Springfield launches Facebook page

The page, titled City of Springfield, Ohio - Government, was created last week and had more than 600 likes as of Monday evening.

“We thought it was another way to reach out to our citizens and communicate with them,” Deputy City Manager Bryan Heck said.

Earlier this year, the city spent about $40,000 to update its website to make it more user friendly. The new site also includes mobile and tablet versions. The Facebook page is a part of the city’s strategy to provide easier online access to residents, Heck said.

“The website was the first step,” Heck said. “We want to continue to build our other opportunities for communicating with citizens … We thought (Facebook) was a great start because there are so many people on Facebook.”

The page will be used to provide updates to residents and allow them to register for programs using online forms, Heck said.

“People want to be able to get to the information quickly,” Heck said.

A core team of city staff members has been selected to operate the page, he said. They’re in the process of finalizing the city’s social media policy.

“We’re going to be monitoring it very closely,” Heck said. “We hope to be responsive and also be engaging by the number of posts we put out there.”

Several city departments — including police, fire and community development — already their own pages on the popular social media site. Some of those pages could be streamlined in the future, Heck said.

Earlier this month, more than 50 people attended three different focus groups held by a consultant to talk about city services, Heck said. A fourth focus group open to the public has been planned to get more feedback, Heck said, but hasn’t been scheduled yet.

The city is also using phone and online surveys to get more information, he said.

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