When you manage a social media account for the police, then it can be hard to stand out from the crowd.
This is because there are so many official police social media accounts out there who are sharing and publishing posts about people who they want to speak to.
More and more, police social media guru’s (often civilians) are thinking of new and engaging ways to try and ensure that more people see their messages, appeals and posts.
It was only a few days ago that the owner of a Lord of the Rings-style ring was reunited with his piece of jewellery after North Yorkshire Police published an appeal that reached over 12 million people.
Ordinarily, to get that sort of reach on social media, you would have to spend tens of thousands of pounds. So coming up with original ways to get you content seen puts a constant demand on your imagination.
But sometimes, especially when it comes to sharing posts about people who the police want to speak to, the subject of the appeal, can (unintentionally) do most of the work without even realising it.
‘North Wales Police Wrexham Rural’ shared a post on their Facebook page saying that they would like to speak with a male by the name of Ewan Mackenzie.
Now, let’s just say that Mr Mackenzie has a hairstyle that you do not often see in the 21st century.
To highlight this point, the post said:
“This is Ewan Mackenzie; he has links to Coedpoeth, Wrexham and Mold.
“We are currently COMBing the area for Ewan; We hope to CUT down on crime when he is arrested and put him back in prison on a semi-PERManent basis.
“Please help up as I’m sure we are on the FRINGE of an arrest…”
Early interactions made on the post suggest that quite a few people will end up seeing this appeal with 33 shares and 88 interactions in the first hour since it was published.
Really, what the police are doing here is smart.
Because spending days, weeks, months and even years looking for someone can and does take up a lot of resources, and we all know how overstretched the police are at the moment.
The police are using social media and utilising one of its best attributes; creating posts which do and have the potential to go viral.
And, in doing so, they are saving the taxpayer a considerable amount of money as well as freeing up more police resources.
Which, I am sure, most people would agree is a good thing.