As part of the Social Media Strategies Summit for Public Agencies and Government, we're highlighting the amazing speakers taking part in this two day virtual event. The event runs December 7 - 8 and features a wide-range of compelling sessions.
What is your session for SMSS called?
Case Study: How Michigan's DNR Started a Photo Ambassador Program to Grow Their Instagram Presence
Without giving too much away about your session, what do you hope to cover that is of benefit to attendees of the SMSS?
I'll be discussing our Michigan State Parks Photo Ambassadors program; what it is, why it started and how it has helped our Instagram.
Tell us a little about what you do and how you got there
I'm the social media coordinator for the parks and recreation division of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. My job is to tell the story of Michigan state parks on social media. I graduated from Central Michigan University in 2000 with a degree in parks and recreation. I coordinated programs and events for different agencies for almost 15 years before I began working with the DNR. Today, my focus is social media. We have over 60 state park Facebook pages that I help create and coordinate content for as well as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts that share details about Michigan State Parks, Trails and Waterways.
What do you love about your job?
I love being able to be creative in my job and I love working with our ambassadors.
What’s the hardest thing about your job?
The hardest part of my job is the geography! We have a lot of locations to tell stories about, but it's hard to get out to all of the parks all the time to collect those stories to tell.
What are some of the more memorable events you’ve had to deal with in your role and what lessons did you learn?
On Instagram, we have ambassadors that capture photos of our parks and we allow them to do takeovers on our account. This year we have had three takeover posts that had 11.32-12.09% engagement rate! My takeaway from this is that others can tell the story of the parks just as well as we can and I'm glad we work with these people - our ambassadors!
What is it about communications, media or crisis comms that interests you so much?
I love discovering and sharing other people's stories about being outdoors. You never know what kind of story will inspire others to visit state parks.
Can you give one piece of advice for those who want to start a career in Government communications?
I would say get to know the people behind the accounts, emails, etc. Don't be afraid to reach out. Join Facebook groups that focus on what you want to do. Learn from others.
What are your favorite tools you use to do your job more effectively?
Sprout and Falcon.io/Brandwatch. These platforms have allowed us to social listen, schedule posts and analyze data.
What would you say to anyone in a leadership role about having a PIO or comms professional who might not have one?
If you don't have one, get one. Communication is essential in government and it takes a team to do it!
Are there any books, podcasts, websites or any other resources you would recommend for the comms pro?
I got the Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing because one of the contributors is Jenn Herman. She runs Jenn's Trends accounts on Facebook and Instagram and keeps up to date on everything Instagram. Very knowledgeable and helpful! I've also got a lot of helpful info from Social Pros and Social Media Marketing podcasts.