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All things special district and technology related

Why Relying Solely on Facebook can be Problematic

on February 28, 2023 By | Annelise Spargo | 0 Comments | Marketing
Every day we talk to districts across the country that use Facebook as their primary (and often only) online presence.  We get it, Facebook is easy to set up, easy to manage, and easy to share updates. While Facebook can have many benefits, relying solely on a social media platform can create several issues for districts and their constituents. Let's check out 3 things to consider when using Facebook as the primary online presence: 1. Not everyone has a Facebook account. According to a 2021 survey by the Pew Research Center, only 69% of American adults use Facebook, and the number of users is decreasing daily. This means that by relying solely on Facebook, districts are excluding a significant portion of their constituents from accessing important information and updates.  Additionally, even for those who do have a Facebook account, it can be challenging to navigate and find the information they need. Facebook’s algorithm typically prioritizes content based on engagement, which means that important updates from local governments can easily get lost in users’ newsfeeds. This can create a situation where crucial information is missed by residents, leading to confusion and frustration. 2. Facebook is not a reliable source of information. Facebook’s terms of service state that the company cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information shared on its platform. This means that districts run the risk of sharing inaccurate information, which can have serious consequences for their constituents and impact the credibility of the district. Or in a worst-case scenario, one port district in California was shocked to find out that a Facebook page with their name on it was posting about a beer festival. After some investigating, they determined that a resident created a false Facebook page and was posting updates as the district, but the community had no way of knowing that it was a fake account.  3. Relying on Facebook can lead to issues with transparency and accountability. Unlike a government website, which is owned and managed by the government itself, Facebook is a third-party platform. This means that districts have less control over how their information is presented and shared. Additionally, Facebook’s algorithm determines which posts are shown to users, which can create a situation where important updates are not seen by residents. If the community can’t see it, they won’t know you’re doing it. And because Facebook is a social media platform, there is nowhere to reliably share important documents like agendas, minutes, and budgets - all of which are crucial in building trust and credibility with the community.  Instead of relying on Facebook alone, districts should focus on building a robust online presence that includes a website, social media platforms, and other digital channels that are accessible to all community members. Stay tuned for the next iteration of our Facebook series where we cover best practices for using Facebook effectively.  Sources:     1    Perrin, A. (2021, April 7). Social Media Fact Sheet. Pew Research Center.     2    Facebook Terms of Service.
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How this district’s newsletter went from bust to boom

on June 9, 2022 By | Annelise Spargo | 0 Comments | Marketing
We’ve heard from a lot of districts that using email to better communicate with the community is a priority, but they just don’t know where to get started. How do you find email addresses and what do you include in the email?
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3 Districts Getting Community Engagement Right

As a special district, how do you combat the often-heard sentiment, "They just don’t do that much..."?  While your district may not be directly competing with anyone, keeping your community informed ensures everyone knows the value you are providing.
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Learning From Florida's Bid to Dissolve Conservation Districts

on March 3, 2022 By | Annelise Spargo | 0 Comments | Marketing Special district love
Late last year, a bill was filed in the Florida Legislature to dissolve all of the state's 58 Soil and Water Conservation Districts. 
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Stunning free images hand selected for special district websites

on August 26, 2021 By | Annelise Spargo | 0 Comments | Website best practices Marketing
Images are arguably the most powerful part of your special district website. Your audience is naturally drawn to view them first, and when done right, they leave a lasting impression.
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Small but mighty fire district excels at community engagement

on October 28, 2020 By | Sloane Dell'Orto | 0 Comments | Marketing Streamline in action
Jackie Vaughn has been serving the Lockwood Fire Protection District, in the tiny town of Volcano, California, for more than 20 years.
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Polk County Fire #1 combines guerrilla marketing with online tools

on May 18, 2020 By | Sloane Dell'Orto | 0 Comments | Marketing Crisis communication
One of our favorite customers (ok, you’re all our faves, of course) reached out with an amazing guerrilla marketing story: Fire chief Ben Stange of Polk County Fire #1 decided to purchase a few hundred yard signs for his community that read, “Stay Home. Save Lives.” He knew this was a chance for his department to stay visible and connect with the community during a time when people were feeling really isolated. But how to distribute them during Oregon’s stay at home order?
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What's a billboard got to do with it?

on October 28, 2019 By | Sloane Dell'Orto | 0 Comments | Website best practices Marketing
I know, I know … the majority of special districts aren’t spending money on billboard advertising. So why am I writing about billboards? Our online attention span is now hovering around 6 to 8 seconds, and that just happens to be the amount of time a driver has to process the information on a billboard while driving down the freeway. People have been studying the effectiveness of billboard advertising for much longer than the internet has been around - so if you’re trying to get the attention your district deserves, these takeaways can be really helpful.
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The importance of getting the positive attention your district deserves

on October 7, 2019 By | Sloane Dell'Orto | 0 Comments | Website best practices Marketing
[This is the first of a series of posts on the subject.] We often speak with folks at special districts who feel that “promoting” the district (whether via a website, social media, or other means) is unnecessary because - and this is a direct quote: “We aren’t competing with anyone.” Nothing could be further from the truth! Educating the public about the important work your district does is vital for a number of reasons.
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