Taking inspiration from the Queensland Police’s Social Media: Lessons for Inbound Marketers

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Jay Dillon

Director of Strategy and Creative at Inbound Experts
Jay is a digital marketer and producer whose creative and technical skills have developed digital brand strategies and sales campaigns using a range of complex internet applications from stand-alone websites through to Facebook API integrations.
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While many people were anxiously awaiting the premiere of the new season of HBO’s hit show Game of Thrones on Sunday April 12, there was one organisation that most people might not have expected to see getting in on the excitement:The Queensland Police Service.

In a laid-back Facebook update that included a reference to specific characters in the show, the QPS advised residents not to speed home just to catch the first episode in the new season.

While they might not have accounted for the popularity of DVR tools that many people use to watch television shows at their convenience, this update represents just another in a long line of successful social media efforts on the part of the Queensland Police.

In less than 10 hours, this 37-word status update with no pictures or links to additional content racked up over 64,000 likes and more than 4,400 shares. Pretty impressive, even for a large organisation whose jurisdiction spans Australia’s second-largest state.


How the QPS is Crushing it on Social Media

The Queensland Police’s humorous engagement with the Game of Thrones premiere pales in comparison to the level of social media engagement the QPS achieves when serving the community  during major events, such as a recent series of natural disasters that devastated the state.

On Christmas Day 2010, Cyclone Tasha dumped a huge amount of precipitation onto Queensland’s north coast, causing blocked roads and flood damage that cost the government in excess of $1 billion. During the crisis, the Queensland Police Service used its Facebook and Twitter accounts to spread news and updates to citizens in the area who were eager to hear from them: the QPS’ social media follower counts more than doubled in just two weeks.

Less than a month later, Queensland was again struck by floods. A disaster was declared in 75% of the state – more than 200,000 Queenslanders were impacted by the flooding.

In a 24-hour period after the flash floods hit, the QPS social media accounts received the type of exposure that would make any marketer’s jaw drop.

In just one day, the number of likes on the QPS Facebook page went from around 17,000 to 100,000. Posts on the page received 39 million impressions: this is the equivalent of about 450 post views per second for an entire day.

Now your brand will never serve such an important community role as providing updates during a natural disaster that can actually save lives (more’s the pity). However, there are still some great lessons to be learned here by inbound marketers who are looking to excel on social media.

Key Takeaways from the Queensland Police’s Approach to Social Media

  • Provide information that’s useful. In the case of a natural disaster like the one that struck Queensland in late 2010, people needed to get information about roads being closed, areas being damaged, and ways to try to get reconnected with loved ones. Because the QPS was able to provide this type of information in a place where people were looking for it, activity on their social media pages grew drastically
  • Be unexpected. Not many people would expect a police service to come out on social media and declare their excitement for the premiere of a fantasy television show. That’s exactly why the update was so popular: people appreciated that the QPS was changing things up from the status quo
  • Be timely. In today’s interconnected news cycle, it’s easier than ever before to report on a news story just seconds after it breaks. In fact, these days many stories are broken on social media first before they get to traditional news outlets. You should always try to incorporate an element of cultural timeliness into your social media activity: this makes people feel more connected to your brand’s presence on social networks

Whether you’re a fan of Game of Thrones or not, you have to appreciate the QPS’ reference to one of the most popular television programs on the market right now. By learning from the Queensland Police’s excellent approach to social media, you can become a better inbound marketer that provides valuable, relevant content for your audience.

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