3 social media lessons from police departments’ viral ‘lip sync challenge’

Law enforcement agencies are earning kudos—not for police work, but for
their dance moves.

The Norfolk, Virginia Police Department's version of “Uptown Funk” has
earned the organization media coverage—as well as garnering more than 39
million views on Facebook:


How to transform dull stories into compelling content

It's one of many videos in a viral lip sync challenge that has been
recently spreading across law enforcement agencies.

7 News Miami reported:

It all began in Texas, when the Bexar County Sheriff's Office shared a
video of deputy Alexander Mena singing “Fuiste Mala” by the Kumbia Kings on
June 19.

Officers who handle social media for the department decided to post Mena's
video, saying he had “a mean lip sync not many can beat.” That prompted
other law enforcement agencies to take on the challenge.

Here are three lessons PR and marketing pros of all stripes can take away
from this growing trend:

1. Showcase the best of your organization: Your employees.

The Corinth, Texas Police Department racked up more than 11 million views
on Facebook for its version of “Party in the U.S.A.”

Some submissions only involved a few members of the organization. The
Tulsa, Oklahoma County Sherriff's Office garnered more than 120,000 views
on Twitter for its video of “The Right Stuff” and Boca Raton Police
Services Department's
rendition of “Frozen” song “Summer” has more than 40,000 views on Twitter and YouTube:

Even nonprofit organization K9s4Cops got involved with a version of “Who Let the Dogs Out,” which has more than 79,500 views on Twitter:

Whether using a story from a single employee or shooting a video involving
an entire department, communicators can boost their engagement and find a
plethora of compelling (and sometimes, funny) content within their
organizations' walls.

Don't forget to turn to your staff when sniffing out your next story.

2. Seek expert guidance.

Several organizations, such as the Martinsville, Indiana and Crandall, Texas police departments, enlisted the help of digital media professionals
for their videos:

Many communicators know the struggle of a small budget, but having a
professional help you shoot or edit videos or create eye-catching
infographics can save you time in the long run—and yield a cleaner, more
enticing result.

Look for new hires with skills that your current team lacks, and be willing
to ask specialists for help on certain tactics and content efforts. Even if
you turn to them for advice and training, you can be better off.

3. Get others involved.

A key component to the virality of these lip sync videos are the direct
challenges that the law enforcement agencies are issuing other departments.
It's reminiscent of the overwhelming success of the
ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014

When you get others involved—whether that's asking your followers for input
or challenging industry peers—you can exponentially expand your reach.

Here's how the Norfolk Police Department responded to Seattle Police
Department accepting the challenge:

The Norfolk Police Department also recently tagged several celebrity influencers and talk show hosts, including Chrissy Teigen, Ellen Degeneres and Jimmy Fallon:

The second tweet further expands the challenge's reach by tagging those with large followings, while the first underlines the importance of engagement—even if it's a competitor. Take, for example, Moon Pie reaching out to Wendy's on Twitter and grabbing kudos, or Twitch and Blizzard racking up likes for their Twitter back-and-forth.

What do you think of this lip sync battle, PR Daily readers?

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