Social Spotlight is a feature where we highlight and analyze social media campaigns and/or accounts that are doing things right.
With the evolution of communication technology, people and organizations who interface with the public are forced to evolve as well, in order to keep up and keep in touch with them. Some adapt better than others, and the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary‘s team of Social Media Officers are some of the best.
At the time of this writing, the RNC’s Twitter account sits at over 25,500 followers, and over 20,000 people like their Facebook page. That’s a lot of reach for the long arm of the law.
The RNC’s focus with their social media presence is to bolster community engagement, and to humanize the police force that we trust to protect us every day. As civilians we often see police officers as just a badge and a gun, but following them (pun intended) gives the public a peek into their daily duties, responsibilities, and efforts toward keeping us safe.
The constabulary began their foray into social media by posting traffic advisories, but have since grown to include moose sightings, road conditions, local interest stories, profiles of officers, news, advice on remaining safe, occasional hijinks, and much more.
Some of their updates have caught the attention of news outlets in the US, and even @Disneyland on Twitter.
— RNC (@RNC_PoliceNL) November 5, 2015
And so far, it’s working. According to Cst. Geoffrey Higdon…
… approximately 95 per cent of crimes posted to the RNC’s Facebook page have been solved, thanks in part to the 16,000 people who like and share content from the page.
As the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary is a province-wide police force, there are Social Media Officers covering the island and the mainland. In the communities where there is not dedicated social media personnel, the RNC works with other law enforcement agencies to obtain accurate news, information, and photos, and which they then share online.
There have always been other systems in place to serve a similar purpose, such as the public’s ability to call Crime Stoppers to report suspected criminal activity, but as I mentioned, with the evolution of communication, so too must we evolve. Allowing people to report crimes and criminal sightings via social media dramatically increases the chances of criminals being apprehended. You could say that the new way of the public being able to assist the police is the same, but different.
— RNC (@RNC_PoliceNL) July 22, 2015
As one might expect, the antics of the RNC are not as well received by some people as they are by others. Some people have become quite vocal on the internet about taxpayer dollars being wasted on tomfoolery. The police force have done things like arresting local meteorologists for inclement weather conditions, and issuing arrest reports for Doc Brown and Marty McFly on Back to the Future Day. The people behind these social media accounts know that they won’t be able to please everybody, but they do their best to keep the public’s best interest in mind, and improve their strategies online as best they can based on feedback.
— RNC (@RNC_PoliceNL) October 21, 2015
Companies and organizations really need to develop a good personality online. Doing so humanizes the people involved, and gives the organization a voice with which they can speak to their constituents.
In my opinion, as a civilian and as a social media expert, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary is doing a fantastic job with their social media campaigns, and I can’t wait to see what they do next.
Thanks so much to Cst. Cody Dunphy for sitting down with us to discuss their efforts online, and to the rest of the force from St. John’s to Corner Brook to Labrador City for protecting us every day.