Yesterday I was very pleased to be the host of two webinars about how social media is being integrated into the communications efforts of government agencies. The webinar was one of a series we have put together for communication managers who use PIER called the PIER Strategy Forum. Presenters were Andy Kendrick, head of Public Affairs for Coast Guard District 5, Lachlan Mullen, head of web communications for Fort Bend (Houston area) County Office of Emergency Management, and Paul Roszkowski, Chief, Public Affairs for Coast Guard District 13.
The three presented how using PIER as the control center of all their communication activities, they have integrated various social media and web 2.0 tools into their operations. These include “Share This” to quickly distribute content to a variety of info sharing sites including the agency’s Facebook page. IntenseDebate as a means of managing interaction on every info release distributed. Vimeo and YouTube for video distribution integrated with their releases on the public information website. Flckr for photos–one advantage being not having to respond to requests to package up photos and distribute. SlideShare for sharing presentations. Twitter of course for instant updates of information–but in their cases, run through PIER to maintain it as part of releases that are distributed to the website, email and other notification tools as well as maintain information discipline and approval processes.
There was great discussion and information sharing around topics like:
how much work does all this take? (Answer, we are all short staffed but have to work it in because it is that important).
How much of it can be automated?(answer: a lot).
Is Twitter really a good way to get info out? (Answer: it’s only one of many ways but Twitter followers tend to be highly influential–media, plus those very engaged and often critical)
How do you manage expectation about on-going engagement? (Set expectations, but also people will see by how (and when) you are responding)
How can using this instant info tools work when there are strict release processes? (Answer: policies have to reflect today’s realities. Coast Guard has high level commitment to social media from Commandant on down. But their policy of empowering everyone as a spokesperson–limited to their area of responsibility–is critical to making it work)
If you are interested in getting invited to future PIER Strategy Forum webinars (you don’t have to be a PIER client or user to be invited) you can go to www.piersystems.com, select Strategic Services and you fill find a Forum registration form.