We’ve heard from City of Hamilton, OH, City of Kansas City, MO, City of Las Vegas, NV, and now, we round out the Final Four with the City of Lenexa, KS. Hat tip to Kristen Waggener for coordinating the city’s response.
City of Lenexa, KS
The City of Lenexa, KS has the smallest city (in population) remaining in the Trending Now! competition. However, their digital presence is on par with the other three finalists. On their website, you can ask a question about the budget or submit a service request. The I Like Lenexa App connects you to City of Lenexa events, parks, playgrounds, pools, trails and more
Lenexa must have a pretty big trophy room for the numerous communication awards that the city has received – Most Outstanding Marketing Program, 2014 and 2015 Savvy Award winner, and 2015 Prism Award winner.
Props to Kristen for winning 2016 Volunteer of the Year from Social Media Club of Kansas City.
Lenexa Fun Facts
- Lenexa was known as the Spinach Capital of the World in the 1930s.
- Average Commute time is 19 minutes. The National Average is 25 minutes.
- As of 2014, Lenexa’s population is 48,300 people. Since 2000, it has had a population growth of 18.79 percent.
I Stand Behind Lenexa Because….
Tell us why you love Lenexa and we’ll include your comments in our voter’s pamphlet for the Final 4 voting which begins July 5. Each submission will add bonus points to your city’s final vote tally.
Social Media Platforms
Lenexa has many social media channels that we use to reach out to our residents. Our social presence is split into three categories: Main Lenexa city accounts, Lenexa Police Department and Lenexa Fire Department. While those pages operate independently, we consistently work together to promote messages that benefit our community.
Main City Accounts
We post daily to many of our accounts in an effort to be accessible and transparent to our residents. Even in a community of 50,000, there’s always something going on or something important to talk about, and our job is to foster conversation about Lenexa.
Facebook: Facebook is the city’s largest follower presence with nearly 15% of our population. We use Facebook to tell stories and build community. We promote our programs, share good news about our residents and provide transparency as much as possible to our community through features like Facebook Live.
Twitter: We use Twitter to have a lot of fun. We’ll post memes and gifs if they’re relevant to our message. We also solve problems reported through Twitter in a timely manner.
Instagram: On Instagram, in addition to posting our own content, we share content from others who have tagged images with #SeeLenexa (a hashtag we created specifically for that purpose). This allows us to interact with our followers and showcase our community from the eyes of the people who live here. We also use the #SeeLenexa hashtag to course photos to print on our resident newsletter mailed to each home in the city.
LinkedIn: We use LinkedIn for recruiting purposes and to share good news about development happening in Lenexa.
Flickr: When you have thousands of photos, you might as well share them. Throughout the last 9 years, we’ve literally taken hundreds of thousands of photos (by both staff and volunteers), and we post them here to show off our community.
Nextdoor: Nextdoor is our newest social media channel, and we use it to get important messages out to specific groups of residents. This includes road closures, stormwater information, safety messaging and others. We see it as a very valuable tool to reach verified Lenexa residents, so we’re very strategic about what we post on this channel.
YouTube: We create tons of video content for our other social channels, but out produced video content goes here.
Facebook: We use it daily to put out current information, crime prevention tips, crime trends, community outreach programs and even a little humor to put a positive face on our department.
Twitter: We use this throughout the day to get out daily information on what’s going on currently throughout the city and even what’s around us.
Instagram: We use Instagram to post photos that shoe the faces and activities of our department.
Nextdoor: Used to help get out community crime information messages targeted to specific neighborhoods.
All of the Fire Department pages display similar content but displayed differently.
Facebook: Facebook is used to share the story behind the picture, as most of our posts have pictures. We also use Facebook the most to have conversations with our residents whether it is through comments or messenger.
Twitter: Twitter is our “what’s going on right now” outlet and we post everything from areas of town to avoid due to emergency incidents to severe weather alerts.
— Lenexa Fire Dept. (@LenexaFire) June 29, 2016
Instagram: Instagram is primarily used as an online picture repository.
YouTube: YouTube is our video hosting site and is used to store our internal training videos as well as store our promotional videos for the public.
Social Media Team
Our social media is managed by three main groups of people. The city’s communications staff manages the main city social media pages, and Police Department accounts are managed by a staff of four officers, and the Fire Department pages are managed by their training division.
Keys to Success
Our employees! They’re our biggest advocates and our biggest helpers. In our employee newsletter, we asked them to vote and help spread the word – particularly in the last few hours of the voting. Also, our residents have a lot of pride in their community. Even though we’re a community of only 50,000 (going up against cities with populations well above 500,000!), our residents are proud to be from Lenexa, and that showed in the voting.
Top Social Media Campaigns
#LPDTravels: This campaign is currently being run on our Police Department accounts. They encourage residents to come to the police station or to their booth at events to pick up a foam police car and take photos of it when they travel, similar to Flat Stanley. This campaign’s goal is to foster positive community involvement, so that if people have a negative experience or circumstance with the police department in the future, they’ve already established a positive relationship. This campaign has already generated dozens of photos from places as far away as San Francisco and Belize!
#LenexElf: during the Christmas season last year, the Elf on the Shelf was really popular. We decided to capitalize on that and use our own elf to talk about what the city does and the services that we offer. Our elf, named Bradshaw after our city’s founder, traveled to each department looking for the perfect job. He tried a new job each day from the beginning of December through Dec. 25 before he went back to the North Pole, and we encouraged our residents to vote for their favorite job by liking each of the photos. This campaign reached more than 60,000 people (more than our city’s population) and even received media coverage from one of the Kansas City television stations.
Facebook events: Lenexa is known as the City of Festivals, as we host more than 15 major events every year. One of the ways we promote those festivals is through Facebook events. We encouraged our followers to subscribe to our events (now, we have more than 500 subscribers) so that they will receive a notification each time we post a new event. These events allow us to talk about event-specific details to the people who are most interested in hearing about them. While attendance response varies depending on the event, we’ve had several events that have had more than 5,000 people indicate that they’re planning to attend. This helps us know when large crowds are expected, and we can plan accordingly.
We’re looking for ways to really connect with the younger generation. As we all know, they’re most active on social channels like Instagram and Snapchat, so our challenge is to figure out how to best leverage that knowledge and reach millennials and younger.
We are doing this in a couple of ways – through ramping up our Instagram usage on all three pages types (city, PD and Fire), and by testing different Snapchat strategies to see what works.
This may not seem like a lot, but any time we add new social channels, it’s a challenge because we do not have any full-time social media staff in Lenexa. Rather, social media is just part of several peoples’ duties. That’s why platforms like Snapchat are difficult for us to join. We don’t have the ability to be everywhere taking photos and video in the moment, like Snapchat requires. Instead, we’re focusing on doing event-based geofilters – we’re actively being part of the conversation with much less time-intensive requirements.
We’re also in the process of developing an employee social media training program to help try to solve the time/availability issue. We will be training a handful of employees in various departments to manage social channels so that our brand stays consistent and the high standards we have already set are constantly met. This empowers our employees to be part of the conversation about Lenexa to help us grow our social channels.
We’d love to give a shout out to our residents who support us each day. They see the value of the effort our staff puts into creating a great social media presence, and they support our community. They’re the reason we’re here, and they’re the reason we try so hard.
What question(s) should we have asked?
Why is social media important to Lenexa and how does it fit into your overall communications strategy?
According to our citizen survey, 17% of our residents get their news about Lenexa from our social media channels, so it’s a very important part of our communications strategy. As a smaller suburb of Kansas City, Mo., we’re on our own to tell our story because we do not have any local media that covers our city on a consistent basis.
Many of the conversations we have about communications come with a digital-first mindset, and a subset of that is thinking socially. We constantly think about what would do well on social media, and how we present things the best way.
We see also social media as another customer service channel, not just a one-way conversation with our residents. We respond to their questions in a timely manner (even at 3 a.m.!), and we give them relevant answers to what they want to know. They know we’re listening and that we’re not afraid to hear their feedback. It’s that feedback that lets us improve our city operations.
Finally, we have fun. We’ve made efforts in the last few years to be less formal in our communications in general, which was a decision we made after seeing the positive results that type of communication had on social media. We aren’t afraid of making a joke or relating something to a current event or pop culture to get our message out, and that strategy has really paid off in terms of followers, reach and engagement.
Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
Are you convinced yet that Lenexas is the place to be? Check out their job openings.