WHAT THEY DID: A light-hearted post to Facebook poked a little fun at the new parking payment system the town had just installed. They asked Facebook fans: "What's great about these new pay-by-space parking machines?" and provided these answers: "a) they require a PhD to understand; b) they create a spontaneous community of befuddled customers; c) they also dispense anxiety medication or; d) all of the above." The response to that Facebook post drew dozens of comments, so staffers at the OCM decided to do a story, asking people using the technology for the first time how difficult or easy it was to follow the directions. They also tested the payment system themselves. Then they posted that story to Facebook today.
THE TAKEAWAY: We've always said social media isn't simply a way to drive traffic to your site and engage with your community - it can also be a great place to find stories. This is a perfect example. They may not have expected their humorous "poll" to draw such a strong reponse, but they were quick to react. It's also a good example of a "virtuous circle" of engagment: they reached out to their fans with an engaging post, their fans responded, the OCM staff responded in kind.