How The Police Use Social Media For Brand Reputation (And How You Can, Too)

How The Police Use Social Media For Brand Reputation (And How You Can, Too)

Regular B&T poster, Shout! Web Strategy’s Michael Jenkins (pictured below), is back with his latest column. This time around he says brands can learn a lot from the masters of social media – the police and crime alerts

Last week was a big week for social media and police scandal.

First we heard about chaos at LA airport that struck when panicked travellers took to social media with unsubstantiated reports that a gunman was on the loose.

Michael-Jenkins-750x500The shooting scare led to major flight delays and terminals in lockdown, amplified by word-of-mouth and social media. It was the worst security disruption in nearly three years at the second-busiest airport in the US.

A police spokesperson said “It was a dynamic situation and it’s unpredictable to know what citizens will do,” he was referring to the situation at hand, however the comment also applies to the social media chatter and serves as a reminder that even the police cant police the Twittersphere.

Next up Chris Brown made headlines again, posting videos to social media during a standoff with police for allegedly assaulting an American beauty queen.  The outcome will be heard in court later this month

We know that social media is prevalent in all walks of life, but how do the police use social media these days to help communicate their messages?

Predicting crime

While criminals may not be silly enough to publicly promote their crime, certain buzzwords that are used across social media can help point police in the direction of would-be crime.  Words like that imply drunkardness and house parties can tip the police off.

Lost & Found

The immediacy of social media allows the police to spread a message quickly, far and wide.  The police twitter feeds often serve as live updates for the newsdesk too.  Cases like the recent Victorian Tromp family mystery as case in point.

Amber Alert

There is no doubt that social media has changed missing children searches – for the better. Given the sensitivities, there are many hard and fast rules when using social media to locate missing children; in particular ensuring Amber Alerts form part of the investigative strategy to safely recover the child. Whilst much of the focus in these situations can be around the search itself, police experts work hard to ensure that post search all information and images are deleted as far as is possible – an art in itself.

Gain respect and scale in community

No one does it better than Queensland Police.  The guys up north have become well known for their fun, informative and community engaging social posts.  Now with almost 800K ‘likes’ on Facebook alone, this smart crew used humour, like Dad jokes, to drive a huge social media following, which now works in their favour when they have community messages they need to get out there fast – think the Brisbane floods or missing children.  Queensland Police are leading the way with delivering community messaging the modern way.

​In crisis, disaster or emergency situations, every organisation falls under the microscope of public and media scrutiny. Social media is an incredibly useful tool for businesses to help manage their reputation during challenging times.


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