With limited time, staff and budget, effectively connecting with citizens may sometimes seem like an insurmountable task for government organizations.
Yet through the power of social media, the City of Lenexa, Kansas is able to quickly share information, answer questions and build bonds with community members.
The city uses Sprout Social to streamline its social efforts and maximize their benefits. And after achieving a 96.9% increase in social engagements over a single year of using Sprout, the results have only continued to improve.
Communications Specialist Kristen Waggener heads up the City of Lenexa’s social media efforts, including promotion of the popular Lenexa Public Market and Lenexa Rec Center across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
“Our goal with social media is to get information out to residents and businesses, as well as people interested in the city, as quickly and easily as possible,” she said. “We also want to use social as a service channel, because as you probably know, a lot of people prefer not to talk on the phone anymore and would rather have their questions answered through a direct message or a comment on social media.”
As the city’s social presence expanded and new profiles were created, the need for a social media management tool grew.
“I did a lot of research and a lot of trials with different companies,” Waggener said. “One of the major things we were looking for was the ability to easily export analytics for different social profiles. I didn’t want to spend hours upon hours trying to put together an analytics presentation on a monthly basis. So one of the things I really liked was the analytics exporting feature Sprout has. It made it very easy.”
“I was actually very skeptical of the Smart Inbox because I was used to doing most things manually, but it turned out to be really helpful,” Waggener said. “It’s very easy to lose track of things or miss things on social. Something can come in at night that I’ll need to follow up on the next morning. With the Smart Inbox, I can just assign it as a task or leave it in my inbox and know that it’s there and I’m not going to lose it.”
I started using Optimal Send Times in June  right after it was rolled out and saw a huge increase in engagement and reach. Kristen Waggener
Communications Specialist, City of Lenexa
Ultimately, Waggener wanted a tool that would help her inform the public, something easier said than done when it comes to the sometimes-mundane business of governing.
“The topics we’re covering are a lot drier compared to other things on social,” she said. “Things like budgets and street maintenance and building codes. We’re fortunate that our city has fun built into it. We’re known as the ‘City of Festivals,’ we have more than 15 major events every year, but there are other topics people aren’t necessarily excited to hear about or look for.”
So how do you get people to pay attention? By using Sprout’s Optimal Send Times, powered by proprietary ViralPost™ technology.
This feature enables users to schedule and publish content at the times most likely to receive attention and generate engagement based on audience data.
“I started using Optimal Send Times in June  right after it was rolled out and saw a huge increase in engagement and reach,” Waggener said.
Over the course of a single month, from May 2018 to June 2018, the City of Lenexa saw its social impressions and engagements increase by 18% and 49.7%, respectively.
Meanwhile, from May 2018 to August 2018, across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn:
- Total social impressions increased by 23.4%, including a 29.7% rise on Facebook
- Total social engagements increased by 16%, including a 74.8% rise on Twitter
Waggener feels safe scheduling content in advance because of Sprout’s Pause All feature, which allows users to instantly pause and unpause scheduled content.
“Fortunately, I haven’t needed to use the Pause All feature yet, but I’m so thankful it’s there,” Waggener said. “The last thing I want to do is somehow make the city look bad. I don’t ever want the city to be put in a bad light because we had a random Facebook post that has nothing to do with whatever is going on in the world and it makes us look insensitive. So with the Pause All feature, it’s reassuring because I know all I have to do is literally press that pause button.”
I wear a lot of different hats, so not having to spend the time to figure out what the best time to post is or not having to spend the time compiling all the analytics data—it saves many hours. Kristen Waggener
Communications Specialist, City of Lenexa
For Waggener, measuring Sprout’s return on investment goes beyond metrics.
“It gives me peace of mind, knowing I’m not missing something,” she said. “You know, I have a very strong sense of responsibility to the public in terms of answering their questions and getting them the information they need. Within the native platforms, it’s very easy to see a comment, think, ‘Oh, I need to follow up on that’ and then not be able to find it the next day.”
Time saved is another consideration.
“I wear a lot of different hats, so not having to spend the time to figure out what the best time to post is or not having to spend the time compiling all the analytics data—it saves many hours,” Waggener said. “I can use those hours to do something else that’s worthwhile for the city.”
However, if the City of Lenexa were to judge Sprout purely on hard numbers, that would be fine, too.
After one year of using Sprout, from April 2017 to April 2018, across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, the city experienced a:
- 46.8% increase in total social followers
- 41% increase in total social impressions
- 96.9% increase in total social engagements
Meanwhile, year over year in August 2018, across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest, the city achieved a:
- 38.8% increase in total social followers
- 29% increase in total social impressions
- 54.7% increase in total social engagements
With the help of Sprout Social, the City of Lenexa will continue to boost citizen engagement, serve the needs of its constituents and ensure important information is shared far and wide.