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January 20, 2011
Keeping Businesses In Gear on Social Media
 

So how do you keep a social media presence going, once one is started? That's an important consideration for businesses with busy employees—and if they weren't busy, they probably wouldn't be there anyway. How do you get past that one?

This is a likely concern for PR-conscious business people looking to start those social media "conversations" they've been hearing so much about. A helpful set of suggestions comes from a perhaps surprising source—the Government Technology website. (What, government ahead of business in anything?)

A danger, says Andy Opsahi, the GT writer, is that a single employee, maybe from public affairs, will be assigned to refresh the company's Facebook account, or whatever the chosen social media mode may be. All of a sudden, you have a corporate credibility challenge, for once started, a social media presence needs to be maintained and built upon. 

So the "fortunate" employee gets burned out in a week, the Facebook account is neglected and you're missing from the social media loop. Better not to have started at all. Unless, advises Andy Opsahi, you start with more than one social media maintainer—how about, say, six, who will take turns by alternating weekly. That's how the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission does it, and if they can, why can't you?

The Arkansas agency has assigned six public information officers—but they could be other trained, Facebook-aware employees—to go all-out on its Facebook postings a week at a time, with five weeks off in between. That way, nobody gets burned out out by social media duty, and the site stays fresh and vibrant—maybe with a slightly different tone each week, but still a responsive, energetic one.

The Fish and Game commission also has subject-matter experts on hand to help, if needed. Nobody gets tuckered by social media there, even though its Facebook account has roughly 36,000 fans. Things get more harried when the agency finds itself in a crisis mode—as when birds fell dead from the sky in one town or fish died mysteriously in another. But it would have been worse if it hadn't set up its Facebook rotation system.

Andy's post contains other insights into how  other government agencies are managing social media. We recommend it highly.   


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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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