St. Louis Police Puts Emphasis On Strong Social Media Presence

The St. Louis County Police Department’s Twitter feed was buzzing this week with moment-to-moment updates during protests commemorating Michael Brown’s death one year ago.

As Black Lives Matter demonstrators gathered in Ferguson, Mo., officers provided a wide breadth of coverage that almost resembled posts from local media outlets or citizen journalists.

This embrace of social media marks a shift in priorities for a police department that was relatively quiet last year. At the time, the department had just one public information officer, Sgt. Brian Schellman. That’s not uncommon for a department its size, but it proved utterly insufficient in the wake of the countless emails and interview requests that inundated Schellman after Brown’s death.

“I think he was going on two or three hours of sleep a night, so they expanded the [county] department, which included opening up a social media position,” says Vera Culley, who was hired to handle the county’s social media accounts in November 2014.

Some people may think that social media should just be used for personal or business accounts when, actually, it’s equally as important for the emergency services to keep in daily contact with the people in their surrounding community.

Keeping your followers up to date about any situations that are being dealt with in their area can help to give residents peace of mind, especially if they are aware that the police and any other services have it under control.

That’s when having a large following could be useful. By sharing the stories with your followers, and as nitreo’s instagram hashtag generator works well when it comes to spreading your message across the platform, it can help you to communicate and engage with people who need your help on a regular basis. The need for more social media officers in the Police force has never been more crucial, so the experience of Culley will be of great importance

Culley, an African-American web producer with extensive journalism experience, says her goal was tell the police department’s story, which she felt had gotten lost.

“There was no way in the world they were going to ‘win on social media,'” she says. “But there was no reason for them to not be in the conversation. My approach was to simply join the conversation. Make sure the facts were being reported as facts.”

< p id="yui_3_18_1_1_1439567714026_1789">St. Louis is not alone in awakening to the importance of social media in shaping the narrative of controversial events; police departments across the nation are overhauling their public relations strategies.

Read more at Yahoo! News.

Leave a Reply