Appleton's social media accounts engage people with their local government

APPLETON, Wi. (WBAY) - Every day social media is used by millions of people, organizations, and even the sitting president. Now local governments are using it to their benefit as well.

Appleton’s Communications Coordinator Chad Doran spends a lot of time on social media. The City’s Facebook account alone has more than 12,000 followers.

“It’s become kind of that frontline customer service for local government these days really,” said Doran.

But the social media platform isn’t just about answering people’s questions, it’s also about connecting with them, one gif at a time.

“By sharing humor and having fun with the community that really brings more people to our pages, and then when we do have that important information they’re there to hear that as well,” said Doran. “So that’s one of the benefits of being social with them on social media.”

Appleton City Hall’s push to get more people to engage through social media seems to be working. Their weekly “What’s Your Question Wednesday” post consistently gets hundreds of comments.

“The questions just kind of run the complete gambit from silly to serious and beyond,” said Doran. “We have fun with it, and the community has fun with it, and that builds our audience as well.”

Doran thinks that fun is key to their social media success.

“I think a lot of governments maybe take it too seriously, and they don’t get enough into that feedback, that two-way communication side of things,” said Doran.

That communication is just as important for city staff as it is for the community.

“It helps us follow trends, it helps us follow concerns people have,” said Doran.

Those concerns can then be addressed without anyone stepping foot in city hall.

“Social media has really evolved local government in general,” said Doran. “I think there is an expectation that local government is on social media.”

In Doran’s experience, that isn’t a bad thing. If anything, he believes it has gotten more people involved with their local government.

“The more engaging you are there [on social media], the better off your community will be,” said Doran.