Monitoring social media for government agencies

So with the New Year your Commissioner has decided he or she wants to look into using social media for your agency. Great! Now how to move forward… Just like many government and private groups, you are looking to do more with less. So, your agency needs to be smart in its approach to delving into blogging or otherwise engaging with the public on any of the social platforms. The first thing you should consider doing is looking at what is currently being said about your agency, current projects, and key personnel online. Also, it may be wise to see what other agencies like yours are doing in social media spaces. From there, you can make an informed decision as to whether or not to engage as well as how best to do this. Plan – it’s always best to gather your thoughts before diving into a new venture. Perhaps you can contact your marketing or public relations personnel within the agency to see if a monitoring solution is already in place. Implement – If no such monitoring is being done in social media, then you can discuss possible options such as leveraging various online tools to create a snapshot of the buzz about your agency. Alternately, such a snapshot might be compiled by the agency’s marketing firm or another outside source. Crisis – The planning stages are also a good time to address the possibility of what to do if you find less than positive chatter about your department’s latest project or political chatter critical of your department head. It’s good to know ahead of time who in the chain of command needs to be made aware, and if any action needs to be taken, how that would play out. Review – Once you have a snapshot about what the public is saying about the agency in online forums such as local blogs, Facebook or Twitter, the team can review the findings and decide how best to move forward. Whether the agency begins monitoring these platforms on a more continual basis or decides to dive head first into communicating with the public through these avenues, a baseline has been established. Recommit – If your agency continues to listen to the public through the lens of social media, it may be best to task an individual or team with this monitoring for a set period of time. As they become acclimated to the ups and downs, more can be done to address concerns raised online or otherwise engage with the public through social media.
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