Episode: VMC #183 – Social Media for Government & Public Sector
This is a presentation that I gave today in Finland at Logistia Technology Center (Kauhajoki). I was invited to talk about social media for government and public sector.
Beside the classic and general introduction to the social media environment, in order to make sure that everyone will have a basic understanding of what we are talking about (if they are not already familiar with it), I focused my talk on why local government and public sector should look at social media. The reason why I gave particular emphasis to ‘why they should bother with it’ is because social media channels and tools will evolve and strategies change from one organization to another.
Below you’ll find
Video (15.38 min)
This is a summary of my presentation:
The thoughts expressed in this talk apply to a wide variety of organizations but in this specific case I tried to emphasize the strong relation between social media and public institutions / local government answering these three questions
- What is social media?
- Why bother with it?
- what should be done?
1) What is social media?
You haven’t been living under a rock you probably already heard about social media, but if you are still not familiar with it imagine social media as an umbrella term that defines the various activities that integrate:
- social interaction
- construction of words, pictures, videos, audio
Examples of social media channels are:
- Communication (blogs, microblogs -twitter, etc.)
- Collaboration (wikis, social bookmarking -delicious, etc.)
- Multimedia (photos -flickr, videos -youtube, etc.)
What we are seeing today is that these channels are often merging in social social environments (just look at facebook, etc.)
Truth is that social media is nothing new. We have always been social and conversations have always taken place. The difference is that today we can do it also online and organizations, that never had the opportunity, can now listen and join the conversation.
2) Why bother with it?
Well when we look at conversations we have to keep in mind that what happens online doesn’t stay onlineâ€¦ Or better say, it remains published and shared online but its effect usually spread or is reflected offline too (and vice versa).
What public sector needs to understand?
- Reputation: It’s their social responsibility to embrace this change.
- Perception: Their social media media participation will play an essential role in how the public perceive them.
- Measurement: Their achievement will be evaluated not just on what they did, but also on people’s perception.
There’s a change happening in public engagement
- You (public sector) don’t know how the result will be… but your engagement will determinate how the outcome is going to be.
- What you know is that you must be open to be changed by it.
Social media is not just global. It’s local too. Social media represent
- rich sources of local interest topics, news, stories
- local communication channels
Social media is diminishing the ‘regional’ or ‘national’ concepts
- We are shifting from an the old environment in which we knew where the barriers were standing to a new world without limits.
Each social media connection established on the digital landscape has the potential of adding (or reducing)…
…to what organizations do
3) What should be done?
Of course this can’t be said in 10 min especially because strategies differ from organization to organization but few guide lines that public sector can keep in mind are:
- develop a online strategic communication plan
- with specific objectives, target audience, channels, measurement metrics, etc.
- in connection with the overall communication strategy
- concrete actions characterized by social media tactics
- appropriate and in sync with the strategy
- (after listen & analyze) act only when and where is needed
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