In the world of public sector communications 2011 was the year that people realised they needed to have a social media presence. Or to put it more bluntly to have some kind of Facebook page and a Twitter presence. We think 2012 needs to be the year that local authorities, the NHS, police, housing associations and so forth get serious about social media and start raising their game. So if you have not started doing all this already here is a challenging list of actions for your social media plans in 2012.
- Do a social media baseline for the place that you care about. Find out how many local people are using social networks? Which ones? How often? Where do they hang out on line? Who are your most influential tweeters? What are the most powerful blogs? Who are the most influential citizen journalists? What’s being said about the place that you care about? About your brand? Your projects? Your services? What kind of people don’t have access to social networking in your area?
- Free your staff. Give your staff the freedom to use social media. It’s no good having one Facebook page for your business. If anything people are generally not interested in your corporate Facebook posts. Instead set people free to use social media for the projects and services that they are responsible for. So let leisure centre managers start their own Facebook page for their service, let them tweet about new classes and special offers. Let public health staff create Facebook pages about being healthy. Create a social media presence for every library so that they can engage with their users and so on. Of course it has to be done appropriately, so make sure staff are trained in how to use social technology and how to behave appropriately on social networks (for more about this see www.staysocialsafe.com)
- Set up a social tech team. Maybe half a dozen staff from different parts of the organisation with different roles should come together to pioneer the use of social media. They will keep up to date with the latest technology and spread this knowledge widely
- Give your social tech team a list of social media projects to complete over the next year. Like demonstrating how social media has saved money, improved public engagement, has been used to improve or manage customer service, or has been used to gather intelligence about a local problem.
- Make sure all appropriate staff get trained in social media technology and how it should be used to help them to do their job and to benefit the organisation as a whole. Make sure they understand what is and is not appropriate behaviour. A social media policy will do some of this but training is essential if people are really going to understand the changes that social media has brought to the workplace
- Invest in social media technology especially tools that help you synchronise your communications, manage your engagement and monitor your success
- Shout out from the rooftops that you are using social media and make sure people know all the places where they can engage with you. Don’t hide your Facebook like button at the very bottom of your corporate website.
- Put all your venues on Foursquare and tell all your visitors that they can leave comments and get rewards for checking in (if you can)
- Get your residents on Twitter and Facebook. Make sure that your local community can access social media. More and more influence and news is generated in social media places. If people don’t use it they may miss out on important events and information. Run courses in your communities so that people can join in. Once they do make sure they Like you and Follow you!
- Safeguard your children and staff. There are some dangers of social media and some bad apples out there. Make sure your children and staff know how to stay social safe and protect each other from the pitfalls of the social media revolution (more at www.stayscocialsafe.com)
- If you have not done it yet start booing www.audioboo.com
- Take care of your on line reputation. What people think about you, your organisation, your brand, your staff etc. is being shaped by social networking. And comments and opinions are sticky and viral. You need to monitor what is being said and if you don’t like it or if it is not true then you need to start jousting and influence people’s opinions.
- You have no choice to do all the above.
As always we’d like to hear what you think! And for help come to www.participate.uk.com @participateuk