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New to managing social media at your organisation? 5 tips to help you…

Social media can be a very powerful tool for government organisations to connect with citizens. Whether you are using social media to alert a neighbourhood of a crime, or are promoting an event, using platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn can be an effective way to keep your audience informed.

With more citizens connected online than ever before and high expectations of government to provide the information people need online and in an immediate way, organisations must ensure they have an online presence that’s fit-for-purpose. Developing your pick of social media channels that are appropriate to your customers can be a great way to build effective and transparent relationships with them.

And remember, if you’re using the GovDelivery Communications Cloud, you can automate posts to your social channels when you schedule your e-bulletins. And vice versa. This automated messaging across multiple platforms will save your team time and effort!

Whether you are a social media novice or expert, here are a few tips for managing social media on behalf of your organisation:

1. Find a mentor

You’ve probably heard a friend or colleague talk about how they had to ask their son or daughter for help when they got stuck trying to use a new social tool. Asking for help is the way forward! Don’t shy away from new-fangled social channels and functionality. Social media is a brilliant opportunity for the public sector to engage more people in its critical missions.

Perhaps many of your colleagues have grown up with rise of digital and the proliferation of social media – they may be more experienced at using social media than you, so don’t be afraid to ask if you have questions on functionality and conventions. If you are looking for more answers on social media use in government, check out this blog post: A Social Media FAQ for Government.

2. Test what works

When developing a social media strategy, it’s okay to not have all of the answers right away. Sometimes it’s about trying different types of post and testing what works. Is your strategy to increase engagement in a particular initiative? Drive people to your website? Gather feedback, or monitor complaints? Depending on your strategy and overall objective, what works might “look” different.

He are a few items to consider testing to optimise your engagement with communities online:

  • Imagery: Use relevant photos associated with your post. If you’re posting about the same event or subject multiple times, try using a different photo to see what drives the most interactions. Here’s a guide to recommended image size per channel.
  • Timing: Try scheduling a post to go out over the weekend, when readership is 17 percent higher.
  • Wording: Have you considered asking a question to strike up a conversation with your followers? Don’t be afraid to interact and show a bit of personality. People will respect your organisation for showing a human side.
  • Links: According to Salesforce, 92 percent of Twitter interactions (replies and retweets) happen when readers click links. So be sure to include links to content your followers will find useful or inspiring.

3. Take advantage of social media downtime

Spending some time researching on social media can be a great way to build lists of stakeholders, influencers and other target audiences important to your organisation’s missions. Next, search their social profiles and make connections with them. Initiating the first move will increase the likelihood that key influencers will engage with you in the future.

Twitter has a strong advanced search capability, so if key influencers don’t immediately come to mind, try searching by keywords to find more people and groups.

4. Aim for the “less is more” approach

When citizens raise their hand and let you know they are interested in engaging with you on social media, they likely want one clear place to go to make that happen. Whether it’s your official agency account or a hashtag for an initiative, the opt-in interaction on social media should be as easy as possible for new and future followers. For agencies with multiple Twitter or Facebook accounts, it’s understandable how people can get confused about which one they should follow and use. You may want to consider rationalising your accounts and deciding whether you need them all? Are they all effective? What would you “lose” if you consolidate accounts?

Multiple accounts can be a challenge for many government organisations – e.g. if you have several office locations, or different departments and subject matter focal points. Although sometimes multiple accounts will be necessary, try aiming for fewer accounts with a more centralised approach to managing social media. Quality control will be easier to manage, you’ll have visibility of messaging, and you’ll be able to think strategically about the need for more accounts and train people in the right way and share your own experience.

5. Be open to cross promotion

Cross promotion with other organisations on social media can be a strategic way to increase followers and share your message across multiple channels. Think about the organisations that align with your agency’s mission, and reach out to see if they’re interested in cross-promoting your social media posts. And don’t forget to offer up your agency’s social platforms to do the same! When we help each other, we’ll see greater benefits on social media. Reach is (almost) everything, remember…

Do you have a tip for managing social media in government? Let us know @GovDeliveryUK

If you have questions about how GovDelivery solutions integrate with social media and help you reach new levels of automation (and save you time!), email us at