Friday, April 24, 2015

How the Mayor of Ithaca Reaches Student Population on Social Media

Ithaca, NY is a small city located in Central New York that sits on the southern short of Cayuga Lake, which is one of the Finger Lakes. With Cornell and Ithaca College both within the City boundaries, nearly half of the population in Ithaca, NY consists of students. For a local government, this means communication with these individuals needs to be particularly strategic, since this demographic of individuals communicates in distinctly different ways. Naturally, one of the best ways to reach these individuals is through social media- but simply establishing a presence in this arena is not sufficient enough. According to, millenials rely on social media for their main source of news and updates. They do so using platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram.

A review of the City of Ithaca's social media strategies shows that Ithaca is communicating to their student population in a very unique way. Instead of reaching them through their City accounts, they are reaching them through Ithaca Mayor, Svante Myrick. Myrick, appears to be the preferred source of Ithaca news by this demographic judging by the likes, follows and shares he has received on his accounts. While it's reasonable to assume that some of Mayor Myrick's success in this area is somewhat attributed to the fact that he's also a millenial Myrick was born in 1987), I feel that there are a number of key things that local governments can learn from him.

Mayor Myrick maintains an Instagram, Twitter and Facebook page. He has been on Instagram since February 2014 and has 2,111 followers; on Twitter since September 2008 and has 10,800 followers; and on Facebook since 2005 and has 7,529 followers. Mayor Myrick’s content primarily focuses on updating the community on major events in the City. This includes anything from promoting events like the Spartan Race, sharing photo updates of fire damage to a local landmark, or spreading the word about a campaign to turn a parking space into a park. The most interesting thing to be noted about Mayor Myrick’s approach is the language that he uses. It is rare to see him us “promotional” style language that is brimming with exclamation points. The posts include short sentences and casual language, like “come check it out” and “who’s in.” It is this kind of language that best reaches millennials, according to According to this source, “short, sweet, and to the point is best.” It appears that this strategy is working well for Mayor Myrick, as his posts are frequently liked, re-tweeted and shared by individuals who identify as currently attending colleges in the area. 

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