On Friday Chris Bolton @whatsthepont and I will be exploring with staff how the Care Council for Wales @CareCouncil should be involved in social media. The Care Council is the social care workforce regulator in Wales responsible for promoting and securing high standards across the social services and social care workforce. It is worth noting that I first connected with Chris through Twitter!
It is so encouraging to see more and more care organisations that now understand the value and power of social media to communicate their values, purpose, share resources and actively engage with a much wider audience.
In the UK 24 million people are using Facebook every day and Twitter claims15 million users. Messages on social media can reach large numbers of people and it is important that organisations are clear about what they want to achieve from social media.
It is a reality that organisations are being discussed online and the choice is whether you want to be part of those conversations. The choice of platforms you use will be determined by your target audience(s) and where they are having conversations. Engagement through content that is relevant to your followers rather than just broadcasting is one of the key messages in developing a strong digital presence. Potentially all staff are your “brand ambassadors” so give them the confidence and permission to join social media conversations.
Whilst social media platforms may be “free to use” to be successful in social media does require an investment of time and energy. Once you understand the basics you can start building your online profile. “If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product“ is a separate debate!
I am often asked about where to start in developing a digital engagement strategy and I thought I’d share a few thoughts.
Social media guidelines provide a framework especially if social care staff and volunteers are more used to the informality of channels like Facebook. Many organisations have found that proving a private social network such as Yammer encourages staff to experiment with being more social before they develop a public presence. Happily you do not have to reinvent the wheel when developing social media guidelines. The most important element is to ensure that you consult with your staff and reach a consensus about what is acceptable behaviour online.
There are excellent examples provided by:
Engage: Digital and Social Media Engagement for the Police Service the development of the guidelines was overseen by @GScobbie previously ACPO lead for social media.
The Public Sector Social Media Survey 2013 Infographic from Goss Interactive provides a snapshot of the public sector’s current use of social media on an organisational level.
Without digital leadership many organisations struggle to engage with social media effectively. Is a ‘digital’ leader any different from a ‘traditional’ leader? A question asked by @clarkmike as he shares his 10 top tips. Mike identifies a number of characteristics of the digital leader which include dismantling traditional infrastructures that act as barriers to innovation or which do not add value. Digital leaders support and champion people that are close to service users and customers and seek out people with different views and perspectives to understand how barriers can be overcome. Digital leaders have wide reach, they question and challenge, summarise and synthesise, simplify and de-clutter when necessary. They operate in a 24/7/365 disrupted & chaotic world building new connections & collaborations at speed and they communicate extensively. How many of these factors are intregral to current leadership training programme?
One of my favourite slideshares with excellent insights from Paul Taylor @PaulBromford about the Bromford Group experience of opening up social media access to all staff. Thanks for sharing Paul.
I hope that staff at the conference will be inspired to think about how Twitter and other social media channels can be used to communicate the purpose of Care Council for Wales and engage with a wider audience who also have an interest in promoting and securing high standards for social work and care.
Useful resources to help you on the journey
We will be exploring the online care resources that are available in Wales, across the UK and internationally. Use #caregoesdigital to add your resource.
One of the biggest challenges faced by the care sector is the joining up all of the amazing resources which are available online. An example of using digital technology to do this is provided by the Connected Care Mindmap developed by @clarkmike. We have been identifying relevant resources over the past few months to share and give people a context for the problems identified through online discussions and the Priorities for Care survey at #psicare.
I am very much looking forward to Friday!