This article appeared in the May 2018 issue of the Georgia's Cities newspaper.
It all started with a Snow Day Photo Contest. In January, the city of Jesup saw its first snow day in 30 years, and City Clerk and Treasurer Rose Marcus-Jackson knew that was the perfect time to engage residents and encourage them to show off their photography skills.
The winning Snow Day Photo Contest entry received 3,500 likes in Jesup’s Facebook games.
Marcus-Jackson posted contest rules to the city’s Facebook page and more than 67 photo entries rolled in. From there, Facebook users liked their favorite photo and the page’s followers grew.
This contest created a trend for the city, and now games and giveaways are offered frequently.
“Each time we receive 500 new Facebook likes we play a new game on our page and give away prizes.”
In addition to the online giveaways, Jesup’s “In Action” Committee, a volunteer group formed by Commissioner Shirlene Armstrong, facilitates “online bingo.” “The first time we played Online Bingo, about 100 people participated. Currently, approximately 50 people join us each month. Although some of them don’t actually play, they thoroughly enjoy watching our Facebook Live video,” said Marcus-Jackson.
While increased citizen engagement and information sharing were the initial goals, these Facebook games have created a greater sense of community and awareness for Jesup.
“Now Facebook users are informed about Jesup,” said Marcus-Jackson. “They are reminded that all of our monthly council meetings are open to the public, which builds their confidence in our city government. And, when they see how much we care about this community, it encourages them to get more involved.”
For cities looking to introduce more tools into their social media strategy, Marcus-Jackson recommends creativity and consistency.
“Put information on your Facebook page regularly so people can rely on your recent posts being up-to-date, make sure your content is interesting for all ages and reply to your inbox messages promptly,” she said.