Thank you to everyone who helped select a “Crowd Favorite” in the Golden Post Award contest! Below are the FINALISTS in all award categories. Congratulations to the “Front Street Animal Shelter is Full” entry for winning the Crowd Favorite award, as the entry that received the top number of votes. See all 2016 finalists and winners.
2016 Golden Post Award Finalists
"Front Street Animal Shelter is Full!", Front Street Animal Shelter - City of Sacramento, California
(Category: Outstanding Social Media Results) The Front Street Animal Shelter was incredibly full, with an animal population that far exceeded capacity. Always seeking unique ways to encourage adoption, a video was produced announcing free adoptions in October 2015.
The video's social reach was nearly 3 million, but more importantly, 241 animals found new homes in a matter of days. As evidenced by the line of adopters in the attached photo, clearly our use of social media for this purpose was outstanding.
"Dash-Cam Facebook Post: Trooper Saves Life", Ohio State Highway Patrol
(Category: Outstanding Social Media Results) The Ohio State Highway Patrol understands the importance of social media and the reach it can have in telling its story and illustrating its public value. On August 13, 2015 Trooper Eric Devers was presented with a Certificate of Recognition for his lifesaving actions that saved the life of a truck driver following a crash. The dash cam video of the incident was uploaded directly to the Patrol\'s Facebook page with info about the award presentation and the response was overwhelming.
This video reached nearly 54 million users on Facebook and generated nearly 1.4 million likes, comments and shares - all of which were 100% organic. As a result of this post\'s reach, the Patrol received national news coverage - including BuzzFeed, Huffington Post and Fox and Friends. This post gave us the ability to tell - and more importantly show - people what the Patrol is doing every day to contribute to a safer Ohio. Which is a big part of our social media philosophy - Do Things. Tell People.
Thomas Christensen, County of San Diego, California
(Category: Top Social Media Advocate in Government) In just 6 years, our Twitter followers have gone from 2,588 to 52,000+. Our Facebook page has gained more than 7,000 new fans and our social media accounts have nearly tripled. Toss in 5,100 Instagram followers in the last year and you've got a social media powerhouse - all managed and built by Tom. He's done presentations on social media use for NACo, CAPIO, NATOA, etc., making him more than just someone who can throw together 140 cohesive characters; he's the social media guru.
Mayor John Curtis, Provo City, Utah
(Category: Top Elected Official on Social Media) Provo Mayor John Curtis is a great example of social media savvy. He stays up to date on social media trends and is active on Snapchat, Periscope, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. His efforts in social media are aimed at removing the veil to government. He answers resident's questions via Facebook live broadcasts and Periscope during his monthly AMAs. He blogs, tweets, and snaps daily. Mayor Curtis believes first and foremost, your government should be accessible to you and that transparency is about showing the personal side of government.
"Unidentified Body - Tattoos", County of San Diego, California
(Category: Social Media Strategy in Solving Crime) After a body was found floating in the ocean, the County Medical Examiner needed help identifying it. A forensic artist sketched two tattoos that were on the body and then the Communications office released the info with the photos to the media - placing them on social media, as well. The tweet was retweeted about 20 times, but the real success was the Facebook post, which reached nearly 18,000 people and resulted in 156 shares.
In just four days, it was announced that the body had been identified after a friend of the victim, who works in the tattoo industry, recognized the images and sought out the artist with whose work he was familiar. Reading through the shares on Facebook, people were tagging their tattoo artist friends and posting it to tattoo groups on Facebook. Using social media very effectively helped spread the message quickly and, perhaps, more efficiently than traditional media. Ultimately, it solved a heartbreaking mystery.
"Twitter User Suggests Street Name Change", City of Liberty, Missouri
(Category: Best Use of User Generated Content) When a Twitter user submits a brilliant idea, you've got to make it happen! Justin Wilfon, a KSHB 41 reporter, shared this tweet on the first day of the ALC series between the KC Royals and the Toronto Blue Jays: "This street in Liberty should probably be renamed this week. @41ActionNews #Royals #TakeTheCrown." In Liberty, Missouri, Blue Jay Drive is named for Liberty HS. However, we loved his idea and temporarily changed the street sign to Royals Drive. The reactions on Facebook and Twitter were outstanding.
The buzz around KC during the World Series was unrivaled. The Facebook post with photos of the sign switch reached more than 411,000 people with 3.8K likes and 2K shares. On Twitter, we received more than 32,000 impressions and nearly 3,000 engagements. As an added bonus, during this time new followers to the City of Liberty accounts were exponentially higher than usual. The social media posts received comments and mentions from across the country, Canada and even from MLB.com.
Ty Wood, Clovis Police Department, California
(Category: Top Social Media Advocate in Government) Ty is a Police Service Officer and our SM manager. In addition to working crime scenes, dispatch, and many other auxillary assignments, he has done an amazing job with SM. In 2012 Ty was the driving force in the creation of our SM program. He is ALWAYS available, no matter the time or day. He has provided guidance/training for other local agencies on SM. He has driven us to 23,000 FB likes, 5,200 Twitter followers, and 7,700 Nextdoor members for a city of 104,000.
Greg Straub and Noah Nagy, Michigan Department of Corrections
(Category: Top Social Media Advocate in Government) “Field Days,” is the brainchild of two go-getting Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) employees, Greg Straub and Noah Nagy, who created a unique opportunity by bringing comedic banter, staff profiles and relatable topics in the form of a podcast. “Field Days,” offers an innovative way to engage with the media, public and MDOC Field Operations Administration (FOA) staff by primarily highlighting FOA success stories and criminal related topics that affect the community. The podcast truly embodies a unique way government entities can spread their message socially on global platforms.
"North Port Police Social Media Strategy", North Port Police Department, Florida
(Category: Social Media Strategy in Solving Crime) In April of 2015 the North Port Police Department launched it's Facebook page. In roughly 10 months we have amassed nearly 9,000 likes and growing. Usage of our Twitter page during that time has also resulted in more than 1,000 followers. We have taken the strategy of more transparency and it is resulting in more community involvement, crime prevention and crimes being solved. All thanks to social media.
So far can attribute roughly a dozen cases where social media had a direct impact into the outcome of a case. Please see word document with examples. From everyday tips to those wanted seeing it themselves and coming forward. We are using it all in conjunction with our anonymous Tip 411 app. In December our videos on giving were used by local news outlets and reached more than 30-million views. It has improved our relationship with the public and helped with tips and overall crime.
Mayor Harry LaRosiliere, City of Plano, Texas
(Category: Top Elected Official on Social Media) Mayor Harry LaRosiliere "gets" social media and is truly a Twitter wiz. He understands how social media can be a great tool to reach out to his residents. Mayor LaRosiliere is active on Twitter, from tweeting out important information during digital town halls, encouraging local companies to improve their community, to posting selfies he takes with interns in the Plano Mayor Summer Internship Program, Mayor LaRosiliere has focused his message and outreach through the medium of social media. Mayor Harry is an outstanding candidate to receive this prestigious award.
"Steal Shaming", City of Keller, Texas
(Category: Social Media Strategy in Solving Crime) Keller has less than 43,000 people and one of the lowest crime rates in Texas, so what we see most are petty theft cases. We've found that if we spread the word about cases that focus on the importance of the stolen items to their owners (when it's something truly irreplaceable), we have a better chance of either the thieves returning the property themselves or having a friend or family member make contact.
Coverage of a former player and beloved high school coach having his six championship rings stolen out of his car at the gas station made headlines late last year and a longtime resident who discovered a family heirloom missing from his property created a buzz earlier this month. In the first case, the thief was turned in by a friend. In the second, the thief returned the property anonymously.
Mayor Sly James, Kansas City, Missouri
(Category: Top Elected Official on Social Media) Mayor Sly James does almost all of his tweets. How many elected officials can claim that? He will respond to you on Twitter and have a healthy debate with those who may question things he says or does. He is not afraid to jump into discussions with anyone and share his thoughts. You don't always see this type of transparency from elected officials. He is willing to take on the hard questions head-on and engage people in the process.
"The Lifeline - San Marcos Social Media During 2015 Floods", City of San Marcos, Texas
(Category: Social Media Crisis Communications) Memorial Day and Halloween 2015 in San Marcos weren’t times of celebration; instead they were times of despair following two historic floods. The communications team used several tools to relay information, but social media was the lifeline for the community, the timeliest and most accurate way for residents to get information to keep them connected and safe in the midst of disaster. The statistics in this entry are more than just numbers. They’re life preservers, collective grief, and hope – a powerful example of social media making a difference
The first 24 hours of the Memorial Weekend Flood, San Marcos communications team established the city’s sites as the authority for flood information and organically grew from 2,891 to 9,629 followers. Less than 5 months later the new audience was once again using these tools during a major flood. The City has retained those followers through good social media management and now has over 15,000 followers on the main City Facebook page and over 13,000 on the City’s main Twitter site, all organically grown.
"Red Light Runners Caught on Camera", Boynton Beach Police Department, Florida
(Category: Outstanding Social Media Results) What's the best way to get people talking about the dangers of distracted driving? Show them video of it. Last year, the Boynton Beach Police Department began posting videos to Facebook of people ignoring red light traffic signals. We are the only city in Palm Beach County to currently use red light cameras. Our goal is to create a constructive dialogue in our ongoing effort get drivers to slow down, put the cell phones down and pay attention to everything going on around us. Lives depend on it.
The videos have reached more than 150, 000 people and have been viewed nearly 100,000 times. Numerous newspapers and TV stations have done stories about our Facebook campaign. The presence of red light cameras are a very controversial topic here, but we have gotten positive feedback from residents since we began posting these videos. Our goal was to get people talking about the dangers of distracted driving and that's exactly what they are doing - hundreds of users have shared the videos and commented on the posts.
"Flood Scammer", San Marcos Police Department, Texas
(Category: Social Media Strategy in Solving Crime) After natural disasters con artists run rampant. One particular scammer scammer targeted the San Marcos community after the Memorial Day Flood. She pretended to be a victim and tricked residents out of money and even stole from their homes. Thanks to our loyal social media followers, she's now behind bars.
"Blue Flu", Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, Kansas
(Category: Best Use of Humor on Social Media) It was the first time in 30 years that the Kansas City Royals won the World Series and fans were ready to celebrate. Fans reported having the "Blue Flu" so they could skip work or school to attend the World Series Championship parade 48 hours later. Since hundreds of thousands of people were reporting this rare illness, the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment confirmed it existed with a photo of disease reports listing the symptoms of the "Blue Flu" with the only relief being a World Series win.
The health department capitalized on the excitement generated by the Royals' World Series win to educate the public (using humor) about an important function of local health departments -- tracking diseases in the community. Since it was also the start of flu season, the fictitious illness called the "Blue Flu" was timely. The post reached 146,070 people nationwide and received 5,975 likes, comments and shares.The post generated 67 new Facebook fans in one month -- a significant increase over the average of 17 new fans a month.
"Pretty Boys - A Public Service Announcement", City of West Hollywood, California
(Category: Outstanding Social Media Results) Leading up to a 2015 special municipal election in the City of West Hollywood, the City partnered with YouTube sensation Todrick Hall to create a catchy song and music video to encourage residents to vote. The tune, Pretty Boys, is a parody of the hit song Pretty Girls by Britney Spears and Iggy Azalea, and the video was targeted to younger people in West Hollywood who, statistically, are less likely to vote. The video features dancers, models, and local personalities who perform a dance routine in popular West Hollywood locations.
The City of West Hollywood has 34,399 residents, of which more than 25,000 are registered to vote. Prior to the special election, the City hoped to have a 12-15% voter turn-out, but the turn-out was much higher than expected with 20% of West Hollywood residents casing ballots. Due to the City’s efforts at marketing the video to the local community via distribution in bars and cafes, the video has over 1,320,000 views on YouTube, which means its reach far exceeded the intended audience and achieved “viral” status.
"Instagram Town Planner Cover Photo Contest", City of Elk Grove, California
(Category: Best Use of User Generated Content) The City of Elk Grove (CA) teamed up with the Town Planner Calendar to celebrate civic pride and launch an Instagram Cover Photo Contest encouraging residents to tag their best Instagram shots taken #InElkGrove with #EGTownPlanner16 to appear on the cover of the local Town Planner Calendar, a direct mail publication with 35,000+ circulation, and win $100. The contest ran from July 16-August 16, 2015 and utilized the City's web site and Instagram account. Promotion was limited to the City's Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter platforms.
In it's inaugural launch, the Instagram Cover Photo Contest generated 117 entries and resulted in a gain of 110 new followers to the City's Instagram account over the contest period. The editors of the Town Planner Calendar chose a winner and expanded their use of the images collected from the contest to include several others within the calendar. Releases from each submitter were secured to print the images for exhibit at the City's Art Americana festival in September 2015.
"#CopsLoveLemonadeStands", Palo Alto Police Department, California
(Category: Outstanding Social Media Results) We asked the public to let us know via social media whenever they saw a children's lemonade stand during the summer of 2015, and then we sent officers to patronize the stand. We took photos of our officers with smiling kids, and posted many pictures during the summer. We created #CopsLoveLemonadeStands, and encouraged other police agencies to join in. At a time when police/community relations were under the microscope, this campaign showed officers at their best and making a difference in the lives of young people everywhere.
The campaign was wildly successful. By the end of the summer, it had expanded to 69 police agencies in 23 states and 2 Canadian provinces. A search of the hashtag on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram shows how popular the campaign became. Media covered the campaign across the country on television, online, and in print. While cops visiting lemonade stands is nothing new, using social media to solicit visits and posting photos of those visits was a novel way to use social media and promote the good work officers were doing.
"Ohio BMV asks “What’s on Your Plate?", Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles
(Category: Best Use of User Generated Content) BMV has a campaign titled “What’s on Your Plate?” where special plate holders are encouraged on social media to submit a photo of them with their special plate and tell the story behind the plate. From the submissions a winner is chosen quarterly and featured on the BMV’s website, in a media release and on social media. Winners also receive a commemorative plate with the “What’s on Your Plate?” logo.
Throughout the campaign, the BMV received many submissions, were able to focus attention on the special plates program and received local media coverage of each winner. However, there were many submissions just sitting in a folder. As a result, the BMV created #whatsonyourplatewednesday to highlight one of the submissions each Wednesday and in turn promote the program and solicit new submissions.
"#OpenStreets FTL Photo Gallery", City of Fort Lauderdale, Florida
(Category: Best Use of User Generated Content) The City of Fort Lauderdale hosted its second Open Streets Fort Lauderdale event in November 2015. Using a variety of City communication tools prior to & during the event, including the Facebook event page, the City encouraged people to capture their special Open Streets moments & post photos to social media using #OpenStreetsFTL. Following the event, the City used hashtag search programs to locate & download photos with the hashtag to create an album that was posted to the City’s website. The link to the album was shared publicly.
This fun, engaging activity produced positive & impactful results. The City significantly elevated awareness/engagement for the event, incentivized people to share posts, increased subscribers on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram, and was able to gauge the type of content people liked based on likes/shares. The 2015 Facebook event page stats reflected more than 1K going/2.2K invited, up from 84 going/708 invited in 2014, due in part to this activity. The most rewarding outcome was receiving candid photos taken/posted by people wouldn’t have captured & building community through new “friends” & their memories.
"A Beenado on I-5", Washington State Department of Transportation
(Category: Social Media Crisis Communications) A bizarre rollover crash during a busy, sunny April AM commute spilled millions of bees onto a very busy section of I-5 just north of Seattle, blocking multiple lanes. The bees were flying inside cars, stinging people and created a huge distraction. While strange, the situation was dangerous to commuters. Balancing the seriousness & strangeness of the situation, WSDOT used Twitter & Facebook to urge drivers to use alternate routes, roll up their windows and prepare for significant traffic delays.
WSDOT established the hashtag #Beenado early in the incident and it trended nationally, allowing information to reach a huge audience. The story went national, an enormous amount of attention was paid to the @WSDOT_Traffic Twitter handle, which garnered more than 729K impressions that day. Our Facebook post had a record 292.6K people reached with more than 3,900 shares and hundreds of comments. And we saw a change in traffic patterns with many drivers avoiding the area, which was the ultimate goal.
Steven L. Abrams, Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners, Florida
(Category: Top Elected Official on Social Media) Commissioner Abrams is a prolific Facebook user. His messages range from quirky to serious, as he provides constituents with an “insider” take on issues, especially more obscure items, passing on timely information directly from meetings, local publications, or even internal memos. He also offers plenty of practical “news you can use” and is fond of seeking out local angles to national stories. Commissioner Abrams makes sure to use catchy headings and photos to draw interest. He is a model of how to effectively communicate on Facebook as an elected official.
"Kanye West Debt Free By 3122", Philadelphia Police Department, Pennsylvania
(Category: Best Use of Humor on Social Media) According to CNN coverage, "The Philadelphia Police Department tweeted an altered picture Thursday featuring the rapper's head atop a uniform, with an offer for West to join the force. The rapper recently tweeted that he is $53 million in debt. In addition to being a musical artist, he has a fashion line into which he says he has sunk a great deal of cash."
The Philadelphia PD elaborated in their Facebook post: "We're hiring Police Officers, and we did the math. With a starting salary of $47,920, Officer West could be completely debt-free by the year 3122! And that's only if he were never to receive a single raise! With a few promotions and cost of living increases, Yeezy could probably break even in a quick 500 years. Even if you're not Kanye, please consider a career as a Philly Police Officer. You could earn a great living, receive a fantastic benefits package for you and your family, and make a true difference in your community. You don't even need to download TIDAL to apply! Simply visit www.phillypolice.com/careers for more info"
"We Got Jokes!", Charleston County Park & Recreation Commission, South Carolina
(Category: Best Use of Humor on Social Media) Humor has always played a large role in our agency's social media personality, from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram. We are, after all, a park and recreation agency with a core value of delivering fun to our citizens and visitors. We hope that a dose of humor in our posts makes us memorable and increases engagement. We want to have fun with fans, tell the story of the natural and cultural history of our region, and take some calculated risks with the goal of bringing people to their parks.
Since we first ventured into the world of social media, we have placed two ideal values on our posts: fun and informative. The right combination of both over the years has proved to be very successful in not just attracting followers, but also inviting engagement. Some posts have been more well received than others, but as you'll see in the attached supporting file, we hit some right out of the park, creating engagement and making people laugh!
"#Becoyotesmart", City of Laguna Beach, California
(Category: Social Media Crisis Communications) In November 2015 when a coyote entered a resident’s home and snatched a Chihuahua from a room where a six-day old baby was asleep, public outrage was swift. The City of Laguna Beach reached out to residents in many ways, including a social media campaign #becoyotesmart – a series of tips about how to haze these skittish animals to discourage them from hanging out where humans live. This campaign was Laguna’s first; the precipitating event happened just as the City began to focus on its social media presence.
The campaign was effective because it empowered residents to protect themselves and their pets by teaching them to capitalize on coyotes’ natural inclination to avoid confrontation. The solution to a problem such as this one is complicated, and this campaign worked in tandem with other City and police department outreach efforts. In addition, by focusing on an issue front and center in the minds of our residents, this campaign brought attention, likes, shares, retweets, and comments to our fledging social media efforts.
"Love & Safety on the Highways", Washington State Department of Transportation
(Category: Best Use of Humor on Social Media) WSDOT has gained a reputation nationally for its use of humor to convey messages on social media. Using Valentine's-themed avatars, memes, a hashtag and Tweets, several WSDOT Twitter accounts used the Friday before the holiday to push safety messages out in a unique and creative way.
WSDOT has increased it's messaging efforts for safety on the highways. Communicators from several WSDOT offices began planning ideas, content & strategy 2 weeks prior. The effort resulted in a hugely popular response from Twitter followers as well as a story on Seattle TV station KOMO (ABC). In 29 total posts across 5 accounts, there were 252K total impressions, 6,500 total engagements, 722 likes, 346 Re-Tweets and 59 replies. The hashtag #TrafficLove trended in the Seattle area as well.
Timothy Martin, City of Roanoke, Virginia
(Category: Top Social Media Advocate in Government) Timothy Martin has transformed social media in Roanoke since joining the city in 2013. Roanoke’s main Facebook page now has a following of more than 60,000. The city’s population is just under 100,000. Internally, he’s created new policies and brought departments together. Last year, he launched Roanoke’s first ever social media center. He’s won seven national and regional awards related to social media. Externally, he's given countless hours to helping other social media managers across the country both online and in person.
"January 2016 Snowstorm/Blizzard", Maryland Emergency Management Agency
(Category: Social Media Crisis Communications) The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) took action on social media before, during and after the January 2016 snowstorm. They live streamed the State of Emergency declaration press conference via YouTube, sent preparedness tips to Facebook and Twitter every hour so residents could prepare accordingly, created and linked press releases to social media accounts to keep followers up-to-date, and answered almost every question/comment on social media to help residents understand the severity of the storm. Maryland was more prepared for this snowstorm than the one in 2010.
During January's blizzard, the Maryland Emergency Management Agency broke analytic data records. Their posts reached over a million accounts and they gained 3,500+ followers in just 5 days. It's the agency's most successful social media campaign ever. The info MEMA shared, including Governor Hogan's decision to close two major highways in one hour, media outlets announced live or shared it with their social media followers. Likewise, MEMA's followers passed the info to their family/friends. Overall, residents listened and shared info while staying safe.