Visuals key to department’s social media success

Outside of its recognition as the federal social media cream of the crop for drawing in users with stunning images of American wildlife and national parks, the Department of the Interior is becoming increasingly known for its ability to slip in posts on policy information every once in a while in between.
(Interior Instagram)

The Department of the Interior has found a crafty way to spread awareness of conservation and environmental policy efforts through social media.

The Interior has almost 1.5 million followers between Instagram and Twitter alone — it also posts on Vine, Facebook, Tumblr and Snapchat — and by slipping in posts about policy and conservation, Rebecca Matulka, senior digital media strategist for Interior, said she is able to reach a much bigger audience than traditional mediums to spread awareness.

“It’s the photos that draw people to our accounts and allows us to share all the other great work the Department is doing,” Matulka said in an interview with Melody Kramer of the General Services Administration digital services team 18F. “The result is our policy-related content reaches a much larger audience than most other federal government agencies.”

Every so often, the Interior Instagram feed features a message about wildlife and nature conservation efforts. For example, this post about the resurgence of nearly extinct West Indian manatees in Florida waters:


(Interior Instagram)

Scrolling through its photos, users can go from a picture of the North Cascades National Park in the state of Washington to another of National Key Deer Refuge in the Florida Keys — 9,200 acres of land named after and established in 1957 to protect the Key deer and other wildlife from extinction.

“Interior is known for its stunning landscapes and cute wildlife photos, but the department’s mission includes more than just those things,” Matulka said.

Indeed — while these photos look great on a smartphone today, the Interior hopes that by spreading awareness to Americans on social media, it can protect “America’s special places so that past and future generations can enjoy them,” she said. “It’s really great to see this connection.”

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