Hoping to reach a wider audience that may not be currently connecting with the City of Beaufort, city leaders are launching a City Hall Facebook page. Called City Beaufort SC, the official Beaufort City Hall Facebook page includes regular updates about upcoming meetings and events, topical news and requests for help, such as volunteers serving on various boards and commissions.
“We did a small survey a few months ago and we found that, of the people responding, most were over 50 and got their news from a printed newspaper,” said Bill Prokop, director of human resources for the city.
“We need to find ways to connect effectively with younger residents, the people who can’t make it to City Council meetings because they’re working, or at home helping their kids with homework, or taking their kids to the soccer or baseball fields. Using social media is one way to connect with them,” he said.
The City of Beaufort fire and police departments have been using Facebook for more than a year to share information. Police Chief Matt Clancy said Facebook followers have helped solve numerous crimes by recognizing suspects from surveillance images shared on Facebook.
“For us, it’s an incredible way to share information very quickly and to reach out to ask people to help,” Clancy said. “I’m sure the City Hall Facebook page will be just as effective.”
In coming months, the city will also join the crowds on Twitter and Instagram.
The City Beaufort SC Facebook page includes regular updates about upcoming meetings, ways to learn more about specific issues, and links to stories and news releases about Beaufort.
“We want our Facebook page to be an interactive community, where we share information from City Hall and people can learn and ask questions,” Prokop said. “We have a lot happening in the City that we need people to be aware of, including the Boundary Street Corridor project, economic redevelopment issues, budget concerns and parking.
“Using social media is just one more tool in our communications toolbox,” he said. “The city’s website (www.cityofbeaufort.org) is still our primary online presence where we share documents, agendas, minutes and all sorts of detailed reports.
We are working to make the website more interactive, too, so that people can search for specific information or even create their own financial reports.”