In this blog I'm going to share with you my views on why social media supports an ethos of transparency in government, politics and in public sector. 

 

Right now there are more people in the world using social media than there are not. 

 

This means social media is a fundamental way in which we communicate and we expect to get news, information and details of how we can engage with you across all the social networks. 

 

Those that have been early adopters have shown to get the results. 

Those of you who are now stepping it up on social media are potentially a little bit nervous about putting yourself out there more and more and indeed getting your face and your voice and the white of your eyes front of screen. 

 

But let me share with you why doing this will actually help you build up trust and display that you are a transparent organisation and that everything you do is in the public interest. 

 

 

Currently over 50 percent of people are getting their news from social media, and that's just not one singular social network, that's multiple, and also bringing search into that, so google and youtube and then it becomes a force to be reckoned with as traditional mainstream media also try to go digital. 

So as a source of news you are expected to share and engage on social media. 

 

Secondly, politics, government, public sector is all about people, it's about the people you represent but also it's about the people who are making the decisions. 

We want to see you.

We want to hear from you.

We want to understand what is motivating you, influencing you to make those decisions in the greater good. 

We also want to ask you questions, we want you to show up and be counted and not just in front of journalists, but in front of the people. 

 

We can now bypass the media and we can speak directly to our publics and have a conversation with them. 

Social media allows you to do this. 

 

If anything, Covid-19 has taught us that social media can be a friend in building up trust and transparency. 

 

In fact if you don't want to believe me, have a look at the Edelman Trust Barometer Spring Update of 2020. 

Trust in government grew by double digits for the first time since World War 2, it's the most trusted institution in society. 

 

Covid-19 has handed you a gift of trust from the people. 

 

As the people say to you; 

"help us get a vaccine for Covid-19", 

"help to keep us safe", 

"help to build back up our economy" and 

"help to get solutions to this global problem"

 

The eyes of the world are on our government and our public sector. 

You have built up trust in the first nine months of Covid on our shores. 

Use that and step front of screen on social media and continue to have dialogue.

Get your people front of screen. 

 

Don't just publish press releases on Twitter, on Facebook, on your website and expect the public to read them. 

 

Press releases are a tool for journalists, so what are the tools for the public to have a direct conversation with them? 

It's video, it's live streaming, it's podcasting, it's infographics, it's pre-recorded video with little sound bites to impress on them the importance of the information. 

 

Covid-19 has shown us that in the absence of a pharmaceutical intervention for this virus that governments across the world have built up trust and the will of the people so that they adhere to public health guidance. 

Use that experience, leverage it in the next 12 months of your social media strategy, but ultimately bring in a culture and an ethos in your organisation that you will show up for the people on social media and demonstrate transparency. 

 

Joanne Sweeney
Public Sector Marketing Institute

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