I noticed on Twitter last week that in Granada* the police officers have the force Twitter handle sewn into their uniforms and it’s also on police cars.
— Helen Reynolds (@HelReynolds) June 25, 2013
It’s a simple and effective way to promote the force’s presence on Twitter.
Here are three reasons I think it’s a brilliant thing to do:
It demonstrates openness
A sewn-in Twitter handle pretty much shouts: ‘We want to hear from you!’ Not: ‘Please don’t get in touch unless we deem it to be an important issue’.
The latter can often be the tone set by public service organisations who fear ‘the people’ will waste their time.
Building trust with the community is an important part of effective policing and engaging on social media can really help organisations to become relevant, informed and trusted.
It legitimises social media
Reminding everybody of the force Twitter handle shows a police force prepared to use Twitter as a channel for communication – customer service, feedback, complaints, engagement, co-production of services – whatever people want from their police. It’s also for marketing and PR but it’s not just about that.
The plus side of the high visibility is that many officers who may have been reluctant to tweet may have a go now they see it’s a tool that’s been sanctioned by their organisation.
It shows that simple is often best
Organisations should experiment with new ways to share contact details and spread messages but sometimes expensive newsletters, Pinterest boards or even email signatures just don’t cut it – there is no more visible place than on an officers uniform and car.
Granada police have Twitter handles on their patrol cars too. Mayor wants government more accessible & accountable pic.twitter.com/7geLHYGmdF
— Gordon MacMillan (@gordonmacmillan) June 24, 2013
I remember being told on my trip to Granada a few years ago that it was the Mayor who had made it so that every beer or wine there comes with free tapas. I thought that Mayor was awesome then and this has just reinforced that.
*CORRECTION: Jun is a place nearby Granada, not Granada itself:
— Crisis Social Media (@CrisisSocMedia) March 15, 2014