At its best, communication should be a dialogue between a government agency and the people it serves. Government agencies have important information to share, such as employment and population trends, road repair updates, and time-sensitive law enforcement notices, so it’s critical that people tune in and engage.

The internet is an incredible avenue for communication with social networks, blogs, emails and more. Cut through the digital clutter with these tips.

Maintain a regular posting schedule
There are 2.8 billion people using social media and 3.7 billion using email. That makes blogs, social media posts and email blasts effective tools. Having a regular posting schedule means people will expect your content, and they’ll look for it. Stay organized by keeping a social media calendar with the times, dates and post topics.

It’s important to measure the effectiveness of your messages. If you ask a question in an email, track how many people respond. You can also use Facebook® and Twitter® analytics to see what types of posts are most engaging. Remember to reward those who participate with a small gift of thanks—a logo’d key light or Peel-N-Stick Calendar are nice choices.

Make responses timely
Nearly half of today’s consumers use social media to ask questions, provide feedback and otherwise engage with brands. When they do, they expect a quick response. On Twitter®, 53 percent of people who ask a question expect a response within the hour. If you can’t immediately answer, make sure to acknowledge the question and give a timeframe for your response.

Social media provides a way to humanize government, so make it a priority. Designate someone to monitor your social media or set up alerts to notify you when someone posts on your pages.

Try social media giveaways
People love freebies, and giving something away can quickly draw attention. Make sure to use gifts as a way to encourage engagement. Use a historic photo from your community and ask people to caption it. Or turn that photo into a contest by asking when or where it was taken. You could also ask a trivia question about your city or its schools. Provide winners with a gift, such as a speech bubble sticky book or Media Lounger.

You could also post tips about a specific topic, like auto maintenance or summer safety, and invite citizens to share their own. Enter those who participate in a drawing for an Auto Safety Kit or beach first-aid kit.

Communication is a two-way street—make sure you’re talking and listening. Engagement is key, so connect with your constituents as early and often as possible. And try a social media giveaway or two to grab their attention. Good luck!

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