The Law Enforcement Social Media Blog
A Different Police News Release; The Live Video News Release
With people's busy schedules, the bombardment of people's notifications of text messages, emails, IM's, DM's and more, reading your news release might be last on people's agendas.
Those in charge of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube know one thing is for sure; it's no longer a game of people having to accept the ecosystem of the platforms, but rather, the platforms needing to conform to the users.For example, Twitter for a long time had a stance of believing whole-heartedly in free speech and allowing people to say and do whatever they want, as long as it didn't amount to a crime. For several years, we watched people say or do something, either foolishly or by mistake, and the sharks and piranhas would come out. How many people have you heard of losing their jobs, or their lives, because of the mob mentality on Twitter?
Slowly but surely, people left Twitter because of the pure ugliness you could see in the news feed. Because of this, as hard as it probably was, the big "T" had to clean up its platform and make it a place where people would want to hang out and get their social media fix. They drew up tighter policies in regards to the conduct of its users, and they physically started purging fake accounts used to rain hell on people.
The Police Need To Change Their Style As Well
Law enforcement and public safety social media managers need to do the same thing; look at the entire social media ecosystem to determine how people want their content, and where they prefer to get it.
If you want people to get your message about the next Coffee With A Cop event, know which roads or highways are shut down, or the details of a bank robbery, then you should be doing it on your viewer's terms.
It's Video Today, Audio Tomorrow
Start doing your news releases in a live video. All of the platforms encourage live video, and for those who do it, they are rewarded with their video being propelled on top of other content and shown to more and more people. Take it as a way of the platform owners saying, "hey, we invested a lot of money in live video, and by you doing live video, we're going to show more people how great it is, so they do it too." Makes sense, right?
Audio social media is just being born, as well. How many people do you know have an Amazon Alexa or Google Home device? In our house, we have three of them, mainly used for streaming music and as an intercom.
I would love to know if there is a law enforcement agency out there with a daily briefing on Alexa, giving news releases and the morning traffic report? Hopefully, right now, the wheels are turning in your head, and you're getting excited to break ground on a new idea.
Be prepared for audio-only to be the next way to get your department's message out. Anyways, back to live video news releases...
There's A Self-serving Benefit To Live Video News Releases
When people go on a ride-along and witness an officer complete a traffic stop, they are somewhat confused with everything that happened. Think about everything an officer has to do to pull over a vehicle.
From observing the violation, determining when and where you'll try to pull over the violator, looking for traffic hazards and congestion, using the radio, turning on the lights, etc. There's a lot to it, but it's second nature to the officer, who doesn't even think about half of the steps because he or she does it out of memory.
The same goes for the more video you do, the better you are on camera. You'll look better, you'll sound better, and your overall "newscast" will be something people will start looking forward to watching.
Don't Go Live Every Hour
You don't want to be going live every hour with a news release because your agency serves a community where there is a violent crime every 15 minutes. You will burn out the community, and the effect will be counter-intuitive to what you're trying to accomplish.
If you are one of these agencies, consider drafting up a set of standards of what news releases get reported live, and which ones are pushed out as posts.
Maybe have a live-stream newscast where you report on the top news releases in the morning or evening. It's crazy to think the police doing a newscast, but why not? If you have that much content to put out on a regular and frequent basis, why would you not want to use the technique American journalists have been using since 1940 when NBC did the first newscast?
By doing more and more live videos, you will soon be able to handle any news media press conference and be able to handle any question thrown at you.