Hiring a quality communications team is an imperative for businesses in the private sector today. Marketing effectively and managing a company’s presence in advertising and social media are absolutely crucial for success.
However, that is not always mirrored in the public sector. Local governments, which are not dependent on the whims of the market for success, do not always place as a high a priority on their communications efforts. Still, some government agencies in the U.S. are taking steps to change this, believing that appropriately communicating agency activities in mediums that the public actually use will better engage citizens with their governments and help them to understand how their tax dollars are being spent.
Rick Cole, city manager in Santa Monica, California, has made developing a quality communications team one of the primary focuses of the Santa Monica City Council. Last Tuesday, the council took action to improve the Community and Government Relations Unit at City Hall.
$549,649 was allocated for 2015-2016 with the intent of hiring several new communications experts to work for the city. These include positions like Cable Television Manager, Marketing Communications Assistant, Senior Marketing Manager, Public Information Officer, and a graphic designer.
According to Cole, this is all about taking steps to communicate with a more diverse audience of residents young and old and opening up a two way street between the government and the community.
“We live in an Internet time,” he said. “A part of the two-way communication is the ability to respond.” Cole has advocated using tools like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and other social media platforms to better communicate with residents in Santa Monica.
In Santa Monica, the public is invited to speak at a variety of different city council meetings, but by reaching out to citizens on the platforms they prefer to communicate on, the council of Santa Monica will be doing more to communicate with their constituents than just inviting them to meetings.