Back in April 2012 that Dan Slee blogged that comms people should start sharing the sweets and encourage frontline local gov services to tell their stories through social media. You can read it here and then cheer, whoop and five high just as I did.
The message seems to be working too. It’s no longer just central corporate comms, web, or customer services having all the fun with social media. There are more and more frontline services on board, using social media as a way of telling wonderful accounts of the services they are delivering and the customers they meet.
I’ve been managing my frontline social media accounts for a couple of years, but have recently felt lost. Dan described the feeling as loneliness, I think he’s right. If you’re a frontline social media manager, you’re often a lone ranger. Yes there’s corporate support in getting started, there’s even guidance on how to do it (and how not to do it) but then you’re out there, on your own, telling your stories, by yourself, all alone.
Yes, there’s a general understanding from colleagues on the impact of using social media, but when it’s not the focus of the work they do, there isn’t much in the way of practical support. There’s often no one to bounce ideas off, to talk to about tools and developments to help, to plan campaigns, to encourage you and inspire you.
I have a feeling, rightly or wrongly, that for those who are managing corporate or central social media accounts this might differ. I imagine corporate social media types are part of a team, that they have back up. I imagine that there is the opportunity of sharing ideas and best practice, of having conversations day after day about social media developments. That is it the focus of their work. I have no idea if this is accurate by the way but I imagine they are all in it together, in a very sociable way.
Last week I got to spend an hour with two of our corporate social media bods. We chatted about social media stuff, developments, ideas, campaigns, they talked about things I should check out and things I should be involved in. I instantly felt motivated, energised and raring to go. I also felt a little envious that they got to do that stuff all the time.
Having one to one catch ups isn’t practical, but corporately, continual support for social media managers has been acknowledged and is being looked at. There are plans to get social media account managers together, to facilitate a peer support minicamp, talk through examples of best practice, share ideas for campaigns, discuss new developments in the social media world, and in the world of Shropshire, and to remind us all that we’re not in this alone.
So I finish with a question, the sweets have been shared and there are great examples of frontline social media practice out there, but what continual support/training/development does your organisation offer the lone social media ranger? Leave a reply and we can all share the love.