Social Media Training

Government Social Media Workshop: 6 Things to NEVER Do on Social Media as a Government Official or Agency

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Debba Haupert

Feb 09 2016

6 Things Gov Blog Post header

Does Social Media frighten your government organization? Actually, if you don’t have a solid social media policy and strategy, it actually should. The basic nature of social media is based on sharing and conversations, so negative comments or Social Media ‘mistakes’ could reach mass awareness before it can be addressed by your government organization if you don’t have a trained team, a solid strategy and a social media policy.

To avoid such a situation, here are 6 things to NEVER do on social media as a government official or agency:

  1. Rant and complain. Just don’t. Don’t create or join in negative conversations. Take the upper hand and find a positive way to encourage and support your community – and to represent your office/department. Don’t post anything that you wouldn’t want shared with your boss, the media or your mother!
  2. Be sarcastic. While it is fun to show your personality on social media, humor is subjective. Be careful when posting sarcasm or potentially ‘uncomfortable’ humor. Often this type of communication can be misunderstood and requires a lot of attention to resolve it if it is taken the wrong way.
  3. Give Social Media account access to the wrong people. Only allow access to your Social Media accounts to anyone with whom you have COMPLETE confidence in their representation of you/your organization online – at all times. Just because an intern is active in Social Media, he/she may not be mature/knowledgeable enough to respond on your behalf. Avoid any Admins who might possibly mistake their work social media account for their personal account or might potentially update in Social Media while drinking.
  4. Have only one person in charge of your Social Media. What happens if that person quits, becomes disgruntled, gets sick, or, God forbid, dies? Have multiple administrators for all of your Social Media accounts to make sure you maintain access as well as potential use as a back-up should the other administrator not be accessible.
  5. Remove comments. But, wait! What if they’re negative? (Right?!) People comment on Social Media because they want to be heard. Comments about your government official/agency may be your constituents’ attempt to communicate with or about you. You may not be able to resolve their complaint or situation, but you have the wonderful opportunity to show them that you care and that their feedback/situation is important to you. Often just responding with ‘Thank you for your feedback. We’ll …” shows them and others that you are interested in their opinion and receiving their feedback. The one exception for removing comments is any that may be offensive or threatening. These should be addressed offline.
  6. Try to be on every social network. It’s impossible and there is no way you can do every one of them well. Follow your Government Social Media Policy and Strategy to determine which social networks align with your audience/community as well as your social media strategy/goals. Claim your name in other social networks and post that you’re not active there but to sign up for your updates for the future.

The best way to get great results on Social Media as a government official/agency, is to have a solid Social Media strategy and a trained team who can implement it. 

Need help with your government Social Media plan? We can help. Contact Boot Camp Digital for help utilizing Social Media to support and grow your community online. We offer Social Media policy workshops and Social Media training for government employees, as well as organizations and companies.

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