What’s the best way for governments engage their citizens? How can they communicate important information, invite feedback on policy proposals, work collaboratively with the people they’re supposed to represent?
It’s a key political question. And the City of Yellowknife may have just stumbled onto the solution: Put a dog on it.
Seriously. Yellowknifers adore their dogs. And the City’s most successful social media outreach campaign ever happens to involve a huge cast of Yellowknife’s most clickbait-friendly furry companions.
Less than two weeks ago, the City put out a casting call over social media for a Yellowknife dog to become the face of their Scoop the Poop campaign, which is exactly what it sounds like. Owners were invited to submit photos, and the winning pooch would be the one who garnered the most likes on the City’s Facebook page. A few hours before the Friday afternoon submission deadline, they were up to 120 photos, and posts on Facebook had reached nearly 40,000 people and collected over 6000 likes.
“I could definitely say it’s the largest and quickest response we’ve ever had,” says City communications officer Richard McIntosh. “We were even approached by a woman who wanted to honour her deceased dog by submitting a picture.”
The late Lassie, unfortunately can’t win; the mascot needs to be more, how to say it, pre-humously photogenic. But it shows the level of doggy-fever driving the City’s unusually successful bit of PR.
“We are exploring how to maximize engagement using online social media,” says McIntosh, “And this shows how much engagement we can actually accomplish.”
Well… at the very least it shows how much people (read: the internet) like dogs. But hey, putting pretty pictures on anything makes for good internet traffic. As McIntosh says, a fire safety update that would usually get a few hundred views leaps up into the thousands as soon as you throw an aerial photograph of Yellowknife into the post.
So forget the Scoop the Poop campaign. We need a full time City mascot. Just think of how many people you could trick into reading the Capital Updates with the help of a dog in a seasonal sweater. In a shameless attempt to game the system, we’ve entered EDGE pooch Frankie in the Scoop the Poop contest. Look at that face. Doesn’t it make you want to scoop some poop? And then buy EDGE subscriptions for all your friends, family members and co-workers?