As social media has emerged in recent years, it has been difficult for organizations to define its correct meaningful use. As a result of trying to keep up with the times, these organizations have implemented every type of social media without a comprehensive plan for its use or how to maintain and govern social media effectively. Oftentimes it appears that social media components have been implemented without on overarching strategy and governance structure. So, instead of engaging citizens in a unified and comprehensible fashion, social content can appear fragmented and incoherent.

CapTech believes that an effective and meaningful social media strategy needs to be specifically designed for each of our clients and based on organizational communication / outreach needs and desired operational outcomes. Additionally, a proactive governance plan needs to be derived that can be executed within the bounds of organizational capabilities.

For government organizations in particular, this means using social media to manage two-way communication with citizen stakeholders, build and enhance the community awareness, recruit talent, sell new ideas to constituents, collect feedback, and track real-time conditions for repairs, traffic, and emergencies.

CapTech's approach to these kinds of initiatives begins with working in partnership with government stakeholders to assess how social media is being used in the current state and define gaps that need to be bridged as part of a future state strategy. The overarching goal is to best harness social media to meet a defined set of needs and goals. With any social media initiative the most important elements are consistency and control.

Typically CapTech recommends the following considerations for the social media components listed below:

Facebook: Facebook is a great mechanism for sharing events and increasing community engagement. Facebook can also be a powerful tool for tourism, highlighting the features of the county or state that would be of interest to visitors.

Twitter: Twitter can be used for a variety of stakeholder engagement activities such as publicizing events, communicating during a time of catastrophe, analyzing constituent needs, and collecting feedback during campaigns or emergencies.

YouTube: YouTube is a great way to share county meeting information or share other stories that enhance the brand. In the age of open government, video can be a powerful way of increasing citizen engagement and promoting awareness.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn can be a powerful tool governments can use to connect members of the community with one another. Interest groups can be formed to create cohorts of community members focused on particular needs or interests.

Blogs: A careful execution of blogs can allow government officials to proactively share their thoughts on a variety of topics including building awareness and support for initiatives, explaining budget decisions and other collaboration opportunities. CapTech finds that, given the right frequency, length, and tone, blog posts can be a powerful way to communicate, influence, and motivate the citizenry to get and stay engaged.

In terms of governance, other considerations also exist such as whether to consolidate into a single channel or allow departments to each have their own. Coordination and strategy are key to this with the understanding that having multiple strategies is like having no strategy at all.

An organization's effectiveness over social media will be these considerations and more. If you'd like to talk with CapTech about whether your organization is using social media to its full potential, contact us today.