Queensland Police Helps Us Stay Above Water

Hello everyone and welcome back for 2011! It has been a while but it’s great to be back into the swing of things here at Traffika. There have been so many exciting things keeping us busy and we’re all really pumped for a huge year.

I hope everyone has stayed safe over what has been at times a frightening holiday period, especially for us here in Queensland. The thoughts of everyone at Traffika are with the families affected by the devastation that has hit our region over the past couple of months.

What has been fascinating for me is the role that social media has played during the Brisbane flood crisis and, just this week, during  Tropical Cyclone Yasi up north. While social media services seem to be copping some blame for the riots and protests overseas, I think it’s vital that we also recognise where it has helped bring awareness and safety in times of emergency.

So, for this week’s Thumbs Up Award, I want to take a look at what has  been the most prolific social media service here in Queensland over this disaster season, the Facebook and Twitter profiles of the Queensland Police Service.

Why It Works
In times of crisis, people need information. It gives us security. And the recent events in Brisbane and North Queensland have created a market which demands timely, relevant information that is accessible anywhere. TV and newspapers can’t offer this, and radio can but only to a limited extent.

The perfect channel really is social media. It’s extremely immediate, uncluttered, and you can engage it with questions that are specifically relative to your situation.

For a government service like the Queensland Police Media to step up to this situation and provide such a useful feed of information is brilliant. No PR-filtered press releases, just relevant, humanised messages delivered fast to a highly engaged market.

But they haven’t stopped there. The QPS is monitoring each comment from the public and stepping in to help out where needed. This is where the value is really delivered to the fans, through quality engagement and hands-on assistance.

The Queensland Police Service Facebook page had a 1,039% increase in fans during the Brisbane Floods in January, and is currently seeing another jump in fans due to the information it has been providing on Cyclone Yasi.
How? By publishing the right content to the right people through the right channel.

As a bit of a comparison (and because I love comparisons), I thought I’d overlay the Courier Mail’s Facebook fan growth for the same period.

What a difference! The Courier Mail’s fanbase grew by just 40% during the Brisbane Floods. This isn’t to say that the Courier Mail did a worse job than the QPS, as the newpaper had a lot more stories to cover across a broader range of topics. What it does show, however, is the effect of providing relevant, on-topic content to a market in need, versus more general content to a broader market.

Ideas You Can Use
Have a think about your clients. Are they in crisis? Probably not, but you can still apply the same principles.

  • First: What do they need that your business can provide? How can you help them? This will form your message.
  • Second: Where does your audience get their information? Are they consumers on Facebook or Businessmen/women on Twitter or LinkedIn? This is your medium.
  • Third: (the easiest one) Who are your customers? This is your market.

Getting all of these aspects aligned provides the basis for your social media strategy, and it’s something that the Queensland Police Media team have achieved with absolute precision.

So this week we’re proud to announce them the winners of the Traffika Social Media Award. Well, done guys and keep up the great work. We are all very grateful.

Have you seen any great examples of social media use during natural disasters? Let us know! We’d love to hear from you. Alternatively you cantweet or Facebook me anytime.

Chris is a specialist in Social Media Marketing at TraffikaFollow him on Twitter @chrispahor.

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