Social Media for the City of Philadelphia: An Interview with Elly(n) Avila, @EonAvila

Elly Avila, Business Analyst, City of Philadelphia, Office of Property Data recently offered some insights on how she uses social media to connect with Philadelphians in her position with the city.

How do you use social media professionally?

In my previous position at the 311 contact center, I started a facebook account that is now used on a daily basis to connect with citizens. In my current position, I use a Twitter account.

What are your professional/organizational goals for using social media?

The purpose of the Twitter account is to get our Department’s name out there, garner support for our project, and keep up on the industry by following industry leaders.

What platforms do you use most? Why those platforms?

I currently use a Twitter account. At this time, we are not an Agency serving external Customers. Facebook seems to be more of a way to connect with people and provide a lot of information. We are looking to just get our name out there, learn, and get in the industry conversation.

How do you effectively build user engagement with your firm/brand?

We try to stay on top of related events and products locally and nationally. This helps us provide this information to our followers and gain credibility.

How long does it take to generate user engagement, especially for a firm/organization launching a new social media strategy?

Within a few days, you have some user engagement. However, it takes a few months to become better known.

How do you hope users will engage with your organization or brand?

We hope users will look to us as experts in the field, support our project, and send on their opinions.

If you maintain a Facebook page or other platform that allows user interaction, how do you approach and manage user comments, particularly negative ones? 

We currently do face these issues. In my previous position, we acknowledged negative feedback, provided service to those requesting it, and deleted any items that were inappropriate for someone to read.

How do you assess and measure your social media strategy and activities?

We are not currently measuring our social media success. However, one indication is how many followers we have.

What type of advice do you have for someone who hopes to use social media in a professional setting – either as a career with a large firm/organization or to promote a small business?

I believe it is key to be upbeat, but to stay professional (not using “lol” or telling people to smile, etc.). Acknowledge your followers and show how you are an expert in your field.

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April 2012
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