Saturday, 7 January 2012

29. A Community Approach to Supporting Social Media

Here is the result of some thinking I have been doing for my own Council on how we can best support social media internally.  It seems obvious to me (and to others) that the traditional response of writing a strategy just wouldn’t do for this purpose.  Trouble was that it wasn’t obvious what was the best way to do this corporately so this, for what it is worth, is the approach I have come up with – I did promise I would share it.   

The approach is based on three things:
  • The idea of a social bureaucracy that I have posted up previously where the central organising principle is the community rather than the hierarchy, newtork or market.
  • Ideas I have borrowed by good souls such as Dan Slee and Carl Haggerty 
  • An internal workshop held for staff
The workshop was one I facilitated following the broad principles of appreciative inquiry – in other words focusing on ‘what do we do well and how can we do more?’ rather than ‘what are our problems and how do we solve them?’  The seven proposals that came out of the workshop were:

  1. Review the access / permission policy to provide clearly defined different levels
  2. Market social media use to the organisation to raise awareness
  3. Provide basic training for all staff (including induction)
  4. Provide an integrated corporate website (and intranet) that provides social media in a form fully visible to staff 
  5. Support an internal community of social media ‘enthusiasts’ / pool of expertise (online, via yammer)
  6. Provide training for the social media ‘enthusiasts’
  7. Review software / network to ensure fit for purpose, up to date  and capable of updating
Building from all this here is my first stab at a community approach to supporting social media in local government.

2.      Assumptions

Underpinning the approach are the following assumptions:
  • Levels of customer satisfaction, the effectiveness of public engagement and the overall reputation of the Council are all now influenced by social media use – getting this right matters
  • Effective social media use requires an environment in which people are supported to innovate within clearly defined boundaries – it means ‘opening the doors for bight people’ (via Dan Slee)
  • Social media is never an end in itself – its use always supports clear business goals (via Carl Haggerty)
  • All staff are affected by social media in some way
  • Social media blurs the traditional boundaries between the private and public roles of staff

3.      The Community Approach

The Community Approach means organising support, access and training for a community of users with three levels:
 
       Basic Level 
  • Includes all staff
  • Requires awareness of guidelines on personal use of social media
  • Includes access to a basic list of sites
  • Should have awareness of potential of social media and benefits of increased involvement
  • Requires visibility of all of Council’s social media activity via ‘passive’ channels (viewing tweets / videos etc through internet / intranet where direct access is blocked)
      Corporate Users “A licence to tweet”
  • Includes those who actively use social media on the Council’s behalf
  • A registered list with entry via application
  • Responsibility for social media may be included in job description
  • Required training probably through e-learning
  • Working within guidelines on representing the Council on social media sites
  • Access to all approved sites
  • Supported through a sub community of corporate users both online and face to face events
      Account Managers
  •  Must be a corporate user
  •   Responsible for an official Council account
  •   Responsibility linked to a post and included in job description
  • Aregistered list – entry is linked to approval for Council account
  • Working within account management guidelines
  • Supported through a sub community of account managers
The intention should be that, over time, an increasing proportion of staff become corporate users until eventually everyone is! Some organisations, such as Monmouth CC (via @helreynolds), have been much bolder and have opened up social media staff to all staff.  I actually think that this the best way to go but not everyone is going to be comfortable with that so this approach allows for a more evolutionary rather than revolutionary route - albeit to hopefully the same destination.

4       Key Roles

Responsibility for supporting the community needs to be embedded in a number of key roles which may be added to existing posts:

Customer Service Champion(s) – Either corporately or by department, responsible for:
  • ensuring a consistent approach to social media contact with the public through monitoring and review and referring where necessary
  • review and updating of guidelines
  • facilitating the sub community of corporate users (this could be one champion or a team approach)
  • availability of training for corporate users
  • awareness training for basic level staff
Account Coordinator - responsible for:
  • monitoring the management of accounts and maintaining a corporate register
  • applications for new accounts
  • facilitating the account managers sub community
  • availability of training for account managers 
  • review and updating of guidelines
       
Technical Support Specialist – responsible for:
  • maintaining the lists of basic / blocked / approved sites
  • secure and effective operation of the network in respect of social media use 
  • ensuring appropriate systems in place to update software
  • troubleshooting as necessary
and that is as far as I’ve got so far……

Please feel free to borrow, add, amend and comment. 

Photo credit:  Computer Party - http://www.flickr.com/photos/oneras/80574135/

3 comments:

Tomsprints said...

Some very good stuff here. It usefully picks up where perhaps viral growth within an organisation runs out of steam and impact. However, it does assume a readiness from the top to engineer social media into the structures. Can't see many doing that on its own, and big reorganisations carried out for other reasons (eg cuts) might perhaps not grasp the value until too late.

Dave Mckenna said...

Thanks Tom, yes, it does require a commitment from the top and maybe a bit more needs to be said about that. Communities are only going to thrive if people know that senior managers are supportive and ideally demonstrating by doing.

Maybe the principle that it affects all staff needs to be widened out to capture this.

Simon Baddeley said...

And this is how it's beginning to pan out in my manor

http://www.socialmediasurgery.com/surgeries/lozells-and-birchfield

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