Blog article

Social Media influencers are everywhere these days… including Government!

Government bodies have found great success in influencing society through social media posts. Social media influencers are now found everwhere.

Over the past decade, nothing has taken the world by storm more than social media. With this social media, influencers have become so integral to the way trends are set and the way in which information is disseminated.

Today social media influencers have such an intense reach to its audience and in turn, can have a catastrophic impact on society. The influence of just one post on social media can have a domino effect on the way we see that person or company. Social media has an engagement effect that can have a positive or negative effect on the way they are portrayed. If this turns out to have a negative effect for a major social media influencer they can simply edit or delete their comment or post as we have seen on numerous occasions.

As evident as this is with celebrity social media accounts, the same truth holds for government organisations. The only difference is that government authorities have certain state and federal legislation that they must follow when engaging on social media. As Government bodies must follow the Freedom of Information act, stating they must have public records available upon request which on many occasions denies them the ability to delete certain comments or posts. Thus, the importance to get social media engagement right and in line with the authorities values and identity is undeniable.

Government as social media influencer

Just like celebrities, government bodies have social media accounts which can influence the public. A good example would be NASA. Like any successful modern company, NASA uses social media to drive their customer engagement and digital marketing. Amassing now over 500 social media accounts, providing valuable content that people can interact with on a daily bases has at the forefront of their brand image and online identity.

The key to NASA’s social media success is their uniqueness. They provide content in real time that people actually find interesting, and which you cannot find anywhere else. They also post information that affects people’s everyday lives. A good example comes from the recent hurricane Florence which impacted parts of the United States.

NASA are responsible for many other social media accounts through different platforms. Using these platforms as a vehicle to transfer desirable content to their audience which in turn builds on their established brand image. Utilising photos, videos, GIFs and links NASA’s social media provides a bit of everything for everyone. These types of posts are the reasons why NASA have become a cyber juggernaut as one of the major government social media influences. However, if they are not archiving their posts and comments, they may find themselves in hot water and instead of all the good work the social media engagement is doing for them and the community, an undesirable result may prevail.

Kinwana goes viral with a drainage net

However, not all engaging government social media accounts have to come from outer space to be of interest to the public. A good example of a government body posting engaging content on social media which we can see a bit closer to home is that of the City of Kinwana. A local government agency that is having surmountable influences on its community.

Although the WA council is only 118 square km with a population of 39,000 residents their social media activity would be at home in a much larger community. In August 2018 they publisheed a post on Facebook that attracted around 4,000 comments and 184,320 shares. Although unexpected, the attention the photo achieved was favorable. The picture was posted on a Saturday, and by the following Monday, the content had reached over 2.5 million people over the world.

This shows that even if your social media actions are targeted towards a small community if you are sharing content that is relatively important to your audience fantastic engagement results can occur. Thus, not only does this example highlight the importance of having a social media plan that disseminates information which your audience can engage with, yet, it also shows just how unpredictable social media can be. The environment organisations work under in a social media context is one which is always changing. A social media manager has the power and responsibility to post whatever they deem to be important on their accounts. However, they have no power in the way which the audience interprets their message and no control in the way their audience will react. This adds on unprecedented risk in the world of customer service engagement. Like nothing else, social media can turn something that was initially mundane into a viral sensation. This can both have positive and negative effects. Certain organisations have social media policies put in place to deal with unsociable behavior that may otherwise get out of hand and turn into a publicity scandal which tarnishes your brands image.  Yet, if these policies are not put in place or do not align with certain government legislation such as the public records act you may find yourself in hot water.

Is it okay for local government to delete social media posts?

Seeing as this post got so much attraction you could assume that in one of those 4000 comments there was some unsociable behaviour to which the council may not of wanted. Due to them being a government body, the council has certain responsibilities they must abide by such as not deleting comments. Not only may deletion of content violate the public’s freedom of speech it may also be in direct breach of the Freedom of Information Act (1982).

So how can you engage on social media and have peace of mind that your activities won’t breach any legislation? Brolly is your answer. The home of social media archiving. Through the use of the platform, all social media activity will be documented in real time making it easy for social media managers to provide all records on request and ensure that their organisation is not making the news headlines for the wrong reasons and for something that could easily be avoided.