Does your department use social media to its full potential?
Do you find they don’t invest in it as a substantial communication channel?
Do you feel like your agency is avoiding social media?
Well, if there isn’t a structured social media strategy with the appropriate policies and procedures in place, you can understand why they may want to pretend it doesn’t exist! Interaction and communication is the core of what social media is all about, so simple disagreeable, unpleasant, or downright inappropriate comments can quickly draw unwanted attention far and wide from the very audience you are working to engage more often with. Which is why your department – not needs – but should invest time and resource into a solid social media strategy, and most importantly, training your ‘social media’ frontline staff.
To minimise the risk of those unwanted – potentially viral – comments, posts, tweets, etc, we have established our ‘top 5 HELLL NO’ list for government agencies on social. If you are considering doing these on your social media – you need to stop and think: HELLLL no…you’ve been warned.
Five things government agencies should never do on social media
1. Create a social media account…just because
Just because the adjacent county or council is going gangbusters on Snapchat, doesn’t mean your agency needs to follow suit. Often, social media accounts are created without a clear purpose. Don’t fall into this trap. Before launching a new social media profile, do your research and make sure you’re choosing the platform that’s fit for (your) purpose, suits your content and is used by your target audience.
2. Wit is good, sarcasm not so much
It’s always entertaining to generate a few laughs amongst your audience, but you are potentially entering dangerous territory if your joke backfires or your message is interpreted as arrogant or rude by your community. A simple miscommunication like this can cause a massive Social Media Storm (SMS) and may take a lot of work to restore your organisation’s image amongst your audience.
3. Allow free access to your social media account amongst your team
Limit your account access to a select few team members. Only those that have thorough training and experience should have the ability to control your social media accounts. Remember these select individuals are on the front line between your organisation and your audience, and are required to make professional and educated decisions that reflect your organistation 24/7.
Further to our last point, you should never have only one person acting as the gatekeeper
Always have a back up plan. Everyone eventually needs to take a sick day, a holiday, or eventually moves on from the organisation. Having multiple administrators across all of your social media platforms will ensure that you will always have secure and seamless access to your accounts.
4. Engage with negative comments – the wrong way
Okay, so as a government agency there’s more red tape when it comes to engaging online. However, that doesn’t mean your agency can’t have an opinion, especially when it comes to correcting misinformed negative comments. Your image is not only reflected in the positive and encouraging messages that you share on social media, but also in how you address and resolve the negative ones. Taking ownership of a problem or correcting misinformed comments/information will show that your agency is proactive – and not reactive – on social media and this will resound with your audience. The only exception to this rule is when the comments are offensive or threatening, this is when you need to escalate the issue and resolve it offline.
5. Failing to plan is planning to fail
one of the biggest pitfalls for social media management is being so focussed on the ‘doing’…uploading content, community management, moderation etc. and not on the strategy. It’s easy to get bogged down in the daily tasks with managing your agency’s social media but doing so without a plan means your agency’s social media maturity becomes stagnant. Plan your content, plan your moderation in and outside business, plan your goals….plan, plan, plan! Without a plan work can easily become like groundhog day.