Social media drives home message for parks and recreation departments (with related video)
Parks and recreation departments are staying connected with their customers through Facebook, blogs, Twitter and other social media. They are using those tools to spread the word about programs and activities.
The Great Rivers Greenway district in St. Louis, Mo., relies on several social media tools, says Danni Eickenhorst, the district’s communications manager. “We are using Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest primarily. We do use YouTube some and are venturing into Google Plus, but not with great zeal just yet.”
The key to the district’s content is twofold, says Eickenhorst:
1. Messaging, and
“We have very clear messaging that we develop all of our content from,” says Eickenhorst.
She adds that blogging is important. “We have two blogs that I run as part of our communications effort. The first is our news module here and the other is at this site. I put general news and media releases on the main site, and more community-focused, human-interest stories on the other.”
Visitors to the district’s sites can expect to see plenty of news, says the Great Rivers Greenway communications manager. “I am working to ensure that our audience is conditioned to see our website as the one sure place to find news on what we’re doing. In this way, we can share other bits of information with them when they come to read more. “We cross copy and back link many of our articles to other sites to drive traffic to our website – such as Patch.com as well. We support it with a twice-monthly e-newsletter that drives traffic back to the site.”
The district develops its contact lists in a couple of ways, says Eickenhorst. “We drive newsletter subscribers by working special events and signing them up for our newsletter in exchange for schwag (free promotional items). We also get subscribers through our social media efforts.”
Planning content on the district’s social media channels is crucial, says Eickenhorst. “Our last and most important strategy is a content calendar — a clear focus and the same message on each and every channel. Each month, we have a focus and with that focus we have graphics across all channels with that message, and supportive articles, and we look the same everywhere we go.”
The purpose of the Great Rivers Greenway District is to make the St. Louis region a better place to live, by creating a clean, green and connected region. In the year 2000, the people of the greater St. Louis area voted to create the Great Rivers Greenway District.
Part 1 in this series, with social media pointers from the Marin County Department of Parks and the state of Oregon’s Parks and Recreation Department, is here.
This video highlights the ribbon-cutting ceremony when Great Rivers Greenway opened the Wayne Goode Trail, which connects St. Vincent Greenway to the Ted Jones Trail. The new trail gives the community direct access to the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus.