Social media is mainstream media now, so organisations need to understand how they might use it. A Google search on "social media" typically results in “Top 100 social media platforms every marketer should know” or “Which social media channels are right for your business?” For corporate brands this is a serious business: it can even take 45 days to plan a tweet (apparently).
The Department of Health isn’t a brand so what social media channels are we using and how are we using them for our communications and engagement work? The simple answer is we use free/low-cost social media channels such as Twitter and Audioboo and we create content for these internally where possible. Furthermore, using social media is integrated in staff roles, which is an important part of our digital strategy in making our work more cost effective and efficient.
We also measure and monitor social media conversations using tools such as Pulsar Trac and Hootsuite. The department maintains an open approach to social media data; we share social media reports via our Pinterest boards and bespoke dashboards with the communications division and across the Department on a weekly basis.
We see it as part of everyone’s role to understand social media conversations and to use social media channels to raise awareness of their work. Here’s how:
- The digital team and the media centre use Hootsuite to monitor streams of relevant Twitter posts.
- We use social media listening tools to report on the impact of Departmental policy and communications campaigns on social media.
- The Department’s customer services team uses Hootsuite to respond to inquiries on Twitter via our @dhgovuk account.
- The media centre use a variety of social media to add richness to announcements, including Tumblr and Audioboo.
- You’ll also find a lot of staff from the communications division and DH policymakers on Twitter, using it as a platform to engage and inform on their work. If you’re on Twitter, you can find a list of DH tweeters on our @dhgovuk account.
Here are some further examples from the digital team on how we use social media: