OneVoice CSDA Newsletter,  September 2018

4 Tips on How Social Media Can Work for You

By Judith M. Green, Social Media Specialist, Los Angeles County CSSD

Did you know social media is now one of the most impactful forms of digital marketing? According to Hootsuite, eleven new people start using social media every second, which is about 1 million people every day. There are now 3 billion people using social media—that’s almost half of the entire earth’s population!

Even though social media is used by citizens all around the world, government social media isn’t being used to its full potential. Due to this amazing growth, Local Child Support Agencies (LCSAs) are encouraged to utilize social media channels such as Twitter and Instagram to spread the word about their services. As the Social Media Specialist for Los Angeles County Child Support Services plus the 10+ years of experience as a child support professional, I have used social media as a tool to work and connect with the families we serve more effectively.

Communicating with the public via social media can be an effective way to disseminate information about the many important child support services that can help families everywhere. Social media is not just the “in thing,” but it is a platform where our target audience “likes” to hang out. Communicating with the public via social media can be an effective yet light hearted way to distribute information and develop a closer relationship with the communities we serve.

Here are 4 proven effective ways your LCSA can utilize social media to communicate and engage with your customers:

1. Use Visuals:

It’s time to grab their attention by using eye-catching visuals with your social media content. Posting images and videos will play a big role in helping you grow your brand awareness. Eye-catching content not only increases engagement, but also boosts social shares. Social media images are a vital part of ensuring your content reaches the maximum number of people.

  1. Be consistent with color.
  2. Choose the right imagery and filters.
  3. Use your logo as your profile image.
  4. Create different images for each social network.
  5. Add your text, illustrations, and brand your images.

2. Link to Your Website from Social Media:

One goal is to get the public to your site. There they can explore and, hopefully, decide to engage further with your LCSA. One way to get people to your website is to direct them there. Los Angeles County promotes specific services by directing customers straight to that page. Cutting down the opportunity for distraction or hesitation and making it easy for them to act makes all the difference. If people are interested in the type of content you’re sharing and discussing, they’ll likely be interested in finding out where they can get more.

3. Short Videos:

Launching a video digital marketing campaign is a bold and innovative idea. Watching a video is much less demanding and more of an automatic process, requiring less effort on behalf of the person watching when compared to reading the same information. According to Social Media Today, “44% of consumers prefer learning about a product (or service) via watching a video (rather than reading about it).”

  1. Get personal: With such a diverse platform, start by targeting your audience. What are your most popular website pages? Think about what they’d like to see.
  2. Short attention spans: Keep your videos short and simple, try not to exceed 90 seconds when posting online.
  3. Add a featured video: You can pin a video to the top of your page to introduce your brand or highlight a new service.
  4. Upload videos directly (avoid links).

4. Create a hashtag campaign:

Having the right hashtag can help you to connect with targeted audiences on social media. Hashtags (#) are digital marketing tools that can be shared with an online community and creating a hashtag for your LCSA has lots of benefits. Hashtags give you additional strength toward customer engagement. Not only that, but hashtags tend to be great marketing resources. The hashtag frenzy has been an important element in the rise of social media and L.A. County has successfully branded CSSD by creating the hashtag campaign #SupportLA. A branded hashtag can help give life to your digital identity, providing additional reach, impact, and personality.

  1. Make sure to keep it short and simple: Keep your hashtag to the point. Social media posts are meant to be short, and you don’t want to waste characters with a lengthy hashtag.
  2. Use the same hashtag: Using the same hashtag across all platforms is the best and easiest way to brand your hashtag and build awareness. This will also help you to track users and content later.
  3. Brand it: Branding the hashtag as your own will help make it memorable. Make sure the hashtag is as visible as possible to encourage others to take part in the campaign.
  4. Use your hashtag at every opportunity: Use your hashtag on all relevant social media posts and marketing materials. Using the same hashtag across all platforms is the best and easiest way to brand your hashtag and build awareness.

The fear of receiving negative feedback is often the reason why LCSAs are hesitant to use social media. But fear not because you can turn that negative into a positive. Social media enables you to respond and help your customers in real time and as a result it lets your customers know you’re listening. For example, CSSD received feedback on Twitter from a Veteran who was frustrated with the child support process. We immediately reached out to him and had a child support professional look into his case and resolved his issue within an hour. We are now proud to say he is a @CSSDLA follower who actively supports and likes our posts, and this is an example of how social media can improve customer relationships.

Another way social media can add value is through data analytics. All social media platforms offer data analytics, and with this insight it gives you valuable information on how well your posts are performing. There is no denying that social media marketing has many advantages. LCSAs have a responsibility to the public, and now social media empowers our reach and most importantly, allows us to help the families we serve in a powerful way.