Despite the tedious about of red tape involved with managing a municipality’s social media, the City of Hamilton provides an excellent example of creativity that sparks engagement from key residents.
Setting the Stage
Since the mid-2000s, the City of Hamilton has been running a promotion for residents who are recycling superstars. These promotional yellow recycling boxes, otherwise known as Gold Boxes, are reserved for residents who correctly sort organics, paper, aluminum, glass, and plastic – while still only using one bag of garbage or less. A City of Hamilton employee completes a curbside audit, checking for a number of things, and chooses to reward the resident with a Gold Box.
Rockin’ the Gold Box
City of Hamilton residents need to sign-up for their chance to win a Gold Box. Of the residents who sign-up, the City of Hamilton worker randomly selects households from which to audit… and I bet they “Never thought that this would happen.”
This past week, one of the Gold Box winners was a musician from the Arkells, a super amazing band that hails from Hamilton.
Clearly excited that his ninja recycling skills had been recognized, he posted a photo of his newly acquired Gold Box to the Arkells’ Instagram feed, which also was shared with the @ArkellsMusic Twitter account.
This Instagram post received 757 Likes, and 20 comments. Some of the comments include:
- “we’re gonna have to step up our recycling game in September”
- “do you think we’ll get one too?”
- “I need one of these”
- “So jealous! I love those :)”
You think it couldn’t get any better: tonnes of free promotion for the program; and, a conversation with residents about saving the planet. Then it does.
The City of Hamilton gets a gold star for this response:
Why is this response so great?
1. LISTENING: Despite not being officially mentioned, the City of Hamilton was listening to what was being said about their program and key hashtags. By doing this they were able to engage with the Arkells about their Gold Box excitement.
2. RELEVANT & CHEEKY: The City of Hamilton’s tweet includes information about the recycling program: “Be sure to place it at curbside and not #HighNoon,” while at the same time giving a nod to the Arkells’ upcoming album High Noon.
The Arkells took a screenshot this conversation and posted it to their Instagram feed. This conversation garnered 663 Likes, and 16 comments.
While municipalities do face many political constraints, it can be beneficial to allow the folks who handle social media a bit of leeway to engage with residents. You never know what conversations may “Come to light” when you do.