How to use social media to communicate and engage effectively

mrhenderson Uncategorized Leave a Comment

So, GDS have started to produce new guidance – this time for civil servants.  The topic is one close to my heart, on how to use social media to communicate and engage effectively.

The old rules (below) seem to have gone, which is a bit of a shame becasue they were particulalry succinct.

  • Be credible. Be accurate, fair, thorough and transparent.
  • Be consistent. Encourage constructive criticism and deliberation. Be cordial, honest and professional at all times.
  • Be responsive. When you gain insight, share it where appropriate.
  • Be integrated. Wherever possible, align online participation with other offline communications.
  • Be a civil servant. Remember that you are an ambassador for your organisation. Wherever possible, disclose your position as a representative of your Department or Agency.

The new tips are more focused/practical, which is sure to help:-

1) Have a clear idea of your objectives in using social media (behaviour change/service
delivery/consultation/communication)
2) Learn the rules of each social media space before engaging
3) Abide by the Civil Service Code and ask for advice if you are not sure
4) Remember an official account belongs to the Department not the individual
5) Communicate where your citizens are
6) Build relationships with your stakeholders on and offline – social media is just one of many communication channels
7) Try not to channel shift citizens backwards (move from email to telephone for example)
8) Do not open a channel of communication you cannot maintain
9) Understand when a conversation should be taken offline
10) Do not engage with users who are aggressive/abusive

It’s framed a bit funny too – the benefits are hinged around transparency, time and cost savings but less strongly on digital by default, choice and expectation or targeting.  Personally I think it could do with some limiters too – for example, social media can’t really be commended for formal consultations.  That said, it’s all progress.

I’ve been trying to think  about what I may have written.  It’s a bit of a mix between old and new with some twists about content:-

  • Set engagement objectives, evaluate and evolve these using digital insights.
  • Don’t PR too much.  Think carefully about the nature of the digital space in which your content will sit.
  • Content is currency.  Use short and snappy posts.  Recommend useful things.  Reccommend and support others.  Stay positive.
  • Abide by the Civil Service Code and ask for advice if you are not sure
  • Be credible. Be accurate, fair, thorough and responsive.  Do not hide your identity.
  • Try to leverage your social networks so that participants rise up the ladder of increasing engagement with government products and services.
  • Listen, ask questions and respond but do not open a channel of communication you cannot maintain.
  • Be clear about expresions of individual opinion versus those as a representative of HMG.
  • Be concious of avoiding defamation and disrepute or sharing copyrighted material.  Be careful not to share confidential information.
  • Do not engage with users who are aggressive/abusive.  Be vigilant of impersonators or co-ordinated campaigns.

 

 

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