Hiring of a chief digital officer in June
A position was created to lead the social media and digital communications strategies of the City. Chief Digital Officer Julia Thompson works closely with the Public Information Office and marketing specialists across the City.
Social content and collaboration
The quality of posts and optimization for each social media platform have been strengthened by enhanced communication and planning. Social media leads for each department meet weekly to brainstorm and collaborate on campaigns and day-to-day digital communication with residents. The Imagine Mesa campaign kicked off enhanced digital-engagement collaboration among City departments as every department shared messaging on social media related to the campaign. Departments are consistently creating more quality social-media videos and visuals on their own and in collaboration with Channel 11 to get messaging in front of more residents and engage them more effectively. In January 2018 alone, Facebook posts across City pages had 4.7 million impressions.
Tools, training and culture
The City licensed Falcon.io, a social media collaboration, planning and analytics tool, to help staff more effectively use social media, analyze efforts and adjust strategies and tactics accordingly. In addition to training related to this new system, social media leads and marketing specialists for each department have gone through a day-long social media summit to improve their execution of social media content, posts, communication with users public forums and other tactics. Training for this group is ongoing.
In its continuing effort to create a culture that supports digital engagement, the City of Mesa recognized individual and department efforts in social media in its first-ever social media awards in December 2017.
Increase in number of social media followers
Since January, staff have worked diligently to grow followers to the main City of Mesa social media channels, focusing initially on Facebook. From March 2017 to January 2018, the number of people who like the City of Mesa’s main Facebook page grew 93% (from 8,495 to 16,381). In that same time period, likes on Phoenix’s city Facebook page grew 37% and Gilbert’s Facebook page grew 32%.
Other Valley city data was unavailable for the above time period. Facebook likes on neighbor municipal pages as of Jan. 31 are as follows:
- Phoenix: 19,422
- Gilbert: 16,741
- Mesa: 16,381
- Chandler: 12,157
- Tempe: 11,250
- Scottsdale: 3,350
Imagine Mesa, a digital forum to engage Mesa residents, businesses and visitors to share their ideas for shaping Mesa’s future, ran July-October 2017. It was designed to inspire idea generation and conversations among participants in an effort to provide feedback to City leaders on community priorities.
By the numbers:
- 67,111 visitors to ImagineMesa.com
- 10,113 active participants
- 465 ideas submitted
- 137 City social media posts that showed up in 238,000 social media feeds
- 4,872 new followers on main City social media channels since campaign kick-off
An Imagine Mesa Advisory Committee evaluated and prioritized user-submitted ideas and made recommendations to the City Council. Council and staff are now exploring additional cost and feasibility measures.
The City of Mesa soft launched a Spanish-language Facebook page in January 2018 for citywide information to be distributed in Spanish and bilingually to Mesa’s Hispanic, Spanish speaking and bilingual residents; 28.1% of Mesa’s population is Hispanic. A staff team of Spanish speakers and marketing specialists has been formed to run this new communication portal and to create and translate resident communication from all City departments.
In 2018, the City will work to grow its following, reach, and engagement across other platforms beyond Facebook, including Twitter, Instagram, NextDoor and YouTube. Efforts will continue to enhance the quality of communication the City has with residents on digital platforms and the way information is disseminated. Social media campaigns that highlight various departments and City initiatives are planned throughout 2018.
Open Data Enhancement
Council approved a contract with Socrata on November 20, 2017 to upgrade the City’s Open Data Portal. Socrata will work closely with City staff to convert the existing portal to their platform by April 2018. In 2017 the open data portal had 70,824 views and 7,365 unique visitors. The top five dashborads, visualizations, and datasets were:
The City recently created the Data Governance Administrator role housed in the Office of Management and Budget to oversee the open data portal and set standards for City of Mesa data. This role will collaborate with the Chief Digital Officer to increase the use and adoption of the City’s portal.