Before launching official social media sites,it is very important to have a strategy specific to your organization. This does not have to be a heavy policy document,but it is essential to success and ongoing evaluation to have stated goals,milestones and next steps in mind. This template is based on U.S. EPA web manager Jeffrey Levy’s social media approach,“Mission,Tool,Metrics,Teach.”
Designing a strategy works best when organized succinctly. For example,the research firm Forrester has built a practice around their POST Method:“People,Objectives,Strategy,Technology.”
What is the core mission your agency or unit is trying to accomplish?
How would increased internal collaboration and community affect your mission?
How would public input and engagement affect your mission?
Example from Levy: “At EPA,our mission is to protect human health and the environment. It’s not ‘write and enforce regulations’or ‘conduct research.’Rather,those are efforts we undertake in order to protect human health and the environment. And in both cases,working with the public through social media can improve how we do them. The public can help us both write better regulations and tip us off about people breaking the law. And they can help us set research agendas and tell us which fields of study matter most. And another way we can accomplish our mission is to educate and inspire people so they directly protect the environment without us being involved.”
Implementation tips: Develop a simply guiding mission statement and link it the agency social media profile. For Twitter and similar social media,consider:primarily one or two-way communication?;will the account actively follow people and using what criteria?;will the account follow back those who follow it?;will the account block spammers?;what kinds of content will the account generate?;if the account is not a main point of contact for the agency,what is the appropriate contact method and is that clear on the social media profile? Include in your profile bio the identifying information of who is actually running the account;include a “follow does not = endorse”disclaimer.
What social media tool will we use to better accomplish our mission?
Why is this the right tool for us?
If we are successful with our first social media tool,how do we see the scope of our social media program evolving? What is next and why?
How will we incorporate experimentation into our efforts to ensure that we are always learning?
Example from the San Francisco City Attorneyâs Office on Twitter: “The office sees Twitter as a communications channel that allows City Attorney Herrera’s work for the citizens of San Francisco to reach folks who might not regularly visit the City Attorney’s Web site,and for the office to communicate more informally than through the official City site. Twitter is envisioned as an expanded media and outreach effort,not a replacement for any existing services.”
Implementation tip: Identify and study parallel efforts from similar agencies in other jurisdictions. Reach out to their social media practitioners for insight on your strategy.
What measurements are most important to us in accomplishing our mission through use of social media? Interactions per day,followers,page views?
Are our measurements appropriate for the tool we have chosen?
What three to five metrics can we use for benchmarking progress?
Example for a Facebook Page: Average interactions per day,number of fans,number of signups based on fans,Facebook.Grader.com,etc. Metrics will also be specific to your mission. If your goal is volunteerism,for example,a small number of activity participants would be more important than hundreds of fans. Also consider newspaper outlets,which create Twitter lists for breaking news stories,then dismantle them when the real-time version of the story quiets down. There are very effective short-term tools,as well as efforts that require long-term evaluation.
Tip: Run your measurements against peers using the same tool to keep perspective on growth and interaction benchmarks over time.
How will we incorporate training and succession planning into our social media efforts?
What community groups can we reach out to and train in social media use to further our mission?
Example: If youâve identified mobile phone reporting of non-emergency services as a new collaborative technology initiative,work with community groups and NGOs to provide training for residents on how to best utilize the new services.