Social media is the number one modern-day communication tool, but many law enforcement agencies are not maximizing potential engagement due to a lack of transparency.

Although it may be difficult to be transparent at all times, in the long run, transparency proves to be beneficial due to forging tighter relationships with the community and even the press.

Social media is all about being social and the immediacy it brings allows law enforcement agencies to control the narrative.

One mistake often seen on law enforcement agency social media pages is that they will turn off the comments on posts that they feel are controversial.

Turning off social media comments is almost conveying a hidden message, a silent message stating to your audience that you do not care what their thoughts and opinions are; and it can also be misconstrued as implicating that the agency does not want to answer any questions.

One note to remember is the worst comment any law enforcement agency can provide the public or the press is “no comment.”

No comment can be dangerous, because by providing no comment, the agency no longer has control of the narrative.

Having the ability to post timely news updates to social media in real-time strengthens the law enforcement agencies position to control the narrative, due to holding the power to immediately break the news; and not allowing a person or the press to break the news first.

Broadcasting live content through both Instagram and Facebook is a pivotal strategy for law enforcement to forge connections with constituents and strengthen community engagement by having conversations in real-time.

Since live videos cannot be edited or manipulated, this social media capability can be utilized as a strategic tool in conversing and connecting with the public in real-time, enhancing public perception and strengthening credibility.

“Our research found that 86% of Americans say transparency from businesses is more important than ever before. Brands that prioritize transparency in their social approach earn great rewards—gains in consumer trust, increased sales and a bolstered brand reputation.”

Sprout Social

Remember, being transparent on social media is key for law enforcement agencies in today’s sometimes hostile landscape as it provides a space for all to socially connect and share their story.