Innovative cities in the modern era utilize social media as an integral communications device for all things community.
Much credit should go to the City of Peterborough, which has stepped up its social game on Twitter and Facebook in positive, engaging, playful ways—in doing so showcasing the people and amenities that make Peterborough a welcoming city, and all the hard work being done.
Exhibit A: During the winter storm recently, the City tweeted out a series of fun, educational videos that got lots of engagement showing us how the Public Works plowing crews (road and sidewalk) were tackling all that snow…
18 plows, 9 sidewalk plows and 2 graders. About 965 lane kilometres of road, 400 kilometres of sidewalk and 38 kilometres of maintained trails. Maintenance, service and public safety. The view from a plow truck today. pic.twitter.com/bzwOFzVMZU
The key people on the City of Peterborough’s social media/communications activities are Sharron Hayton—the main person for corporate social media accounts—Sadie Norrad, Accessibility and Communication Specialist; and Brendan Wedley, Manager of Communication Services.
“We want to be informative and engaging on social media,” Wedley tells PTBOCanada. “It's not a new strategy, but I would say that we've been working to enhance how we communicate through our various communication channels. I think people will have noticed an increased use of videos, photos and graphics. We're using a more conversational tone when appropriate—but there are still some municipal topics where we need to be more formal or reserved.”
Recently the City had some fun with this Throwback Thursday showing past logos…
The City is currently working on building a much needed new website, which is slated to launch in the spring. Wedley says the development of that has inspired new possiblities with social media.
“The new design and voice that's being developed for our website is certainly influencing our communication through other methods, including our social media presence,” Wedley tells PTBOCanada. “Residents will find the new website to be easier to navigate, find information and access City services. Instead of being designed based on government, it's being designed based on the user or the resident. I think we see that same principle reflected in our tone on social media.”
With Twitter and Facebook amping up, the City now has an eye to activating an Instagram account to tell Peterborough’s story more visually. “We keep looking at Instagram, but we're not there yet,” Wedley tells PTBOCanada. “We know it's a fantastic platform and a positive space. We need to be able to generate more relevant, timely photo content before we can be in that space in a meaningful way.”
Indeed, the City’s thoughtful approach and tone to social media and building their new website is in keeping with how the community consumes content now in the modern era. “Social media is just one tool, but it's an important tool,” notes Wedley. “We want to engage with residents in a way that's convenient for them.”