I have been hitting on a lot of social media topics recently. I love finding PIO’s who are doing it right. Maybe the Godfather of PIO and Social Media is somebody like Brian Humphrey of LAFD, then again that title probably goes to the first Firefighter/EMT who decided that their department needed a website.
Websites are great…for normal information. The utilization of social media, a content management system and RSS Feeds (think blog) are another.
PIO’s who decide to take it to the next level are doing their jobs. PIO’s who neglect social networking, don’t understand it, or have said “to hell with that” are NOT doing their jobs. Chiefs and City Administrators who will not allow it, don’t understand it, or think it will not benefit the department should get out of the way!
I found another City who has welcomed social networking and has done a great job with it. Mark Basnight and Rob Brisley run the CFD News & Information Blog for the City of Charlotte Fire Department in North Carolina.
They utilize the following social media (all links are to their content) :
- Google Groups
- Yahoo Groups
- Email signup for updates
The also utilize a great tool with offering translation of their website to a handful of languages. In addition they run concurrent RSS feeds on their site offering news related to them and the City of Charlotte.
This is a great example of making Public Information easy, Worldwide, accessible, and fun.
You might ask why have tap into so many different social marketing variants. The answer is easy. As more and more social networking platforms arise, different people chose different ones to use. That doesn’t mean that you have to use everyone. However, it might be a good idea to at least obtain your namesake in each one so that someone else doesn’t come along and grab it up.
With social networking, the cream always rises to the top. For instance, I once utilized Myspace as a social networking tool. Once Facebook was unleashed to the masses (it was developed and solely used by colleges and universities in the beginning) I made the switch to Facebook. Why you might ask? Because I feel as though Facebook is more professional, more secure, and better suited for social networking. I no longer use MySpace.
In the near future I will be getting more into social networking for the Fire Service. I am not so sure I will be competition for these guys, but I will be in the realm. You will also find out who has been hiding behind the name “Fire Critic” if you don’t already know.
As for the Charlotte Fire Department’s marketing strategies, I commend them for making full use of what is available to them. You want to know what it would cost to put up a site like theirs….nothing. You heard me right. If you were to do it yourself, outside of the man hours will will take to put it all together, it would cost nothing. Blogger allows you a free blog, the social networking sites used are free, the whole thing is free!
FC note: I have not spoken with the CFD, but by all appearances I believe that if you were to make a site just like that one and had the no-how to do it it wouldn’t cost anything but time. CFD – please correct me if I am wrong.
Damn, now don’t you wish you had started one earlier?
If you would like assistance getting started, please let me know. Also, you might check out some of my other posts on the subject.
One other note… If this makes it to the Charlotte Fire Department Chief, you should know that your guys are doing one hell of a job! Step raises for all of them…ok maybe not, but they are doing great. Other departments should be looking up to yours in an effort to make theirs better!
…and for you other readers; just so you don’t think my department is better than yours. I have pitched several ideas for our department to utilize social networking. They didn’t do it, they don’t have a clue, and we are behind the times.
more to come on social networking….in the future