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"With social media, you need content that people will engage with." – Paul Halford, Police national manager, marketing and communication

Media makes dog's breakfast of Police audit

An audit of Police’s social media output caused a little media kerfuffle last month with headlines suggesting Police should “dial back on the puppies”.

While some, no doubt, agreed there should be fewer puppy pics, others were quick to defend the Police Facebook and Instagram posts that celebrate our hard-working police dogs.

The story, which was the result of an OIA request from the Otago Daily Times, was itself a perfect example of puppy power, with the line about “fewer puppy posts” being picked up by news sites around the world.

One headline on the metro.co.uk website said, Police told to stop posting so many cute puppy pics and get back to work.

In fact, the actual wording of the report from the Socialites marketing company didn’t suggest “fewer puppy posts” or to “dial back” on them.

The company actually praised Police for its “human and authentic” social media tone and said it considered New Zealand Police to be on a par with some of the country’s best-performing brands in the social media space.

In reference to posts about dogs it said only: “As we know this is a regular discussion point at Police… we’ve also addressed puppies.”

It did recommend an increase in posts about operational work to help engage with communities and an increase in the use of te reo, where possible, all of which appeared to be interpreted by some reporters as coming down against #FurryFridays and #FridayFloof.

Paul Halford, Police national manager, marketing and communication, confirms that the audit didn’t recommend fewer puppy posts, as such, but it did suggest more operational content, and, he says, Police will be taking aspects of the audit on board.

However, he says, there already is a lot of operational content and “puppies still have a place – people love them and, with social media, you need content that people will engage with”.

To that end, he adds, Police is keen to keep sharing “the amazing things our Police are doing every day” and to hear from staff with any content ideas, social.media@police.govt.nz.

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