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Hinderman: Orland Park all in on using social media

Updated: November 28, 2013 6:12AM



Orland Park is embracing new technology, and the point person on the project is Margie Owens-Klotz, the village’s communications manager who’s also Orland Park’s unofficial village historian. Her knowledge of the village’s rich history complements the new advances in technology that are underway.

At the end of one email correspondence with her, Owens-Klotz urged me to “check out the village’s social media sites! We’re cookin’ with gas now!” The familiar links to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were attached. Curious, I checked out the sites and was amazed at how the village keeps the content up-to-date and fresh.

Joe La Margo, the deputy village clerk who’s also public information officer, said that as of Oct. 21, “we have 946 likes or subscribers to the village’s Facebook page. We’re actively pushing to reach 1,000 likes within the next few weeks.”

“The village’s page is a true community effort as we are trying to ‘like’ every Facebook page hosted by an Orland Park business,” La Margo said. “We’ve posted congratulatory messages and links for sports groups and have shared photos that people have submitted. If we find something of interest online — like the number of Orland Park residents who ran the Chicago Marathon — we’ll post a link to keep people up to date on all that’s going on.”

Owens-Klotz said Orland Park’s main population on Facebook “is females in their 40s, many of whom visit the page after 8 p.m. at night. Facebook gives a lot of stats that we look at to see who’s reading our messages, sharing them and adding to our audiences.”

The village unveiled its Facebook, Twitter and YouTube presence in February 2012, when La Margo was named public information officer. Orland Park’s newly designed website (www.orlandpark.org) debuted this summer.

“We have about 650 followers on our Twitter feed and have issued more than 900 tweets since February 2012,” La Margo said. “(Many followers) re-tweet our announcements on to thousands more subscribers, enabling our messages to literally reach thousands of people within minutes.”

Mayor Dan McLaughlin said village officials are “excited” with the village’s use of social media.

“It gives us immediate access to people when village staff post traffic advisories or information about upcoming events. The feedback has been great,” he said.

The village’s “connectivity” does not end on the Internet. There’s a cable television presence, too, through the local access channel. The village took over programming for the channel about four years ago. “Village of Orland Park In-Focus” showcases village programs and events, while “147 South” features people and events in Orland Park.

The village’s public information office also produces smaller segments on village events and programs, airing 15-minute segments, and has had students from Robert Morris and St. Xavier universities produce village-related programming as student projects.

“The village’s use of social media and filling the air time on our government access channel has made a great difference in our communication efforts,” said Trustee Jim Dodge, chairman of the village board’s technology and community engagement committee. “Social media is a major part of many people’s lives, and that’s how they’re getting their news and information and Orland Park is glad to be an active part of it.”

The village invites Orland Park sports groups to submit their games for airing on the local access channel (with specific criteria being met). It also invites local governments (school districts, Orland Township, village library, etc.) to produce their programming that can be aired on the village channel.

On Facebook, search village of Orland Park and “like” the page; the Twitter feed is @VillageOrlandPk and the YouTube channel can be found at VillageofOrlandPark.

So, tune in, check it out, and be in the know.



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