In her Member to Member column in the December 2014 issue of Parks & Recreation Magazine, Linda Oakleaf, Ph.D., provides the “why” and “how” for using Twitter to help your park and recreation agency achieve more visibility and build relationships. Here, she provides some additional inspiration that can help you tweet like a pro!
Twitter can be a terrific tool for engaging park users and promoting programs and facilities. If you find that you are stuck for ideas, it can be helpful to take a look at what other organizations are doing.
Here are 10 different examples of innovative ways that park and recreation agencies are using Twitter.
1. St. Paul Parks and Recreation tweets mostly pictures and videos, and uses them to reinforce their message.
2. You can use Twitter to respond directly to participants’ concerns, ideas, and compliments. Boulder Parks and Recreation is using Twitter to do exactly that.
3. Gilbert Parks and Recreation uses Twitter to drive people to their 5K registration website. Note that they included an adorable picture in their post!
4. The Chicago Park District regularly uses hashtags (a word preceded by the pound sign that becomes a clickable link to every tweet that uses the same hashtag) with event names and park names.
5. Plan regular posts that are whimsical or topical. In this post, the City of Kansas City, Missouri Parks and Recreation honors veterans with their #TBT post (Throwback Thursday).
6. Oregon State Parks provided some timely information, which encourages people to retweet and favorite content. This is a great way to attract new followers.
Tips for hiking in autumn weather http://t.co/BxIwlCl5ot— Oregon State Parks (@ORStateParks) November 6, 2014
7. Think about how your page looks to visitors. Use a striking cover photo like this one from Congaree National Park.
8. New York City Department of Parks and Recreation is using Twitter to recruit volunteers. The stronger your base of followers, the more effective this strategy will be. Retweets spread the word farther, so make your appeal more attractive with a picture.
9. Strategically integrate your Twitter strategy with your other social media efforts. Here, L.A. County Parks features a fun picture with a link to their Instagram account.
10. Twitter accounts often adopt a playful, more personal tone. Looks like the folks at King County parks are pretty excited about their new bathrooms.
New restroom going in at Ravensdale Park to support the 2 new multi-use synthetic ballfields. Yeah, that's happening pic.twitter.com/Z0DGoohYHB— King County Parks (@iheartkcparks) November 10, 2014
This has been just a small selection of the many park and recreation agencies that are doing a great job on Twitter.
What are your suggestions and ideas? What has worked for your agency and what didn’t seem to work? Tell us in the comments below or share a link to Twitter accounts you think recreation professionals should follow. Give us more examples of agencies doing great work. We can’t wait to hear your ideas!
Linda Oakleaf, Ph.D., is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Leisure, Sport and Tourism Studies program at Middle Tennessee State University. Follow her @parks_and_rec and follow us @NRPA_News and Parks & Recreation Magazine @ParksRecMag.