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City of New York. Case Study: Discover how the City of New York used Hootsuite to triple its online audience


Academic year: 2021

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Case Study:

City of New York

Discover how the City of New York used

Hootsuite to triple its online audience

The NYC Government tripled its online audience and set a misson to connect all New Yorkers and become the world’s premier digital city. Like most governments, the City of New York had big goals for citizen engagement, access, open government, and industry growth. The City established NYC Digital as part of NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment to start building the world’s first city-focused digital strategy.

NYC Digital launched their Digital Roadmap in the spring of 2011. Having an effective social media strategy was at the heart of the matter. At the beginning of this project, approximately 25 million people a year visited NYC’s 200+ digital channels. Of the 25 million online visitors, approximately 1.2 million individuals per month were connecting with the City through social media.

The city of New York reaches 5,483,640 individuals digitally each month through:

280 social media


What they did

According to the Digital Roadmap, NYC Digital’s ultimate goal was to create a healthier civil society and stronger democracy through the use of technology that engages, serves, and connects New Yorkers. They set out to achieve the following objectives:


‹ Expand their digital reach through a consolidated approach to social media


‹ Maintain a consistent voice, while decentralizing communication to thousands of municipal departments and agencies


‹ Share information and updates in multiple languages for a diverse multicultural population


‹ Provide consistent, accurate, and accessible information during emergencies


‹ Use social media to listen to, engage with, andgain valuable insights from constituents

While managing over 200 social channels seemed like a demanding task, it also offered an invaluable opportunity to serve citizens better

and connect with their constituents more effectively. To accomplish their objectives, the City of New York turned to Hootsuite Enterprise.


How they did it

The City assembled teams from across its various agencies and assigned individual levels of publishing access, responsibility, and authority for social media channels. This meant NYC Digital could start honing their strategy for responding to public needs and providing the kind of information they wanted the most. In no time, other City agencies started pulling together—collaborating, managing messages, and developing social media protocols to serve the public better. In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy hit the Atlantic coast, putting the City’s new digital strategy and social media communications to the test. Social media and emergency management

NYC Digital monitored social media for public reactions to the storm, sending daily reports to City Hall. As citizens turned to the City’s social media channels for accurate and reliable information during those critical moments, their social media reach expanded to over 2 million people.

As one of the deadliest and most destructive hurricanes in U.S. history struck the eastern seaboard, all the social media planning, protocols and functionalities that had been set into place were fully engaged. New York City agencies turned to social media to help achieve the following:

“Because of the shift to

digital and the rapid-fire way

information is disseminated,

the use of social media as a

means to communicate has

become a necessity.”

Allison Pennisi

Deputy Director of Communications, NYC Emergency Management


Improved emergency information

Since Hurricane Sandy, City agencies like the New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM) have continued to engage constituents to provide critical information during both emergency and

non-emergency situations.

During non-emergency times, the City uses its social media channels for proactive, engaging campaigns—such as a light-hearted poetry competition on Twitter—to educate people about what the City does, build connections between its agencies, establish an online meeting point for citizens, and put a more human face on government.

During the winter storm of 2013 with its record-setting snowfalls, teams used the hashtag #nemo to send and receive real-time information— posting photos of the forecast and encouraging constituents to visit the PlowNYC website to check the status of their roads.

In March 2014, when two apartment buildings collapsed in East Harlem, teams used the hashtag #eastharlemexplosion—and translated messages into Spanish—as a way to update citizens. Social media teams continue to use keywords, photo searches, geo-location, and multiple language channels to quickly identify and monitor critical public situations, dramatically improving their situational awareness.

“The Hootsuite platform is

extremely comprehensive

and has proved invaluable

in emergency situations. It’s

been our one-stop-shop for

everything from message

management and rumor

control to collaboration with

other agencies and analytics

to improve our programs.”

Allison Pennisi

Deputy Director of Communications, NYC Emergency Management


The results

NYC Digital continues to chart a course that builds on its impressive initiatives and successes. Since the Digital Roadmap implementation in 2011, the City has:


‹ More than tripled their social media audiences, from 1.2 million over 200 channels in 2011 to over 3.7 million across 340 channels in 2013


‹ Established a two-way dialogue with the public during “blue skies” periods when all is well and developed social media protocols to manage emergency situations


‹ Developed a way to support greater civic engagement without overwhelming the user, involving both public and government/ agency staff


‹ Increased the City’s total digital reach by 85%, sharing critical information, emergency alerts, major announcements, and program deadlines from dozens of agencies and programs


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