Social networking is a fundamental shift in the way we communicate. Three years ago, the term barely existed. I have received a lot of requests for advice about developing social media strategies in the care sector. I thought it would be helpful to share my thoughts and ideas about the challenges and opportunities presented by social networking. Developing a strategic approach is as important to a fledging social enterprise as it is to an established national care organization.
Why councils should embrace social media There can be few social workers unaware of the popularity of social media websites such as Linkedin and Facebook. But how many use them as a means of communicating with clients and to further professional development? (Community Care 11th November 2010)
The public sector needs more ‘Heads of Digital’ with thanks to Michael Taggart
Local government blogging – ideas for you with thanks to Ingrid Koehler
Decide what it is you want to achieve and explore how social networking will contribute to your communications and stakeholder engagement strategy. How effective are your current activities, how do you know what is working well, who are your customers and what is the added value you offer?
1. Undertake a review of your current communications activities including websites, blogs, published materials and events.
2. Develop a social media policy in consultation with all of the staff and stakeholders
Why all local authorities need a social media policy
A good social media policy is a good idea with thanks to Dave Briggs
3. Provide social media surgeries and workshops to help all staff become familiar with and confident in using social media tools. Encourage feedback and suggestions about how you can improve internal and external communications.
Online resources for getting started with social media
Twitter has over 200 million registered users. It offers a quick and easy way to communicate, access real time information, ask and answer questions, share thoughts and connect with people. Promote your conferences and events by providing a twitter #hashtag to encourage discussion. If possible, have someone tweeting live from the event.
Can twitter make our national care organisations more social?
Introducing #lgovsm a great new initiative started by Louise Kidney tweeting as @LouLouK. #localgsm is a twitter online forum for local government people to discuss social media, ask questions and seek advice. So, if you work in local government and you want to come and chat, see you on Fridays from 1.00 – 2.00 pm. The twitter #hashtag is #lgovsm and the next session will be on 7th January 2011
How to use Twitter – top tips from the excellent Knowhow Nonprofit website on how to use the Twitter to communicate with your organisation’s supporters.
The Beginners Guide to Twitter Video from the informative SironaSays blog by @andyheadworth
Facebook has over 500 million registered users and is the largest social networking website in the world. Learning Pool have produced an excellent Guide to Facebook pages for government organisations. This comprehensive and free guide takes you through what a Facebook page is (not the same as your individual Facebook profile) and why every public sector organisation should have one.
LinkedIn has over 85 million registered members and is one of the biggest professional networking websites. There are an increasing number of social work and social care groups on LinkedIn.
The Beginners Guide to LinkedIn is another great free resource @andyheadworth and available to download via the excellent and thought provoking A redundant public servant’s blog
4. Measure and evaluate the return on your investment in social media activities including google alerts and google anlaytics
Social Media and the Case of The Missing Assets The rise of social media has challenged organisations to embrace new ways of connecting and communicating, demanding greater openness, transparency and engagement. What is the potential Return On Investment (ROI) of an approach to social media which develops real relationships with stakeholders?
Easily accessible, relevant and timely information on your website is essential
Be prepared for discussions and conversations which you cannot control but from which there can be considerable learning for the organisation. Be prepared to respond to criticism and questions.
Social networking, in many ways, is all about learning. Social media is one of the most powerful ways to understand what we do and why, learn as we go, and share what we learn with others.
Every day conversations are taking place across the internet about social work and social care. Do you know what is being said about leadership, personalisation, children’s services, workforce development, social learning and commissioning in the care sector?
The Do’s and Don’ts of using Social Media for Business a simple and self explanatory infographic via @andyheadworth
At Shirley Ayres Consulting we are experts in social networking, social learning and social care. We have in depth knowledge of the care sector working across adults and children’s services. We help and advise public, private and non profit organisations regarding their workforce development and stakeholder engagement.