Highlights from Facebook for the Public Sector – Guest Post

It’s great when a colleague comes back really enthused from a conference. The following is a guest post originally published on our internal Yammer. Take it away @Helenatbromford :

Attended a brilliant conference/’unconference’  in Birmingham which left me buzzing with ideas and excitement for social media and the possibilities of the ever changing world we’re all working in. It was called Facebook for the Public Sector and if any of you are on twitter you can view the tweets from the event using #fbps12 but i wanted to share with you some of the thoughts that came from the day.
The focus of the morning sessions were around using social media in the public sector and trying to dispel some of the fears that a lot of organisations have on the use of social media. I would like to point out that Bromford were one of just two organisations (the other had a speaking slot) in a room where over 40 organisations were represented that have opened up social media to all colleagues who want to have a go, people on my table were amazed by this! They were asking all sorts of questions of like ‘how did you get everyone to buy into it?’, ‘Weren’t you scared?’, ‘What if someone says the wrong thing?’ – All of which are valid questions… and this probably was on someone’s mind here at Bromford at some point in our social media journey, but for me… I’d be more worried if no one from Bromford said anything at all! Where would we be then? I think it’s fair to say we are way ahead in the social media journey than most organisations and this is definitely something to celebrate!
But just a few of my top take away’s from the morning are:
It’s no longer possible to control the message, but if you think about it was it ever?
• You don’t have to be a comms person to be good at comms
• Manage customer expectations – if you don’t want to write Facebook updates at the weekend – tell your customers on a Friday that you’ll be back on Monday – they’ll understand!
• Share your objectives and outcomes with your customers and stakeholders – tell them where you want to be and be honest about how you’re getting there
• Keep innovating and evolving
• Don’t write a social media strategy – it’ll be out of date before its finished
• Be human and tell your story
• Know what you and your organisation want to be famous for
• Be community minded – share and RT information from people in your area – it’ll increase your fans!
• Share your Facebook insights and weekly reach with your colleagues so they know its working – I’ll be sharing this in our feedback centre here on yammer to keep you all updated.

The afternoon was an ‘unconference’ – this was my first experience of this… for those of you who don’t know what an ‘unconference’ is – its basically that there’s no set agenda and people in the room can pitch to host a session… I don’t think I heard the word ‘host’ as I hastily jumped on the microphone to pitch for a session about ‘Hyperlocal websites and online communities!’ – it turned out my session was quite popular and I was saved when Steph Jennings who set up the hyperlocal website http://www.wv11.co.uk/joined in the session! We shared some ideas around this and the key message was ‘we need to go where people are’ i.e. be on social media and be community minded and ‘help people to have the tools to do it themselves’.

That’s just a quick summary of the day, but thought I’d leave you with my favourite quote of the day which was from a colleague from the Police when talking about the trust needed for allowing colleagues on to social media, he said “I trust my team enough to go out on to the streets with a truncheon, why would I not let them have a twitter account?” 

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