Government as Social Media Influencers

There's now money in Government coffers to spend on social media influencers, but I want to pose the question: can't Government be social media influencers in their own right?

There's been a lot of discussion in Ireland recently about the need to engage younger citizens on COVID-19 public health messages. So I've decided to share my views on how to insource influence and be the trusted voice that all audience segments look up to.



10 ways to master social media to influence any audience segment

  1. Understand how the demographic you are trying to reach communicate in the digital age: Social Networks V Social Messaging - these are two distinct activities online and younger people are migrating into peer groups.
  2. Look at how your government and public sector peers across the globe are engaging: the World Health Organisation is the no. 1 brand on social media right now and they are a great case study for public health and youth communications. Remember, every country is facing the same challenge so look for case studies.
  3. Leverage your staff and subject matter experts: we've seen new voices in traditional media and on social media from within public sector during this pandemic. Don't forget to look inwards before outsourcing your messaging.
  4. Be willing to do things differently: traditional PR and communications has been disrupted and a rewriting of the PR handbook is necessary to deliver agile digital communications. Have your work practices changed to reflect this?
  5. Stories matter: did you know our brains are wired to remember stories more than facts and figures alone? This Tweet from Ben Quigley, a 20-year old UCC student who feared death over the weekend because of COVID-19. I quote Tweeted this as an 'influencer' Tweet and less than 24 hours Taoiseach Micheál Martin Tweeted with a similar suggestion. Read his Tweet.
  6. Run the numbers: influence is more than vanity metrics (followers/subscribers) and so you need to look deeper into engagement, content format and the profile of the following. Do you know what social media data insights mean?
  7. What is social media ROI or success? This is the first question I ask my clients and students but sometimes the answer isn't intuitive. So you need to be clear on the north star of your strategy.
  8. Content format: The targeting of a message is step one, but the creative is step two in getting social media right. How much of your content is vertical video less than 20 seconds?
  9. Funnelling stories: The social media funnel is a powerful framework to reach, engage and convert, but often social media from government and public sector uses the 'push' and 'broadcast' approach. You are winning when you are 'pulling' an audience into your stories.
  10. Be human: the role of the political and policy voices are critical right now, but we need to see the human imperfections behind this role. This is not about compromising on professionalism, it is about being real. Stories and behind the scenes content requires consistency.
  11. Measure: Understanding data and social listening tactics to inform breakthrough trends is key.

Working with Government and public sector agencies, I see that appetite and realisation that telling stories and building confidence and competencies in the social media arena is a pay-off worth pursuing.

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