Social media connects us all and provides communication and clarity in an instant. In the UK today, Facebook has over 45 million users (Statista, 2019), Instagram gains two new followers every second and more than 13 million twitter followers scroll through its newsfeed daily (Omnicore,2020). Digital Communication has never been more important and with the Government Digital Service, the public sector is joining private companies in communicating through digital channels to connect with wider audiences.
Brands mainly use social media to tell stories to increase loyalty, following and sales.
So how can the public sector benefit from digital communication if they are not selling a product?
The main purpose for social media in government is providing greater transparency. User expectations have grown hugely when it comes to accessing instant information through social media. Through different channels, organisations can be made accountable. The transparency on policies, projects and any live issues keeps the public informed and aware which increases trust and accountability.
- Communication in Crises
Through social media, departments can spread the word quickly about a disaster or public emergency. Updates can be given in real time on weather hazards, fire outbreaks, terror alerts or power outages instantly and accurately. This can help people monitor situations and determine areas where people need help.
Listening to citizens through social media can be the first step to find out what is happening in communities. Organisations can keep the public up to date about policy and issues that matter most to them. Through live streams, blogs, polls and events, the level of citizen concerns and engagement can be understood and monitored. Engagement also have positive knock-on effects on building trust and transparency.
In a world full of fake-news and fast-moving stories, it is unsurprising that the public can distrust the individuals and institutions that have been elected. By proactively using social channels rather than just as a notice board, organisations can connect in real time and show how they can help the public that they serve. For example, Twitter has been used by police departments to help solve crimes by directly engaging with the public. By using social media as a front-line tool, organisations can talk directly to their audience which will help build trust and long-lasting relationships.
It is crucial for the UK public sector not only to stay up to date with rapidly emerging digital capabilities but to leverage the changes to their advantage too.
Want to find out more about Digital Communications?
Attend our 'Mastering Digital Communications' course, to listen to Social Media Expert, Alistair Beech.
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