Social Media Guidelines

Training and Development

Who will be the audience?

This might the most important question of all. The messaging and content that NMHSs push through Social Media channels is defined by the intended audience.

Always ask whether the proposed Social Media strategy is meeting the needs and expectations of the audience. Promote conversations that allow users to express their requirements and use this information to refine strategy.

There are many tools available to help assess the nature of an audience. Online feedback, either as structured surveys or ad hoc feedback is only the most obvious. Consider running short pilot projects to test different approaches; ideas can be measured through the levels of interest and audience participation that they generate.

What tools will be used?

Once the goals have been identified, the audience determined and the types of content defined, it is time to choose suitable tools. These may include the following:

a. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube;

b. Monitoring tools like Google Alerts, Tweet Deck, Hoote Suite or Radian 6;

c. Online programmes like Word Press or Blogger for writing blogs; and,

d. Video editing programmes for making You Tube videos.

Important reminder; don't bite off more than can be chewed. It is not necessary to have a presence across all Social Media channel, so only choose the tools that meet the immediate objectives.

How will the social media strategy be review?

The Social Media strategy is a living document. The Social Media landscape is continually changing and adapting and it is important to keep abreast. Social Media strategies should be reviewed and updated based on information gathered as part of the measurement activity.

Be prepared to shift resources away from component of the strategy that are not working well.

Be mindful not make changes that are too large for the audience to deal with. Try 'testing the waters' first. Best of all, ask the users themselves to comment on proposed changes- an engaged and appreciative audience can be enormous asset when seeking ideas for improvement.

How will the success of the social media strategy be measured?

There are many tools available to he gauge whether the Social Media strategy is a success. Measuring can involve:

a. Web analytics - page hits, numbers of visits, referral, etc..

b. Social listening - how often is the Meteorological Service being talked about? Are the comments favorable?

c. Strengths and size of the networks - how many 'Likes' does the Facebook page have?

d. Market research - audience surveys, feedback forms, etc.

How will the content be maintained?

Once the content strategy has been developed, and the tools have been chosen, the day-to-day management processes should be mapped out. To do this, the following sort of questions should be addressed:

a. How often will new material be posted?

b. How frequently will the NHMSs' Social Media site be monitored?

c. How will material be prepared and authorized?

d. How will content be archived?

It will be important to determined role and responsibilities for generating new content. Some staff will be good at posting on Facebook or Twitter, whilst others might be good at writing blogs or have the information Technology (IT) skills to format online material.

Guideline Sources

Gill, Jon and Kreft, Peter. Guidelines on Strategies for use of Social Media

National Meteorological and Hydrological Services.2012

James Ratliff