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Best practice guidelines and templates to help you use social media
Department of Health, Final Version 1.0, 2010
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Australia Licence.
Highlights from the Staff Toolkit are extracted below:
The Department of Health's Social Media Action Plan was developed to enable and facilitate the Department and its staff's active participation in social media.
This policy and toolkit aims to:
In addition, it supports the department’s requirements to:
The Social Media Action Plan comprises three parts:
This Social Media Action Plan will support the Department of Health and its agencies in implementing social media activities more effectively and successfully. It is aimed at all staff who engage with social media, recognising the many different degrees of engagement and usage that exist and are required.
This policy should be read in the context of the Victorian Government's Public Service Social Media Protocols and the State Services Authority's Guidance for use of social media in the Victorian public sector, and will be updated to reflect any changes in those documents.
While you can set up a personal social media site or presence in under a minute, more care and thought needs to go into establishing social media sites for the Department of Health.
The Health Web Communications Unit has commissioned this checklist to step you through the process of establishing and launching your social media site. We'd love to hear feedback on these guidelines. Questions and feedback can be sent to the Health Web Communications Unit through the Intranet.
This planning template allows you to register a departmental social media site or blog as well as to set up a Department of Health presence on a third-party site.
Completing the template will:
This section answers a number of Frequently Asked Questions about socialmedia. They will be added to over time by the Health Web Communications Unit.
Questions are loosely grouped into the following categories:
Social media monitoring
"Listening isn’t all data, all quantity and remarks. Listening is not a science, but an art that brings in human thought. Listening is the most important part of a conversation. Conversations are how communities begin."
Social media monitoring describes the process of listening and, where appropriate, responding to community feedback on
Listening and responding to community comments and feedback allows the Department of Health to find out who is talking about the Department and what they are saying as well as identifying similar or related organisations discussing topics relevant to the department.
It allows the department to engage in ongoing dialogue with the wider community and can give valuable insights into public opinion and concerns.
Clear rules of engagement have been developed by the US Air Force to evaluate comments and assess when to respond to comments about your department on blogs, discussion forums and social networks.
We have adapted these for use within the Department of Health. It is widely acknowledged that active listening can be more important and productive than responding to each and every negative comment – which may be perceived as over-zealous, and could damage the department's reputation.
Comment should therefore be limited to staff with an understanding not only of health issues or departmental policy but also of social media techniques and engagement.
Any form of online communication that canvasses the views of the community and stakeholders may attract comments that are offensive, inappropriate or irrelevant; and many will require some form of moderation.
"Social media has two core metrics: Influence and Engagement"7 How you can most appropriately measure the success of your social media tools will depend on two factors:
You need to be clear on how you will define "success" for each individual tool or environment that you implement.
Social media tools and sites typically aim to create exposure for an organisation or idea; foster community engagement; influence community behaviours and opinions; and incite people and communities to take action. These four areas constitute Key Performance Indicators for measuring the success of a social media initiative.
Social media tools should be reviewed regularly to ensure that they continue to be relevant to the Department's mission and that they continue to address the objectives they were created to meet. This review should also consider whether the tool can continue to fulfil its purpose. These regular reviews will recommend whether the tool should be continued as is; continued with changes; or decommissioned.
Factors to consider include:
An excellent template Twitter strategy has been developed and provided on the Digital Engagement Blog of the UK Cabinet Office. The following Twitter Policy adapts that template to the Department of Health.
The complete Department of Health - Social Media Action Plan - Part 2: Staff Toolkit is also in pdf format (341kb). (This document requires the use of Adobe Acrobat Reader). .
For more information, contact:
Health Web Communications Unit, Department of Health.
Last updated: 18 October 2010
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