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Hootsuite’s Ben Cathers: Research, Creativity Key to Citizen Engagement Via Social Media

Ben Cathers

Ben Cathers, principal value consultant at Vancouver, Canada-based social media management platforms provider Hootsuite, has said government agencies should conduct research and learn how people communicate in order to build up their capability to facilitate citizen engagement through social media.

Cathers wrote that in order to establish a social media presence, agencies need to do a lot of experimentation.

“One approach could be to encourage agency employees to be funny and creative,” he said.

He cited how law enforcement agencies such as the New York Police Department, Transportation Security Administration and the police department in Lawrence, Kan., use social media like Twitter and Instagram to advance citizen engagement.

Cathers said getting buy-in from the agency’s top management and connecting the agency’s goals and missions to social media metrics are key factors to implementing an effective social media strategy.

He said agencies seeking to achieve real interactions with citizens need to understand that “social media is not about issuing press releases.”

“It’s about being genuine and trying to facilitate engagement,” he added.

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