You may not know Sydneysider Dejan Stojadinovic's name, but we can almost guarantee he's made you laugh recently. Why? Because Dejan is the man behind those hilarious NSW Police Force Facebook posts we all love.
After we recently spent a bit of time (okay, so much time) stalking the page, we decided we needed to find out more about the guy responsible for the LOLs. So below, we pick his brains about everything from how old he is and where he gets his inspiration from, to which posts are his favourite. Scroll to read! And Dejan and co., we thank you.
Are you the one looking after the NSW Police Force Facebook page?
Ah yes, so we've got a team of three: myself, my coordinator and a support officer. We've also got a great media unit that helps with workshopping ideas.
[Laughs] Yep, we're all guys.
How old are you all?
I am 27. My coordinator is a bit older, he's the leader of the team. And then Ron, the media support officer, he's a bit younger. It's quite a spread of ages.
What is your role within the police force?
We're the digital media team. We look after social media and our website stuff as well. Updating content, removing content, all that sort of stuff on the site. Plus all our social media channels, so strategy posting, moderation and everything over Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat . . .
Where do you get your inspiration from?
We do a bit of research. I personally like to keep on top of a lot of popular culture trends and take a peek at some other pages on Facebook and see what's trending. Then I guess we see what's popular and what people are responding to, and then we try to appropriate that with our policing message. We've found that it's been pretty popular so far.
When did you start this strategy?
When we really ramped it up it was probably about December or January just gone. That's really when we started. We saw the explosive growth probably from about February onwards — that's when it started to catch on and we had crazy growth.
You're so quick on the uptake. The #BowWowChallenge one was so fast, I don't think a lot of people even knew what it meant yet! Is one of you in charge of posting, one in charge of research, or do you all just do a bit of everything together?
It's a bit of team effort. I do have a particular interest in memes and stuff so a lot of the time I will come up with an idea and then take it out to my coordinator and we'll workshop some ideas around it and put it out there.
Who came up with the Snow Patrol one?
[Laughs] Ah, that was me.
Do certain styles of posts do better than others?
It's kind of strange because our most popular post to date, the "Rain Drop Drop Top" one, that was a simple text post. So to say that videos do 10 times better than text . . . normally they'd probably be a little bit more engaging but in that circumstance, that did much better than a video post. I guess it comes down to what the actual message behind the content is. I think that's been where we've tried to finesse it. Being very concise works a little bit better, too. It's just an additional strategy too — our Facebook page is still full of all our full media releases and anything else. These short-form, quick, quirky posts are just another way for us to push our messaging.
How long ago did you start with the funny stuff on Facebook? Did it take you a little while to get there with the posts?
No, not so much. In the middle of last year we saw the algorithm change on Facebook and that was kind of a big challenge for us, and a lot of other organisations, where organic reach was just plummeting. We were just trying to think of a way — like, how can we get our messages out there to the community?
And then we noticed on Facebook in our communities that people were tagging in memes and sharing memes and we though, "Oh, this is interesting. Maybe we can tie into this humorous tone but still apply a policing message to it." And it's actually worked. It was pretty much designed from the start to increase the possibility of the audience that we had actually seeing our posts. We've been quite happy, our engagement level has gone through the roof and even in the last seven days we've gained about 20,000 followers and reached over 18 million people. And this is all purely organic. It's been working really well.
Wow. We recently ran a story on some of your funniest posts and it went absolutely mental. The popularity is insane!
It's been really good and I think a part of it as well is that a lot of people don't expect the police to be making memes and cracking jokes and being funny — and I think that's where a lot of the popularity has come from.
This is such a good way to get the message across and show that you guys are real people behind the police identity.
That's right. And the reality is, probably a lot of young people's interactions with the police, I would say, aren't ones that they want or that they're probably comfortable with. But I guess that this strategy kind of shows them that we are human and that we do like to have laugh. It also probably helps them understand our role in the community a little bit more — why we do certain things, or why we push certain messaging.
You'd be appealing to so many young people now, right? And previously that wouldn't have been the case.
No, that's right! And we've definitely seen that demographic of our page grow since the introduction of the strategy, for sure.
You seem to have a particular issue with indicating, speeding and keeping left unless overtaking. Are they the most common offences in New South Wales?
I know that speeding is the number one contributing factor to fatal accidents in New South Wales but I think it's just anecdotally — not indicating, speeding and not keeping left are just things that we talk about in the office. Every time you drive on a weekend or a public holiday it's just super frustrating. And I think a lot of people agree because every post that we do about that sort of stuff, they just go crazy.
Do you guys keep your identities semi-hidden or are people starting to know who you are?
We've managed to remain relatively unknown. I've been involved in a few articles but funnily enough no one is still really mentioning my name on the comments which is quite nice — it's nice to have that air of anonymity [laughs]!
It's so mysterious! I've been waiting for someone to tag you somewhere.
It's actually only happened twice! The thing is, it's more to reiterate the messages of the police force, it's not really about me or our team and I think that's the important thing. I'm not out to get glory, we're just trying to get the police's messaging out to the community and I think it's been working for us.
Where do you see the Facebook posts going?
We're still growing very quickly, people are still reacting really well to our posts. We are pretty good at keeping on top of what's popular and what's not popular — you know, two years ago memes weren't very popular and I dare say in two years, with the nature of digital, they probably won't be popular again so we'll have to change our approach again. At the moment though, I think they're still very relevant so we'll keep tying into them.
Do you have a favourite post?
I did like the Snow Patrol one [laughs] because it just popped into my head randomly when I saw that photo. But actually the Lion King one is probably one of my favourites. It was so simple.
Was that you too?
It was, it was. A lot of people in the office were getting so frustrated because I kept laughing at my own jokes, which is probably a bad thing to do [laughs].
This story has been updated since its original publication.
This story originally appeared on POPSUGAR Australia.