Social media tips for transportation agencies

Posted in: Bridges, Highways


GDOT_BodyWhen it comes to public outreach, state Departments of Transportation officials have gone digital to reach the masses. It’s not enough to just post to a website. Today, the public expects access to information online 24/7. Traffic delays, project updates and funding sources are just a snapshot of the data they want readily available.

Are you putting your information out there? As public officials, you want to be proactive with your online strategy to keep the public informed.

Social media activity is on the rise with transportation agencies. Some DOTs are building successful campaigns and creating a buzz. So how do you follow their lead and build your own following with the motoring public?

For starters:

Have a plan

Start slow, set goals and identify the social media platforms that best suits your needs. If you have limited time available to promote your new social media platforms, then it is even more critical to be strategic with your efforts. Plan, plan, plan. The Federal Highway Administration gets it. Take a look at FHWA’s social media plan to see how they’ve evolved over the past three years to fulfill their mission and vision.

Provide valued content

What information does your audience want? Notice, I didn’t ask what do you want to share with them. Prioritize what you share based on what is desired and expected of your agency.

If you put relevant and current information online, the public will respond. The Washington State Department of Transportation shared a live video stream from August 9th on their Facebook account. Not only did this video stir up 36,000 views, but viewers were able to comment and share the video with their social circles. If live streaming for transportation engagement interest your agency, I highly recommend you check out tips on using Facebook Live.

Winona_BodyBe active

As with anything, you get what you put into it. You can’t be everywhere online and do it well. Start small and work one social media platform before taking on more. Be active by sharing valued content to build your audience. Above all, be responsive and maintain regular contact with your audience. The Minnesota Department of Transportation Winona Bridge Facebook page demonstrates ideal updates, activity and interaction for keeping the public engaged on major projects.

Promote your sites

The Georgia Department of Transportation’s Social Media Hub hosts their robust online approach to social media in one place. This makes it easy for their audience to find the information that matters the most to them.

The above actions will help develop your agency’s social media program, but they only skim the surface. It may take a little time, research and effort. A social media strategy is essential in today’s world of public communications. Join me next time to explore how you can replicate similar success via your own social platforms.


Brittany Williams, CPSM

About the Author

Brittany Williams, CPSM, is experienced in public relations and involvement. With her innate ability to communicate with various stakeholders, she has worked with public and private sectors, transportation, environmental, universities and non-profit organizations committed to developing productive relationships within their communities. Her background in marketing, communications and event planning allows her to thrive during fast-paced and detailed projects.

Read more posts by Brittany Williams, CPSM

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