The City of Hallandale Beach is a local municipality of Broward County, Florida. As with many local municipalities, building an online presence critical for citizen engagement. Recognizing the value of digital content over print, local governments are benefitting by building engagement and properly measuring their advertising awareness efforts. In collaboration with the City of Hallandale Beach Innovation Technology Department, the team was successfully able to increase online engagement as well as boost physical participation. The local municipality’s department and director’s participation in these new practices is crucial towards success as a whole. Event attendance has increased by more than three times, in certain cases, from what the City has experienced previously. Events boosted via digital media ranged from Commission meetings to community focused entertainment and commemorative events.
Like many cities, the objective is to connect with local constituents and stakeholders, while increasing awareness towards programs, events, services, and many other benefits that governments offer.
- Hallandale Beach residents
- Hallandale Beach business owners
- Neighboring cities
By starting a dialogue between locals, the residents have a voice to share their thoughts, and participate on all levels. While communication is a priority, social media penetration is also a goal so that messages reach as far and wide as possible.
Design Moves LLC worked with the City of Hallandale Beach to develop a Social Media Strategy. Regards to its content strategy, the mission was to increase overall program and service awareness throughout the year including event reminders of all kinds. As priorities were added, they were placed on top of the posting strategy. For events, there were several event reminder videos, pre-recorded and professionally edited, interviews, and visual reminders of the events. The events were also designated as an “event” on Facebook so that viewers had the ability to select whether they could attend. Making sure that all comments and questions were answered appropriately, visitors of the City’s official social media accounts knew that the City was also accountable for their digital presence. For larger events, press releases were published as well as reaching out to local news sources to let them know that there were specific events happening beforehand. Optimizing Facebook ads was also a service provided to get the most bang for the buck and optimize awareness.
Foot traffic and attendance at events was up in most cases and is now above 300% since last year. Residents and business owners are now more aware of what is happening locally as well as tourists that visit and want to see what the city has to offer. The local community is much more willing to work together knowing that the city cares about its citizens and is willing to go the extra mile to keep everyone informed. Being able to also reach a younger demographic, kids and teenagers also get to learn about the opportunities that the City has to offer.
- The largest yearly event was the Back2School Bash, assisting students getting ready for school. Originally about 50 residents participated, and this year over 300 students and residents were in attendance.
- For the Holiday Lighting event, last year’s attendance was on average 100. This year the attendance was over 500.
Success was measured using physical foot traffic, as well as commentary by residents hearing about events they did not know about before through new or different channels. Using social media and digital practices, The City of Hallandale Beach is has opened several new channels to communicate with tools many residents already prefer. Keeping up with resident’s preferences, we can communicate on their level.
Digital outreach must be ongoing for residents to stay engaged. Alongside the plan implemented above, the City of Hallandale Beach has implemented Facebook live streaming with guest interviews letting the people know what is happening with the city’s current affairs. Right after Hurricane Irma, the City had a great idea to implement videos in other primary non-English speaking languages, to support the underserved communities from which were fully supported and promoted. “When residents realize that their local municipality is listening to their feedback and engaging, they support the establishment much more, feeling part of a group.” –Larissa Castelluber
Without participation of all stakeholders, it becomes difficult to implement new programs. Creating fewer barriers for innovation allows progress in all areas.