Last week I had an exchange on Twitter with one of my friends, where she suggested that we don't want everyone in our organisations to be on social media. She suggested that for some people or roles, social media might not be a great idea. If you know me, you probably can already guess that I disagreed*.
I think that it would be great if everyone in an organisation could have some social media presence in a work capacity - it's about how they use it and for what. Can you imagine how much more rounded a picture your customers or stakeholders would have of your organisation if they could see all the (unsung) hard work that goes on?
Imagine if an Estate Manager could promote their estate inspections on Twitter or could film an area of litter being cleaned up and post it on YouTube and then share it on the Facebook page of their local neighbourhood.
Imagine if a Customer Service Adviser in a call centre could share in real time on Twitter that there had been an influx of calls asking a particular question and what the answer was, to save people the bother of calling.
Imagine if an Antisocial Behaviour Co-ordinator could empower the silent majority by posting the results of cases on Facebook and demonstrate that reports of antisocial behaviour are dealt with.
Imagine if the Finance Team could share how they have embedded value for money through video blogging so other organisations could learn from them too.
West Midlands Police is a great example of an organisation that is moving this way. From the WMP Helicopter on Twitter to Facebook pages for each Local Policing Unit to YouTube channels for Central Motorway Police, they are truly embedding social media in everything they do - and improving their reputation by doing so. Hell, even Police Dog Smithy tweets. I think if the Police can do it, with all the challenges they face, other organisations can and should open up in the same way.
There are obvious risks with opening up social media use in this way, but they can be mitigated. I think training and support have a big part to play; finding the people who are excited and willing to give it a go, starting with them, going slowly, building their confidence, making them aware of the risks and dangers and how to handle them...
I'd love to hear your examples of where social media has been opened up and what you've learnt from it.
*I conceded that spies may not find it helpful to be on social media (!) but everyone else: yes.