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The Nanny Nine: Mayor Brad Tabke

From the first Tweet I saw from Brad Tabke, I could tell he was a go-getter.  I had recently begun my involvement with the local Chamber of Commerce and he was one of the first to make me feel welcome.  Shortly after, we met at an event and his in-person character was the same as online.  He listens to what people are saying, and gives honest, courteous feedback.  We soon found we shared common ground on the use of Social Media, even as it pertains to non-business application, particularly city and government areas.

As soon as Brad started running for Mayor of our city of Shakopee, he had a Facebook and Twitter ID for it, and soon his blog followed.  The momentum was building, and it continued after he took the oath of office.  Our city may be small in comparison to many, but we have a lot going on here, and Mayor Tabke is on top of it.  He shares via Social Media not just to inform people, but to also get support, and often to listen to the other side of a current topic & discuss the issues.

1. How long have you been using Social Networking for your business?

I began using social networking for my previous business 2008 or 09 but had been using email marketing before that for creating digital communities.

2. Is your business using Facebook &/or Twitter?

As mayor, I use both Facebook and Twitter. Tried Google+ but couldn’t stick with it because Hootsuite doesn’t support it yet.

3. Facebook vs Twitter – do you like one better? If yes, why?

I love twitter. I use both of them often but with very different purposes. Facebook posts must be impactful and get likes or comments in order to show up in fans’ streams. Therefore I try to use FB more strategically with information I think people will engage with and share.

Twitter is much more immediate and short-lived. I use Twitter more like a public journal because people want to know what I’m doing as Mayor of Shakopee. I post a lot of information to Twitter and post important items multiple times to try and reach people at different times.

The other thing I do that seems to work is post foursquare checkins to Twitter. I only check in if it is pertinent to Shakopee and people notice. It is great.

4. Do you post daily?

Yes – and more!

5. What is your favorite thing about Social Networking?

The ease and ability to get people information where they want it.

6. What do you think is the biggest benefit of Social Networking?

Building on the last questions – everyone is busy and people aren’t going to take the time to dig into the local newspaper or blogs to figure out if something will impact their lives. Governments and elected officials need to do a better job of meeting people where they are and not expecting them to come to us. That is why I use social (digital) media.

7. How do you measure Social Networking, and explain:

I don’t have any specific ways I measure my return. It makes me feel good when I get a lot of comments or replies, but I’ve found those don’t really capture how much people are listening. I get just as much feedback at physical networking events or appearances about what people saw on facebook or read on twitter as I do online. It is more of a gut feeling to interpret what is and is not engaging.

8. What is the best moment you’ve had on a Social Networking site?

Easily Twitter and the Vikings Stadium announcement was the most fun I’ve ever had in social media. It was so useful and impactful to be able to answer questions, build buzz and continue debate in a quick, easy format.

9. What is your best piece of advice to other businesses about Social Networking?

Don’t be scared. So many elected officials are scared of saying something wrong and it showing up on TV or in the media. As long as you post things that are true to who you are and you feel are important to your listeners, you’ll be fine. Even if you do post a ‘gaffe’ you’ll be able to back it up and the people you really care about will know you well enough to understand what you meant.

Brad Tabke

Facebook: Brad Tabke for Mayor

Twitter: @MayorTabke

The Nanny Nine brought to you by the: Social Networking Nanny


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