Importance of Having A Social Media Strategy For Communication In Government.
By Wisdom Chapp-Jumbo
Social media communication as everyone knows has become a very important tool in our modern-day business, and government activity. It is rare to find a company that does not see the value of social media. The same can be said about other government(s) across the world today. With this being pointed out, a large number of people especially within the political space in Nigeria, underrate the ability of social media.
If you would cast your mind back to the 2015 and 2016 elections that took place in the following countries (Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria inclusive) the winners of this elections were able to win because of their effectiveness in the use of social media platforms to communicate their campaign messages directly to the people. Platforms like Facebook that have over 1 billion users, Instagram and Twitter with millions of users are very effective mediums where messages can be communicated to a vast majority in real time.
To make the most of your social media channels (depending on which platform you are on or intend to use) you need to create a social media strategy. This strategy is a guide that helps you generate content and also guides you in putting out the right content. Governments (mostly across Nigeria and especially at the local level) have ignored this important detail, which has impaired communication between the government and the masses over time.
Getting a media aide with no knowledge of how social media works does not work. It is a lot more than just taking pictures, posting and tagging thousands of people. With a proper strategy, more results can be achieved and the communication gap can be bridged as well.
Government will need an effective/efficient social media strategy for the following reasons;
1. It gives perspective.
If you own a business, you would not conduct any of your marketing without first developing a strategy/business plan of how best to push your business into the market.
Here is the big question, why do it with social media?
People (especially those in Government) underestimate the strategy required to make social media communication effective. So, they end up pushing out random content with the hope that it sticks. They do this without the knowledge that social media channels are valuable assets that should have a defined place, where your plans and activities should be communicated to your constituents.
Having a strategy in place, means that your social media presence can be tailored towards your goals, plans and image as a government. Which can start from your profile imagery to posts, then campaigns which could be a month-long or more. With a well-thought-out strategy, plans, goals and objectives of the government will synchronize thus keeping the goal in view.
2. You can measure and improve
Without monitoring and measuring your activity and engagements, you cannot know what works and what does not — If you do not know what works, you could be making a wrong investment (wasting money and time on poor content). Social Media involves money and time, and if you cannot determine what works for you and track your progress you might just be doing it wrong. It is highly important people in government realize this.
In your strategy, it is important you make time for analyzing your posts’ performance, and then using the insights gleaned to guide your content. The strategy itself acts as a framework and reference point, so if you see a pattern among the posts that works well and those that flop, you can hold up to the wider plan and make adjustments at the source.
Handling social media day-to-day, I can tell you monitoring is the most important part. In your strategy this is where you will set your goals and the parameters, which you will use to see how your overall strategy is shaping up.
Creating a strategy and planning ahead your content takes time, but it will save you in the long run. Having a clear path of your social media communication and alignment with your goals as a government, will make your process more efficient.
With a strategy, your overall social media management experience will be less stressful. It will be much easier to create a budget, communicate better, and save time which can be used to create better content.
One of the biggest barriers to social media success is inconsistency, most especially in government — sporadic posts and very random patterns of posting.
This is the kind of approach that fails to ingratiate and communicate governments goals and activities to constituents and various social audience. Impacts like this are greatly lessened with a proper strategy. At the end of the day, you’ll be able to better build and maintain your organic presence with steady, sustained activity. Also, you’ll be keeping your image as a government fresh in the mind your constituents.
5. Get adequate knowledge and training.
Social media training would teach you how best to play with words, the tone of communication, and messages delivery. In this digital world, people only see your messages. They understand your personality through the tone of communication that your use. Same thing goes for the image of a government online.
Social media training will also teach how to us various tools you need to make the work easier. Over time, it has been a trend of government to just pick anyone to handle their social media, which is same reason a lot of government officials and agencies end up building a wrong image online for themselves and miss the opportunity of building a close relationship with their constituents. Traditional media is good to share information broadly and reach new audience, but social media fills in the gaps when we need to communicate directly, so your messaging is key.
At Future Software Nigeria Resources Ltd, we have a Social Media Training called START tailored to CEOs, business owners and policy makers who want to learn how best to develop STRATEGY, know their TARGET, ACQUIRE results that can be measured, create a comprehensive progress REPORT and TRACK their progress or performance of their social media. The training is focused on this demographic to help them define their Social Media goals, guide them on who their Target audience is and show them how to track and merge their results through analytical reports and measure their progress on social media.
Most CEOs, business owners and policy makers also struggle with where to place social media managers in their organizational hierarchy and how to put together the right social media team.
Part of our training is to educate you on why it is very important to have the right social media team, their key roles and what skills each team member should have. The next edition of this training will be on the 20th of July and you too can learn how all of this works. Simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call +2348186572391
Wisdom Chapp-Jumbo is a Web Content Manager, and a digital media communications specialist… Connect with Wisdom on Twitter @Mr_wizzo and on all social media platforms. Drop a comment and share your views on this topic.