Social Media Tools in Practice: Arizona DOT Talking Transportation

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Social media tools work best when embedded within an existing, well-rounded communication program and when those tools are leveraged to their truest capabilities. And the Arizona Department of Transportation this week proved it.

Earlier this week, while many people were heading back to the office from a long weekend, the ADOT communication team was working on getting the word out about a road failure in a remote part of northern Arizona south of Page where the state highways are some of the only roads. In fact, the detour around the road collapse is 45 miles.Getting the media to run stories about rural roads is not always easy. Getting the public to understand the situation is even more difficult.

After all, the road is closed. Regular people are not out there. And, the media is not likely to send its own crews to the scene, more than fours hours north of Phoenix, to shoot their own video.

So, the entire situation can be frustrating and, did I mention difficult? Unless, that is, you have pictures.

Better yet, use video and in that video get a credible, well-spoken engineer to talk about and explain the situation.

Then, tie it all together with a popular agency blog. And, of course, grab the Facebook crowd to leverage the “gee whiz!” aspect and watch things go viral.

And then, make sure to link all of these in a news release.

The result is a headline like this: “AMAZING PIX: Road collapses in Arizona.”

ADOT also emailed their colleagues in neighboring states, giving them a heads up about the road failure and detour. That email had links to all the social media sites, plus a shorted Twitter link that connected directly to the ADOT blog. The email also included a link to an ftp site where video b-roll could be downloaded for use by the media.

From my seat more than 3,000 miles away, the ADOT communications team put on a clinic about how to effectively leverage social media tools by using those tools to take me to the site and letting me see the situation for myself.

 

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Author: Lloyd Brown

I am the director of communications for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. I enjoy running marathons and triathlons, playing guitar and spending time with family. My professional interest is in how social media and new technology shapes the communication relationship between government and the general public. I have a Master’s degree in Communications and Leadership from Gonzaga University in Spokane and a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Washington State University.

5 thoughts on “Social Media Tools in Practice: Arizona DOT Talking Transportation”

    1. Great picture. Your message is captured in a very dramatic, visual way. Will keep you in mind next time something like this happens in California (Caltrans).

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