What does Public Sector social media success look like? Part 1

From delivering essential services, to calming irate customers, to being the catalysts for cost savings and channel-shift – our digitally driven culture is giving organisations new channels to build relationships, increase awareness around services and improve communications.

Over the past few years social media has gone from being a fringe tool for Marketing Departments, to becoming a valuable and essential tool for Marketing, Public Relations and Customer Service. With social media continuing to develop to become one of the preferred methods of communication for many customers, public sector organisations are realising the potential of integrating social media across departments, delivering a joined-up and informed approach.

With this in mind, we have created a two part blog that will explore the popular question “What does public sector social media success look like?”, identifying the critical success factors, KPI’s and ROI you need to be measuring to ensure your digital journey stays focused and on track.

Meeting changing customer trends

changing public sector customer trends

Customers expectations and cultural trends are continuously growing and changing, it is essential that your organisation appears progressive, continuously meeting and exceeding these demands. When cultural or technology shifts begin to occur, it’s essential that your organisation has sight of these very early on. A combination of ongoing customer research and tracking metrics such as inbound contacts per channel, will allow you to identify where your audience is and the most effective way for you to speak with them. You can then ensure that your technology and processes map to these changing trends and you are future-proofed against them.

Safe, secure and compliant systems and processes

Social media used to be seen as an unnecessary risk by public sector organisations that couldn’t afford a rogue tweet or a misused shared password damaging their reputation, but with social media growth showing no signs of slowing, strong support on social media is now expected by customers and residents. Due to this demand there have been new tools created to make it easier to protect your reputation online whilst still granting access to multiple departments. Decentralising your social channels to wider departments is key to good social customer service practice, but it’s important you have the safety net of a clear audit trail and content approval process. Social media management platforms can simplify this and gives organisations the ability to set various user permissions and protect themselves.

Identify and offer most relevant social media channels

With so many social media platforms available, finding the right ones for your organisation to speak to your customers can be challenging. Not every platform suits your organisation and it’s important to make sure that you have fewer, stronger channels – rather than multiple weak ones. Identifying and harnessing the right channels, where your audience is active, is key to social media success. Channels like Instagram work great for organisations with a lot of visually-attractive content for example Councils, whereas Twitter suits organisations that require more fast-paced customer service and and near real-time updates, like police forces.

An engaged online community

engaged online community

Creating a large social following is great but it isn’t the most important goal when harnessing your organisation’s social media potential. What really matters is how engaged your followers are. Having a large group of unengaged followers is similar to being stood in a crowded room shouting about what you are doing with nobody paying attention – it’s disheartening, time-wasting and not very beneficial for your organisation. Compared with having a small highly engaged following, like being stood in a crowded elevator having personal conversations about your brand with people who are interested. Finding the content, tone and personality to encourage your residents to engage with you on social media is key, once you have these things mastered you are on the right path to social success – the latest tools can help you identify this.

Social media is full of potential for the public sector, benefiting both you and your customers. Once you have defined your goals, strategies and KPI’s – it’s then just a case of executing, analysing and refining. So far we’ve covered just a few of the indicators of what social media success in the public sector looks like, in next week’s blog we will be completing the list.

If you would like to see how SocialSignIn’s social media management platform could help you to achieve some of this for your organisation, book a demo today or see our success story highlighting how West Midlands Combined Authority built a strong social presence, increased organisational awareness and deliver exceptional customer service.

About the Writer:

Rhiannon Birch Rhiannon Birch is PR & Marketing Coordinator at SocialSignIn. She is passionate about all aspects of writing and enjoys discussing the real-life stories behind social media. With two young children and three dogs, Rhiannon spends her (very little) spare time exploring new places and watching Star Wars.

If you’d like to connect on LinkedIn click here or follow her on Twitter @RhiSkywalker