TGSMA: Social Media Tips from TDA

The Texas Government Social Media Alliance, organized through a LinkedIn membership group, provides a platform for Texas government communication professionals to share best practices and collaborate on issues relating to social media.Texas Government Social Media Alliance logo

The Texas Department of Agriculture, in addition to its main web presence, communicates through several channels, including Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, YouTube, and an RSS feed. A blog is included on the main website that replaces an earlier effort.

On February 28, 2014, TGSMA met and heard from social media experts at the Texas Department of Agriculture — Lindsey Pope, Rachael Pierce, and Earl Lundquist — how they create, organize, and disseminate content. Highlights of their presentation:

Their social media team meets regularly to brainstorm and plan. Brainstorming includes a review of what the agency is currently emphasizing, what’s happening of interest to the agency’s consumers, and other items of interest, with a conscious effort to keep the subjects covered diverse and timely. Ideas are then vetted for relevance and interest, as well as how they may fit into timelines for larger projects. A strategy is developed to coordinate and maximize the reach and value.

What are some reasons the agency would post a given item?

  • Inform the public about what the agency does and why
  • Spread the word about specific programs
  • Focus the conversation on timely items
  • Continue a useful conversation
  • Provide information that is valuable to a broad audience

The speakers told us that they see three main types of people in the social media audience:

  • Seekers. These are people who are searching for information on specific topics
  • Amplifiers. These are people who have an area or areas of specific interest and like to aggregate information to share with a wider audience
  • Joiners. These are people who have found value in the agency’s offerings and subscribe, like, or follow on their channels of choice.

The challenge is to provide content types that are of value to each of these users. TDA’s range of content types includes:

  • Press releases, videos, photos, blog posts
  • One-off items, recurring (e.g. monthly columns), stories
  • Items for professionals, industry, and consumers
  • Humorous and historical/nostalgic items
  • Agency created items that have not seen wide distribution
An example of a TDA Facebook posting:

Key takeaways:

  1. build a post around a theme or interest, not an individual, and
  2. take full advantage of metrics.

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