I don’t think there is anything wrong with elected officials having someone else manage their social media. Some elected officials are simply too busy to run their own Twitter account – no one expects that President Obama manages his own social media accounts, for example. Others simply don’t understand the medium and have no desire to do so – but they get that having an active presence on social media is vitally necessary. As we saw in yesterday’s US Airways disaster, having a good social media management plan is critical to any organization, and this obviously applies to elected officials as well.
The question, then, becomes this: How do you manage social media when you have no idea how social media works? Here are a few thoughts:
- Be involved in policy and guidelines creation: This includes what to say, what never to say, what type of tone to use and more. This way, your voice is reflected in your social media presence – even if you aren’t the one at the keyboard.
- Find someone you trust to oversee: If a tweet looks like a foreign language, if you have no idea how to like something, if you only know vines as things you need to cut in your lawn every now and then, you should not be personally in charge of managing your social media. However, you need to find someone who is not directly in your social media hierarchy to oversee the operation, provide quality control and let you know what is going on. To that end – make sure that someone who isn’t doing the social media updating directly is actually overseeing the operation. This will give you an extra set of eyes to oversee your operation.
- Get involved in content: Make sure that whoever is managing your social media gets content from trusted sources, but particularly you. This gives you more control over your own social media, even if you don’t fully understand how the content is being delivered. When you have a press release, outreach effort, etc., make sure that you are pushing it to be promoted on your social media.
- Make sure to look: Even if you don’t know what’s going on, you should check out your Facebook and Twitter page every now and then. This is for two reasons: First, it gives you an idea of what’s happening. If something is glaringly, obviously wrong, you’ll be able to see it. Second, you want your employees to know that you are looking. I don’t mean this in a creepy, overbearing way, but it’s always good management practice or you to let your employees know that you are checking in on their work.
- Ask for regular reports: Have your staff give you regular reports on content, engagement, fan base growth, etc. This enables you to evaluate your results while keeping you plugged into the process.
Anything to add? Let me know in the comments!
Update 11:41: First paragraph updated to include missing word. Thanks to der Zuschuer for the catch. I appreciate your efforts to strengthen the blog!