Philadelphia Police Department Goes Social at the Lectern

Story Highlights

  • Corporal Frank Domizio guest lectured in New Media Marketing Class

  • “When we started uploading pictures and then adding links... engagement tripled,” he said

  • Class got sneak peak of the department’s future social media goals

The Philadelphia Police Department might be working for us, but they have figured out how to harness social media to help us work for them.

Corporal Frank Domizio, social media community manager for the PPD’s Office of Organizational Communications, guest lectured in Drexel LeBow’s popular New Media Marketing Class last week. He offered a glimpse into the PPD’s social media strategy and success, as well as a sneak peak of the department’s future social media goals.

To date, social media tips from Philadelphians have put 108 criminals behind bars. Criminals who commit crimes that are shared with the department through social platforms have conferred a 40 percent chance of arrest, Domizio said.

The Department’s social media presence also continues to grow. Since Drexel LeBow’s Market Street magazine profiled the Department, the PPD’s official Facebook page has reached 47,000 “likes,” their Twitter feed has grown to more than 12,000 followers and their YouTube channel has amassed 2.3 million views. Yet, according to Domizio, it is the intangibles that matter most. The simple fact that people are paying attention speaks volumes, he said. Police officers can now post positive stories on the PPD’s own Wordpress blog without reliance on the mainstream media to broadcast their message.

In addition to public relations intangibles, Domizio shared some content-generating tips with the class. “When we started uploading pictures and then adding links, [as opposed to just posting links] —engagement tripled,” Domizio said. “It was ridiculous. I cannot really express the difference between a picture and a link. We figured out that people like tips and goofy pictures. Plus, they really like pictures of the Commissioner.”

Domizio stressed the PPD’s commitment to engaging with the city of Philadelphia — and the importance of using social platforms to respond to the populace as quickly as possible.

I can’t stand when I ask a question on Facebook and the brand doesn’t answer me,” Domizio said. “It’s supposed to be social. There are times when people are yelling at the organization. But a lot of times, people have legitimate questions they would like answered. Twitter is real time. People want an answer now.” So, what does the future hold for the PPD’s social media stable? According to Domizio, a PPD Pinterest account is in the works and Google+ hangouts with Commissioner Charles Ramsey are being discussed.

No matter the platform, one thing is certain: the Philadelphia Police Department is leading the social media charge for the law enforcement community.