Well Said

If you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting PC Randall Arsenault, this Instagram post will tell you pretty much everything you need to know about him.

Well said Randy.

I'd like to shout out and thank the thousands of Police officers who don't use social media and who do an amazing job every day with little or no recognition at all. Hundreds of positions, thousands of officers doing behind the scenes work with online investigations, frauds, extortions, homicides, hold up, drugs, sexual assault, family violence and of course Primary Response. There's many many more. I enjoy my position and social media plays a role with engagement, but there's much more to it than that. This works for me now but one day that may change, and that's the nature of Policing. I meet true heroes every day. Tired, overworked and often under appreciated. Thank you for all you do. Have a great weekend, #BeSafe. #Policing #TorontoPolice #ThankYou #Toronto #Police #ToServeAndProtect #LEO #BeSafe #ISeeYou

A post shared by Officer Randall Arsenault (@pcarsenault) on

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Instagram Live

It was only a matter of time before Instagram added live streaming to its platform. That time arrived Monday with the introduction of Instagram Live.

It’s not available to all users yet but it will be soon enough.

This is the second major update to the platform in as many weeks with the roll out of the like and reply options to comments.

How To Use LIVE

On the home screen of the app, click the camera button (top left) [Fig1]. You will see three options at the bottom of the screen, “Live, Normal and Boomerang”. [Fig 2] Choose Live and Click “Start Live Video”.

Instagram Live

Fig 1

Going live is super easy on Instagram.

Fig 2

So far it isn’t really rocket science.

You will now be going live. Instagram will build an audience for you and let some of your followers know that you are “Live”.

Coles Notes Of Instagram Live

Instagram Live is a ‘one and done’ experience.  There is no recording saved to your camera roll. When you stop broadcasting live, it is over…there is no more, there is no replay.

You can comment on your own video. Unless you’re using your camera on a tri-pod or some other stationary holder, I wouldn’t suggest trying it…you will make your audience sea-sick.

Your audience can show their appreciation by tapping the screen for hearts. (Sounds familiar).

Your audience can comment and if you’re using the diva camera, you can see those comments.

Still not approaching rocket science material here. What can I say…live streaming is live streaming.


There’s no ability (at this time) to create a title.

The video dies when you stop broadcasting.

The mental thought of the video disappearing will no doubt lead to stupid people doing stupid things. Remember, third-party apps and tech savvy people know how to record your broadcast so:

  1. Don’t do anything stupid.
  2. Ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing could possibly happen?”

Strategy (Finally, the rocket science)

How will you use Instagram Live given the present drawbacks? Well, turn them into positive opportunities.

This is a great opportunity to ‘reward’ your most loyal fans. The ones that will actually be watching your broadcast. Give them real insight, pure interaction, behind the scenes ‘exclusive’ looks into you, what you do and your operations.

This is not the platform function for providing information that is pertinent to public safety, content you want shared or your Top 10 Most Wanted List.

Set goals that you want to achieve using the Live function.
Determine your time frame and the measurements you’ll use to determine your success.
Create a couple of campaigns that you’ll use specifically on the platform.
Test, test, test…measure, measure, measure, adjust, adjust, adjust.

PRO TIP: There’s nothing to say that you couldn’t create an image for Instagram announcing that you’ll be “Going Live – To [take questions, talk about xyz, share some great tips] at what ever time. This can build your audience, create some buzz and get some shares, likes and comments from the post itself to create more awareness!

Encourage your audience to “Turn On Notifications” for when you post.

  1. Click 3 dots on Profile to open options [Fig 3]
  2. Choose “Turn On Post Notifications” [Fig 4]
Instagram Live Notifications

Fig 3

Fig 4

As with all platforms and their unique functionality, play with it. Learn how to use it. Experiment with different ideas for engagement. If you have an audience and you’re happy with your results then continue. If not, flush it as an option for now.

Brian Fanzo, (iSocialFanz) provides a great short video to talk in-depth about the new feature…check it out here:

Thoughts, comments, questions? Let me know by leaving a comment and I’ll get back to you.

Are you looking to increase your #LESM presence or improve what you’re doing? 
Learn from some of the best social media minds in law enforcement as they show you how to save time, maximize your impact and reduce risk while building great community partnerships using social media. 
Register for the 2017 #LESM Conference coming to your computer March 28, 29, 30.
Visit http://lesmconference.com to learn more and to register. 

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Instagram: Comments, Likes And More To Increase Engagement

Instagram has been established as an excellent tool to create engagement for a long time now and I predict this new move will cause an Instagram explosion to your engagement levels.

In a quiet roll out that began yesterday and will take a few weeks to complete, Instagram has updated the commenting function on posts.

Tapping to show your like and appreciation for a post will now apply to comments as well.

That’s right, you can like the comments your audience takes the time to make with just a single tap!

(Mrs Burrows has it on her account…I’m still waiting)
Instagram now allows in line replies to comments and likes to your audience comments.

Before this change, to show your appreciation you needed to type their name as your own comment, hope you were following them so it would self populate and then reply with a thanks, thumbs up, smiley face or something else. (You do that right?)

Now, that’s even improving…someone leaves a comment, you’ll be able to reply to their comment right in line!

The entire user experience, which was already pretty good just got boosted and you should take advantage of it!  

Then next improvement seems like they had law enforcement in mind…the ability to disable comments for posts.

You have to make that choice prior to posting, but if you’re posting something that you know could bring out the worst in trolls and haters, it’s a good option to use sparingly when needed.

Learn more by reading the official Instagram Blog Post. http://blog.instagram.com/post/154120962392/161206-news


The last change worth noting is a new reporting process, “Anonymous Reporting for Self-Injury Posts.”

From the blog….
“Finally, we want to continue to be a place where people can share deeply personal moments. From time to time, you may see friends struggling and in need of support. If you believe that someone you care about may be thinking about injuring themselves, you can report it anonymously, and we will connect your friend to organizations that offer help. We have teams working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, around the world to review these reports.”

Image From The Instagram Blog:

This is something that you should get out to your audience…let them know how they can help when they see a friend in need.

That’s it for now. Have a great day and stay safe.

Take advantage of the LESM Conference Reduced Registration happening until the end of December.
PS – New speakers have been announced, with more to come and we’re working on some special surprises. You don’t want to miss this training opportunity. Great price, great training, great convenience.
Click the picture to learn more.

“Why go to a conference when the conference will come to you!”

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Using Current Events To Educate Your Community

When I’m teaching or working with an agency I make a point of touching on using real life current events as examples.  This can help educate your community and because it can lead to improved public safety, it has a double impact.

Sensitive issues that are close to home are always tough to use. Depending on the event, you’ll just stay away from them all together.

Choose Your Topic Wisely

“What to do when stopped by the police.” is an example that can be used when a OIS occurs during a vehicle or subject stop. Boca Raton police did it using an event from far away taking advantage of national media attention. Don’t do it when it’s a neighboring jurisdiction and certainly not if it’s your own.

The San Bernardino shooting is an example of teaching your community what to do in an active shooter situation. Examples of agencies educating their own communities based on that event were many.

Today, as the event at Ohio State University unfolded an opportunity presented itself again. The only difference is OSU had an active ‘attacker’, not shooter. The principles remain the same.

A tragic event, but a job well done by the Ohio State Police Department to end the situation quickly.

Palm Beach County Sheriffs Office did just that…well done.

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The #MannequinChallenge…FREEZE!

The #MannequinChallenge.

Seriously? The #MannequinChallenge…what’s next, “Here comes Andy?”

I got the idea behind the #IceBucketChallenge. Raise awareness, bring attention to a brutal disease, raise money doing something that was fun. You can’t argue with the success it had, but…

As time passed, it became less about the raising money and awareness and more about the fun of the challenge, it became a ‘me too’ entertainment video.

The #RunningManChallenge was fun for college and high school students. Have some fun for no reason at all.

New Zealand Police Recruitment  took it to law enforcement by making it a recruitment challenge. Department after department did the challenge with the vast majority forgetting the challenge was about recruiting.

“Me Too”

Soon enough, police agencies seemed to just jump on the “me too” bandwagon and started doing mass productions to show that they were hip, with the times, staying up on pop-culture trends. Even going as far as to say, “We are doing this to bring attention to ‘XYZ’.”, but then only mentioning themselves with a “Like Us / Follow Us” call to action.

You want to know what was a great recruitment drive?

Retired Dallas Police Chief David Brown telling protestors if they don’t like the way things are, apply for a job with his department. No entertainment, no BS, just a lay it on the line leadership moment.

Now We Have The #MannequinChallenge.

The premise…record an elaborate video showing everyone frozen like a mannequin.

It’s highly entertaining watching your favorite NFL or NBA team, not to be outdone by ESPN.  But then again, it’s highly entertaining because they are entertainers…paid to entertain.

College students, high school students and kids are doing some amazing things with it.

Back to the adults. As Chris Brogan said, “Cue marketing departments everywhere doing their own “witty” versions of this.” I’ll add, cue the police departments showing how hip they are following suit.

Don’t Do It

But please, JUST DON’T DO IT. Especially if you don’t actually have a purpose, a strategy, a real business case for doing it.

I mean, what’s the purpose? What point will you be making? In what way will this help your community? What quality of life issue are you addressing?

Are you going for your piece of “viral pie”?
Trying to bring attention to your page for more likes?

Great…you’ve got likes. What will you do with those likes? Is your community suddenly going to turn around and think,

“Wow, I have so much more trust, respect and appreciation for what our police do now that I’ve seen them mannequin..they’re just so much more human now.”

Not likely.

There will be some people in your community that will look at the video as a complete waste of time and resources. They may see what you are doing as complete lack of appreciation for their tax dollars at work. And they’ll probably be right.

Sure you can argue that your PIO or Media Relations Unit members are part of a dedicated staff and that this type of thing is part of their job. But that reasoning just doesn’t hold a lot of weight when it’s something that is simply just for entertainment value.

When was the last time you put a lot of effort into a piece of content that actually held high “end-user” value? And no, a wanted poster doesn’t qualify and the #MannequinChallenge is no where close to having any end-user value.

I talk daily with police agencies and the vast majority tell me they started using social media because, “Everyone else is.”

That’s not a reason to be doing social media and neither is jumping on a challenge band wagon.

Leaders lead.



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Beating The Facebook Algorithm

Yes friends, the Facebook Algorithm has changed again…

facebook algorithm doesn't care about you being the policeChange is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future. ~ John F. Kennedy

Sometimes change happens for the sake of change. Sometimes change happens because change is truly needed. Either way, it is the law of life and for our purposes today, it is the law of Facebook.

Just when you adapt to Facebook changing it’s algorithm, they mix it up, shake it up and change it again.

The worst thing you can do is complain and whine about it. The best thing you can do is figure out the best way to work with it. In the middle of the worst and the best is to work without it.

The most recent Facebook change is to make the content seen by its users more about friends and family. A page doesn’t have friends, it has fans so you can assume that this change is another blow to how much of your content is seen by your fans.

3 Ways To Work With The Newest Facebook Algorithm Change

1) If friends and family is what Facebook wants, then focus more on friends and family.

Make your page content appeal to your community. Often we post information about wanted people, things our agency has done and events that are happening. All valid things to share, but very rarely do those posts explain the importance of it to the average everyday person.

Talking about the arrest of a person is good. Telling your community why it is important to have this person off the streets is better. Safer community, less crime, lower insurance rates, increased quality of life….let them know all of this. The end value of your content must be on the end-user. Too often we post what is important to us.

When people see the importance as being personally valuable then they are more likely to share it. Who are they going to share it with? Friends and family.

Add in content that is educational and or entertaining and you have the Holy Grail of what is important to Facebook.

2) Share your page content on your profile.

Again, friends and family are what’s important, then take your content down to the friends and family level.

If you have a Facebook Page, you have a profile that runs that page. When you post something on your page share it from the page using your profile. You can also reverse this by posting something on your profile and then sharing it to your page.

Add in a call to action. We have been conditioned to do what we’re told on social media; click here, subscribe, learn more, sign up…don’t overlook the power of telling people what to do. “Share this with your friends.”

3) Be conversant

When someone comments, comment back. When someone shares your information, thank them. When someone asks a question, answer it.

The more activity a post has, the more interest Facebook believes it will have with friends and families so use that to your advantage.

Experiment with commenting as both your page and your profile, thanking and liking as your page and your profile.

Two Platforms That Beat Facebook Hands-Down

What platform has more users than Twitter and Facebook combined? It’s the same one that has been around forever. Probably the most important (and most dreaded tool you have available…nope, not the telephone…EMAIL!

That’s right, email.

It is probably your most overlooked tool for communicating with your community.

Emails get opened more, replied to more and can convey a world of information. They can be automated, grouped, listed and private. Images, videos, links, massive functionality.

You can have people subscribe to an email list and then segment that list based on location, interests, needs, etc.

You want to get your message out? Send an email. Think about your own life…how many times a day is you checking your email? Do you have notifications turned on for your mobile device when you get an email? There is probably only one platform that gets more of your attention then email…

Text messages

 You will look away from this and go to your phone if you get a text message while you’re reading this post. There is even a better chance you are reading this on your mobile and if a text comes in, I’m gone.

There is nothing, and I mean nothing that gets more of our attention than a text message. Why?? 99% of the time it is personal. Someone has been given permission to contact you intimately, via the most cherished thing you have, your phone.

It may be limited in functionality, but what it lacks in function is more than makes up for in attention.

Throw a link in your push and you have got attention.

Twitter, Nixle, Nextdoor are great for immediate dissemination and in the moment events, but hands down, a text message will get way more attention.

So stop whining and complaining, “Oh the Facebook Algorithm doesn’t understand we are the police and have information that needs to be known.” and start working with the change since you’re right; the FBA doesn’t care about you.

BTW…if your information is that important that you need it to be seen on Facebook with it’s 1-3% reach, then your Facebook strategy needs to be seriously re-thought.


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Twitter Announces Longer Videos

If you ran Twitter and decided to allow longer video formats, how long would you make them?

Instagram went from 15 to 60 seconds. Facebook, Periscope, Meerkat, Blab, UStream…etc, are unlimited so where do you go from 30 seconds?

The world is turning into mass video consumers and creators. The king of social media brevity and quickness has decided to up their video game to follow suit and it only makes sense that 140 seconds would be the perfect length for the 140 character platform.

I like it. Long enough to allow you to get considerably deep on a subject, but short enough that you’re going to have to get your details in and not be conducting a review of War and Peace.


According to  the Twitter Blog, select business users will be allowed to record and post up to 10 minutes.

The news continues with Vine as well (also owned by Twitter) that longer Vines are on the horizon with select producers being allowed to use 140 seconds to tell their stories there, up considerably from the current 6 seconds.

What You Need To Remember For LESM…

It doesn’t matter if you have 10 seconds or 10 hours to tell your story, you have to start with quality and content if you want to keep viewers.

This has never been as important as it is right now with hundreds of hours of video competing for the attention of your audience and if you are not engaging people, they won’t be staying around with you.

I’m looking forward to what Mike The Cop, Officer Daniels and Deputies Hookem and BookEm will be up to in the LESM space for the entertainment value. More importantly, what police agencies will do for their community outreach, engagement and education.

Just think about the opportunities you’ll have.

140 Seconds = 2 minutes and twenty seconds.
At the 2:10 second mark, your recording timer will go red letting you know to wrap it up in the next 10 seconds.

Break that down into a three act play…
10 seconds to introduce your topic and set the hook.
20 seconds to wrap up your topic and reinforce the content.
That leaves…
1:50 seconds to build trust, relationships and advocates through your content, your story.

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Pushing Professional Presence Limits

The problem with popularity is that when we try to achieve it, we can end up pushing the professional presence limits to the side in hopes for a more popularity on social media.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the quest for creating a viral post, jumping on a bandwagon or pushing the envelope knowing that you will gain views, shares, like and comments.

Far too often I’ve seen great accounts or posts by officers that try to one-better themselves; go for the next level of humor or shock and awe. The thinking is, “If that last one was good, this one will be great.”

What happens though is you can end up offending people (for the wrong reasons), using someone as an embarrassment tool, putting out bad content or just showing a simple lack of professionalism and good judgement.

Case In Point

I read an article this morning out of Australia about a Tweet gone bad by the Wembley Police. (Click here for the article)

The Wembley Police ( @WembleyPol ) shows a regular flair for creative posts which have garnered good attention and popularity while being professional, yet very relatable to their public. (All good things).

The tweet in question is this one…

Photo Credit: Daily Mail via @Twitter

Photo Credit: Daily Mail via @Twitter

The picture alone should have caused a pause for reflection by the person who posted the Tweet. The use of the word “gooch” while adding vivid description, was not needed as part of the post.

This is a story that you could tweet about in many different ways and elicit great reaction without the panty pic and by using a softer description.facepalm

The Fix

What do you do when you “overstep” such as in this case? Exactly what the Wembley Police did.
1) Recognize it as potentially problematic
2) Remove it
3) Move on

Go one step further and re-post the story with a different creative image and tweet.

This is an errant post and that’s it. It won’t damage the overall reputation of the Wembley Police and I hope the person who posted it merely got a, “Be a little more careful next time.”

The best piece of advice there is, as the spokesperson for the Wembley Police said…

Which should always be the mantra before hitting the post, tweet, publish, send, whatever else there is button.

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Senseless Police Brutality

How…why…what could have been done that was so bad to warrant being hung and then shot?

Our #nationaldonutday mixed emotions continue at the range……. #doughnuts #jeffco #denver #sheriff #deputy #doughnut #embracethestereotype

A video posted by Jefferson County Sheriff (@jeffcosheriffco) on

I would love to see a disclaimer that no square glazed donuts were harmed in the filming of this #NationalDonutDay special, but I can’t.

Far cry from the happier times I wrote about once before from them. http://walkingthesocialmediabeat.com/2015/03/03/you-just-won-the-internet-today/

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Yes It Is Horrible

I came across this tweet and I was perplexed…

horrible engagement

Yes. Yes it is horrible (the identifiers have been removed to protect the innocent)

What exactly was the police agency that provided this content into the social stream of Twitter referring to as “Horrible”?

  1. Was it the story that was hidden in a blind Facebook link?
  2. Was it the lack of description for what was horrible?
  3. Was it the pure lack of authenticity in the tweet?
  4. Was it the tweet itself?

I go with the last one. The agency was describing their own tweet as horrible and they’re right on the money…it is horrible.


Well, for starters look at the first three points above. Because of the three questions that the tweet left me with, it’s a horrible tweet.

It is a waste of time and serves no redeeming purpose or value.

The worst part is that this post on Facebook needs to be seen and if I was a resident of these communities I may have glanced right past the tweet.

Now if the tweet had said, “Help ABC Police find this suspect for the horrible offences he’s alleged to have committed. Check out the Facebook post.” I would for sure click the link. Add a picture of the scumbag in and you’d have me for sure.

How about a pure Tweet that said, “Wanted for sex offences against minors. Can you help get him off the streets? With a picture and a link and a hashtag?? GOLD

Instead you’re asking me to click a link with no description other than the word…”Horrible”

How Does This Happen?

No one just tweets a Facebook link like this. It’s because of a magic feature within Facebook that allows you to post everything you do on Facebook to Twitter. When people are setting up their Facebook account they think to themselves, “Oh what a great idea…it will save me a lot of time.” That translated means, “I only have to do half the work for all the glory.”

It’s very much like the case study about cross populating from Instagram to other platforms. (Click Here To Read That Post)

Well we know the truth of that. If you only do half the work in anything, it’s a job poorly done.

Here Is An Even Worse Example...This department only communicates from Facebook To Twitter. I especially like the first Tweet.

Here Is An Even Worse Example

Apparently the agency above only tweets from Facebook to Twitter….I especially like the first one.

Turn off the auto post from Facebook to Twitter feature and forget you ever saw it. 

When you are signed into your Facebook account goto: Facebook.com/Twitter and unlink the pages or your profile from Twitter.  (Or at the very least, choose specific content only.)  Forget I said that. Just unlink them.

Facebook to Twitter autopost feature

Only linked for demonstration purposes

And before you ask, Yes…unlink your “auto post” from Twitter to Facebook as well.

Be authentic. Be engaging. Be great…not lazy.


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