a month.   This doesn’t always have to be written content. Videos, images or gif files are also effective.

Responsiveness

mobile responsive - paneteria media santa rosa

 

 

More Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in the U.S. You need to concentrate on mobile responsiveness of your website.  Search engines attach strong ranking signals to mobile user experience.

 

 

 

 

 

These signals are things like:

  • Good traffic data from mobile devices
  • Do mobile users stay on the site a long time
  • Do mobile users go to multiple pages
  • Is there a high rate of click to call or click to navigate
  • Are there obvious mobile specific styles in the code

Social Media Profile Integrating  

 

More than 10 Million people all over the world use social media. Search engines take integrating social media pages into a website as a strong signal to better your search rank.

 

 

 

 

Do you have an active social media presence creating a lot of new links back to your website such as:

  • Links from people sharing your content in posts
  • Links from you sharing your content in posts
  • Built in ways on your site to easily share content in posts
  • A social presence spread out over multiple platforms (facebook, instagram, twitter, etc.)

Paid Link Building/Guest Blog Publishing

Guest Blog publishing - planeteria Media

 

In addition to links from social platforms, backlinks from other websites are also important.  It tells the search engine that other relevant sites also think that you are relevant. Link building is an important component of the ranking signals for search engines.  If you carry a brand in your store, make sure that they have a link to you as a place to find their product. Pay to publish a guest blog article on your area of expertise in a related website with a lot of traffic.  Pay to be listed in relevant online directories with good traffic. There are many ways to build backlinks and it’s an ongoing activity. Search engines are looking to see, like content on your site, what NEW links exist showing that people are STILL talking about you.