They say you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
Along those lines, officers with the Fayetteville Police Department have recently discovered that a little bit of honey in the form of humor might also be among the best ways to catch criminals.
Over the past six months, masterminds Sgt. Craig Stout and Corpoal John Snyder have more than tripled their following on Facebook using an out-of-the-box approach to everyday postings on the social networking site.
Instead of dry and straightforward posts, theirs are littered with pop culture references, memes, song lyrics, and well-written, humorous commentary that have proved to help spread their messages further.
Those extra eyeballs and participation from the public has in turn, helped the department to catch the criminals they’re seeking.
Lightening up online
A post by Sgt. Stout paying tribute to (and poking fun at) Corporal Snyder
Stout said the change in tone on the department’s Facebook page is no accident.
“About a year ago, I went to some social media training put on by Aaron Slader with the Rosenberg Police department,” Stout said. “They are kind of a trendsetter in that they have the third largest police department page, and they’re just a small community outside of Houston, Texas.”
The Rosenberg page admins use a similarly fun approach, and have built a following of more than 100,000 Facebook fans.
That success has led to other departments around the country trying to utilize a little bit of humor with their social media posts in order to more effectively connect with the public, and get more mileage out of their social media posts.
“After those classes, I realized we could bring the idea back (to Fayetteville) and have some fun with it,” he said. “So we started lightening up a bit.”
Not long after Stout’s return, officer Jonathan Snyder was assigned to help with the project after he was injured in a motorcycle accident in the line of duty.
Snyder, it turned out, has a real knack for writing, and also connecting with folks through social media.
“At the time, (Snyder) didn’t even have a Facebook page,” Stout recalled. “But he has a really quick wit, a large vocabulary, and is very intelligent. So I put him on it, and it has really taken off.”
One of Snyder’s greatest hits