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Streamlined city communications in Stockbridge, GA replaces use of multi-channels to reach citizens

City of Stockbridge

Stockbridge, GA

The City of Stockbridge, GA is strengthening their communications strategy - specifically around their redevelopment projects and COVID-19 updates - by implementing a paired user mobile application and content management platform that allows them to more effectively communicate and engage with their citizens.

Topics Covered

Civic Technology
Customer Service

Funding

General Fund/Existing Public Funds

Project Status

Operational since 2021

Gov Champion

Public Information Officer

Problem Addressed

The City of Stockbridge needed a new way to effectively reach residents beyond updates on the city website and social media. 

The City realized that social media wasn’t a reliable avenue for official communications because not every resident has a social media account or even wants one. Social media usage comes with privacy concerns, among others. Additionally, the City had no control over residents’ comments on social media posts, which added risk to controlling the public-facing narrative. With a population of ~30,000, Stockbridge’s public information officer (PIO) is single-handedly responsible for managing its entire communications strategy and operations. Overall, these forms of communication required a significant time investment by the PIO to manually update the website and social media accounts and to keep the information synchronized.

The need for a reliable solution became apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic when the City wanted to make the streaming of Council meetings available for both web and mobile users and send updates on office closures and reopenings. Further, the City has been implementing redevelopment plans for its downtown area, Main Street, and knew it needed to be more proactive about communicating about the project and its progress to ensure a successful re-opening.

Solutions Used

The city expanded resident communication efforts with an app that makes engaging with the city and accessing services easy.

Stockbridge strengthened its communications strategy by partnering with ITsimple to better balance and optimize its content.

ITsimple provided the City of Stockbridge with the entire technological ecosystem needed to make a streamlined communications method possible. ITsimple makes publication of content easy, efficient, and effective via SpotlightCMS, ITsimple’s turnkey community engagement solution. SpotlightCMS is a real-time community engagement platform that enables management of multiple publication channels – mobile, web, and all social media presences – from one user-friendly dashboard and single data entry point. It saves both time and resources and puts vital information where it needs to be - in the hands of their residents in the avenues they already use to access information.

SpotlightCMS pairs with a free end-user app, It’sMyTown, that puts information and services in one location for city residents and makes it far easier for them to engage and find the information they need. It’sMyTown is freely available from Apple and Google app stores and has no privacy concerns or social media dependency because no registration is required and no personal information is gathered or stored. Additionally, It'sMyTown helps build a sense of community, public trust, and supports local engagement between government and citizens. The City of Stockbridge is now quickly able to reach thousands of residents with minimal advertising and effort and their user base continues to grow.

Outcomes

1

The city can simultaneously publish all of its content updates across its website, app, and social media presences when information changed rapidly which saves them both time and money.

2

Stockbridge garnered over 10,000 monthly engagements in the first 3 months of usage. The City is able to use analytics reports to make informed decisions based on real citizen engagement.

3

The City acquired users 8 times faster on It'sMyTown in comparison to the City’s newsletter and social channels.

4

Since SpotlightCMS has 0 back-end IT requirements, the City of Stockbridge was able to conserve its IT resources both financially and in terms of maintenance and support.

Lessons Learned

1

A website by itself is no longer enough. The PIO recognized that a strategy was needed to reach residents where they were spending significant amounts of time - on their mobile devices.

2

A mobile-friendly and responsive website doesn't provide the user experience and functionality of a mobile app. An actual mobile presence was needed.

3

Required user registration for a newsletter or social media impedes communication efforts. It'sMyTown requires no registration and removes that barrier to adoption.

4

Customer satisfaction increased by meeting our community members where they are and with a “concern-free” mobile app like It’sMyTown.

Something Unique

The PIO was surprised by the level of creativity and support she got from the ITsimple team who ensured that any IT-related concerns were quickly alleviated or never happened at all. The launch and announcement were extremely successful with ITsimple participating in a live public virtual event to share the news about the app with the public.

Who Should Consider

Small and medium-sized municipalities and counties looking to improve their customer satisfaction with community engagement via modern website capabilities and mobile experiences.

Last Updated

Mar 23rd, 2022
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