In October 2012, the LGA (Local Government Association) launched a social media friendly mark initiative to help promote councils that were making good use of social media. There was plenty of comment in local gov circles about whether this was a good thing or a gimmick. It is summed up in a great post by Ingrid Koehler. Please take a read, it’s really thought provoking.
Ingrid suggests that the following (copied direct from Ingrid’s blog) is how you’d really know if an organisation was truly social media friendly.
From the outside:
- Social media is used in a friendly and engaging way. It’s not just a broadcast from the Town Hall, but a space for communication between council and citizen.
- The council takes all digital interaction seriously. From paying council tax to reporting complaints to finding out about local events and resources, there are easy low-friction ways to engage with the council online.
- There’s some actual evidence that the council wants to hear from citizens through social platforms. Maybe they’re using a cool deliberation tool for real policy co-production or maybe they’re using local digital images for citizens
- There isn’t just one way to access the council through social platforms. But you can engage directly with the services you use and each has a different and suitable feel.
- Paper literature, posters, etc have URLs and social accounts where you can follow up or get more information.
From the inside:
- Social media sites aren’t blocked for employees or at least there is a generally permissive approach with clear guidelines about who can and can’t access social sites from work for work as part of clear, simple social media policy.
- There is a federated approach to communications. It isn’t solely owned by a Comms team, but the Comms team supports and oversees social media communications.
- Social tools are used for internal communications. The intranet isn’t simply some software but an approach to sharing knowledge and information between teams and individuals.
- Managerial and political leaders demonstrate that they hear and respond to what staff and the public communicate to them through social media.
- There’s a clear digital communications strategy and services and staff know where they fit in it.
So in other words, not just ‘social media friendly’ but a truly social organisation. Just what councils and frankly many other public and private sector organisations that work with people should be.
I think the above could be developed into principles for sociable organisation development.
So what do you think? Please let us have your views below.