Social Media Case Study

 

High Point Police Department

While the city of High Point is investing in long-term growth opportunities, it has not been immune to the struggles that many urban communities are facing: low economic growth, high crime rates and an uncertain future as the city’s key revenue generator—the High Point Furniture Market—is fighting to remain vital in an increasingly globalized economy.

Coupled with an often-tense national conversation around policing, the High Point Police Department (which serves more than 100,000 residents) found itself in dire need of a revamped recruiting strategy that went beyond their traditional tactics.

The Challenge

It’s no secret that the past five years have seen the relationship between many police departments and the communities they serve become increasingly strained. And while it may not be true for every community, the perception of tense relationships lingers.

Not only are many departments working overtime to maintain positive relationships within their community, many are also experiencing a steep drop in recruitment. Simply put, a younger, more socially-conscious generation of millennials are becoming less interested in the profession. This is often due either to negative perceptions of policing in general, access to higher paying, technology-focused opportunities or a combination of both.

The High Point Police Department was concerned that these factors would make it impossible to meet their necessary hiring quotas. However, they were also adamant about not lowering their standards simply to meet those numbers. Thus, their traditional recruitment tactics would need to be bolstered by a more digitally-oriented campaign, particularly if they were looking to reach a younger generation.

The Campaign

After surveying the landscape of recruiting tactics from departments across the country, we found that many relied on a harder-edged, action-heavy approach. From a visual perspective, these videos often featured tactical elements like SWAT teams, firing ranges and door-taking.

However, if our goal was to appeal to a younger generation who might find those talking points abrasive and reinforcing of any negative police stereotypes, we knew a lighter, more community-oriented focus was needed.

Working to recruit internet-savvy millennial candidates would require a reorientation of the conversation around policing, so placing the focus on the department’s role in the community as place-builders and benefactors would help achieve that goal.

Our theme—A Higher Standard for High Point—would have a twofold effect: it would reinforce the department’s high recruiting standards, which they refused to abandon in favor of simply bolstering their ranks, and it would demonstrate how the department works in conjunction with their community members to raise the standard of living for everyone. This theme would be translated into several emotionally-impactful, testimonial-driven videos, recruiting posters and other assorted marketing materials that drove the department’s core beliefs home.

Because the department was most concerned with tapping into the upcoming generation of recruits, we decided that social media (Facebook and Instagram, primarily) would be our key distribution point. That decision was based on three key factors:

  • Ages 18-34 make up 42% of Facebook’s user base and 61%
    of Instagram’s
  • The platforms offer robust targeting and highly trackable advertising opportunities
  • Social media advertising is more cost-effective than traditional media placements like TV or radio

Our theme—A Higher Standard for High Point—would have a twofold effect: it would reinforce the department’s high recruiting standards, which they refused to abandon in favor of simply bolstering their ranks, and it would demonstrate how the department works in conjunction with their community members to raise the standard of living for everyone. This theme would be translated into several emotionally-impactful, testimonial-driven videos, recruiting posters and other assorted marketing materials that drove the department’s core beliefs home.

Because the department was most concerned with tapping into the upcoming generation of recruits, we decided that social media (Facebook and Instagram, primarily) would be our key distribution point. That decision was based on three key factors:

 

  • Ages 18-34 make up 42% of Facebook’s user base and 61%
    of Instagram’s
  • The platforms offer robust targeting and highly trackable advertising opportunities
  • Social media advertising is more cost-effective than traditional media placements like TV or radio

The Execution

Working alongside our partners within the department, we compiled a diverse group of men and women to interview who could demonstrate HPPD’s commitment to making sure their officers reflected the community that they were tasked with serving.

After conducting several video shoots both in the community and within the department, our video team got to work sculpting our interviews and footage into powerful, 30-second videos crafted exclusively for mobile-friendly viewing on Facebook (mobile devices account for 71% of all Facebook traffic).

One campaign was specifically designed to be shown to men and women who were either already working within law enforcement (e.g. “lateral” recruits) or who had studied law enforcement in college. This would allow HPPD to demonstrate their own unique value and how they offered an experience different from other police departments—benefits like a community-focused approach as well as take-home vehicles and competitive benefits.

The other campaign would be targeted more broadly at regular citizens, simply requiring that the Facebook user possess a high school or college degree to see our ads. To narrow our focus, however, we would build “custom audiences” each month based on the users who had positively interacted or engaged with our campaign. Anyone who “Liked” the ads, shared them with friends, clicked through or viewed a certain percentage would be grouped into a new audience set to be shown more focused ads in the next phase. So where we started with a broad audience of more than 1 million users, we had already narrowed our focus to 60,000 within one month.

The Results

While we are still in the first phase of our campaign, the early results are promising. This is a long-term strategy to be sure, but we are confident that the strategy is affecting its intended audience with our high-impact storytelling. Listed below are a few highlights from the first month of our social media campaign:

439,000+

Total Ad Impressions

163,800+

Targeted Users Reached

45% of all views were in our target age range (18-34)

86,300+

30-Second Video Views

14,000+

Total Link Click-Throughs

Click-through-rate: 1.74%

Employment & Recruitment benchmark CTR: .47%

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