I was talking about eight years of developing social media to a group of new police press officers and communications people today. It was an opportunity to reflect on what has been achieved and where we have moved to over the years.
Back in 2010 social media was a new thing and something in addition to our traditional communication channels. It was interesting and presented some new opportunities to connect with people in a really direct way.
The first thing was to understand what it was and what it could do and then to set that against the organisations objectives to start to see the future. There has been a lot of learning over the last eight years.
As I reflect back there are some important lessons. First it was about keeping focused on what we wanted to achieve and not getting carried away with the shiny bright lights of this new communication channel.
It was vital to demonstrate what it could do so that people across the business were interested and wanted to learn more. Then it was about showing the real operational results that helped the frontline.
There was always a ruthless streak. If something wasn’t working we would ditch it and try something else. There was no major review just a recognition that a new direction was needed. I have written before about the importance of recognising when things don’t work and seeing it as learning not failure.
In eight years we have moved from broadcast to engagement on social media and now comes the biggest challenge which is finding ways to develop it for service delivery.
In less than a decade the world of communication has changed beyond recognition. There is a lot we can celebrate while recognising there is no time to sit back and think the job is done.