Social Media Advertising for Gov Agencies & School Districts

Gilbert, AZ

Jennifer Alvarez, Digital Media & Marketing Manager


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How will Facebook’s new algorithm impact your agency’s ability to reach constituents with critical information?

Should your agency be boosting posts or running ads?

Jennifer Alvarez, Digital Media & Marketing Manager of Gilbert, AZ, explains why government agencies and school districts can’t afford NOT to advertise on social media. Hear Jennifer’s roadmap for getting started on social, plus how to prove the ROI of social advertising efforts.

Jennifer covers:

  1. How Facebook’s algorithm changes will impact government agencies’ ability to reach constituents.
  2. Finding the right ad platform for your agency.
  3. Showing the ROI of social media advertising and engagement.


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What is the strategy in having 25+ social media accounts for Gilbert?

The strategy is to be where our residents are…If our residents are using a certain platform, then we’re going to try it. Snapchat is a great example of that—we were one of the first to dive into that realm. And it’s had its ups and downs but, for example, we just held a student government day for the high school students at our town hall, and they were all on Snapchat. So if that’s the best way to reach the youth in our community, then we’re going to be there. However, social media is a 24/7 responsibility and we do try to limit the accounts that we have here. We don’t want add any more accounts than we absolutely have to. 27 is a good number for us and I don’t see us expanding that any more.

Your town is about 250,000 people. What is your social media budget, and what would be a reasonable amount for smaller towns?

We started small. When we were diving into social media ads, we requested $25 a month on Twitter, $70 a month on Facebook, and $25 a month on Instagram. So about $120 a month for that first budget cycle. That has since grown, and obviously with these Facebook changes we’re going to apply a little bit more as we move forward. But we’ve really worked on transitioning our budgets from traditional marketing forms, because they are so expensive, into digital and social media ads. We’ve also encouraged other departments and divisions to move their traditional marketing efforts digitally as well so they can get more visibility and understand their return on investment. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to budgets, I think start with what you can, and then grow from there.

How do you encourage your non-communication staff to send you content for sharing online?

We’ve had very supportive leadership that has helped us build a culture of social media. It has to start from the top and work its way down. As soon as your colleagues see what you’re doing, how you’re using their content, and how their content is helping tell their story, they open up and send you more and more. For example, our city engineers are doing these major construction projects across our community that a lot of people don’t even see, so we posted a video one of the engineers sent sharing what they’re doing. We want to make sure we’re telling their story because it also tells the story of our growth. It’s taken a little while, but everyone is really going the extra mile now. But it must start with your leadership team and making sure they understand the importance of it, then showing your team how and why it’s valuable for their story to be told.

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