Social Media Found to be ‘Key Factor’ in Public Engagement with State DOTs

An annual social media survey conducted by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials finds that practice of using social media among state departments of transportation is “not only routine” but is now considered in many ways a “key factor” in public engagement.

[Above photo by the Dept. of Defense.]

However, the 2018 eight-page survey report also found that every state DOT implements social media programs in a different way, with agencies turning to Instagram and Snapchat this year for their “potential” in engaging “younger audiences,” such as teenagers and Millennials.

And while the social media landscape among state DOTs is changing through the aforementioned use of “new channels,” the state DOT community continues to rely primarily on three social media platforms: Twitter (98 percent), Facebook (90 percent), plus online video channels YouTube and Vimeo (88 percent).

Some state DOTs are also investing in a unique “hybrid” communication specialty that features social media staff as content managers. Their digital media focus often includes a combination of brief social updates on sites such as Twitter or Facebook, along with video or still photos for updates on Snapchat or Instagram, according to AASHTO’s report.

Such “digital-focused staff” also often have responsibility for updating a blog or similar longer-form narrative digital channel, the report found, with new content creators focus on telling compelling stories that combine the narrative power of integrated digital media channels.

For a full copy of the 2018 report and those from previous years, please visit:

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