A common risk associated with public bodies engaging online in spaces like Twitter is that there’s too much interaction to cope with. It’s something that often gets raised when I am talking with clients.
E-government bulletin covered the issue recently:
A second delegate from an NHS hospital trust told the group that her communications team was underfunded to respond to social media. “We are becoming an arm of our complaints service, but with no budget – and the complaints team itself won’t monitor Twitter,” she said. And a third told the group that his council’s elected members were receiving such a volume of direct messages on Twitter they were unable to respond to them.
This is, I think, another argument for comms teams not to ‘own’ social media within an organisation. If complaints are coming in through Facebook, or Twitter (or whatever) then it’s the complaints team, not comms, who ought to be monitoring those spaces.
As I think I have written before, communications teams have an oversight role, and a championing one too. They look after the main corporate channels, manage the strategy and governance processes and look after arranging training and that sort of thing. Most of the activity should happen in service areas though.
It’s social media as telephone, not press release. Another way of putting it is that it is communications not Communications. In other words, it’s the normal communicating we all do everyday, by talking, using the phone, emailing and so on; rather than the formal Communications that happens with press releases, interviews and so on.
If you are in a comms team and are drowning in social media interactions that aren’t in your area of expertise, pass them on to someone who is responsible!