A lonely shortened Facebook link on Twitter – Safety-PIO-SM-14-004

14-004: A lonely shortened Facebook link on Twitter
Agency: South Central Sierra Interagency IMT Topic(s):         Shared information/update
Date: Summer 2014 Platform:        Twitter

 

Speed is primarily the reason why everyone loves social media…especially Twitter. Many agencies use social media to provide updates and information when assigned to certain incidents. That’s what the South Central Sierra Interagency Incident Management Team did during the French Fire in California when they pushed this lonely shortened Facebook link out on Twitter.

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I get that 140 character max on Twitter is short…and you have lots to say…and you don’t have time…and blah blah blah. Everyone else doesn’t have time too. But pushing a non-descript link, does raise a concern that perhaps your account has been compromised by spam bots. Your agency has worked diligently to establish solid working relationships. During an emergency is the WORST time for your audience to question and/or ignore your official accounts with trusted reliable information.

 

If your social media plan calls for directing all efforts to Facebook as the primary source of information, a Public Information Officer (PIO) should still take the time to provide a little information (like a short description) on other platforms driving the traffic to that primary source. Providing just a link is not enough.

In the PIO business, we are forced to be precise, however just providing a link pertaining to a dangerous situation or disasters will not be enough to satiate the Twittersphere’s social interest.

 

Audiences change on various social media platforms, however, many agencies *think* they are all the same.

Knowing your audience is the hallmark of success. If you pair your Facebook and Twitter accounts to save time and to pass the exact same message – you should consider separating them now. Remember, you write/post/share information differently on various social media platforms.

 

A more effective tweet could have read:

Still assigned to the French Fire here in California-Check out pictures frm @BLMNational Interagency Fire fb.me/1BV35Tytx #CAWildfire

By phrasing it this way:

  1. You have more visibility by informing your followers that your team is still assigned to the incident.
  2. The link looks less spammy and readers know what the specific content is in the link.
  3. Your #hashtag will give more information about the current overall disaster/emergency.
  4. Your readers are likely to click on this hyperlink because it will take them to a picture. People love pictures.
  5. Your agency shows coordinated efforts with national response agencies when you use @mentions on twitter.

 

Time is valuable, so tweet good stuff.

 

@rusnivek

 

***To download this as a single-page printable format, click this: ALonelyShortenedFacebookLinkOnTwitter-Safety-PIO-SM-14-004a

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Write For Different Platforms-Safety-PIO-SM-14-003

14-003: Write for Different Platforms

Agency: Rocky Mountain Area IMT

Topic(s):         Social Media Platform Specific Messaging

Date: Summer 2014

Platform(s):    Press Release vs Twitter

Despite the message being essentially the same, every communications platform is different.

Speed is important, but correctly addressing your audience is critical in the world of public information.

On July 1, 2014, this tweet was posted on the Rocky Mountain Area Incident Management Team’s feed during the Eightmile Fire while deployed in Canon City, Colorado.

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“FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” In all caps? All caps use on social media portrays yelling. Professionals should portray calm/control.

Twitter’s social media platform premise is a fast microblog service focusing on immediate information. This templated press release lingo (FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE) is not necessary. Every tweet is automatically time/date stamped including matching the recipients’ time zone. Do not waste your valuable 140 characters.

To me, this was a cut-and-paste action, or even worse yet, they just linked the agency’s Facebook and Twitter accounts together. No time was spent in addressing the various platforms used to push this valuable information. Remember, PIO actions on each platform in social media are not generic, they are specific. We talk about safety to kids differently than we inform adults on safety right? Likewise, we should address our audiences on social media accordingly to the platform they use.

A more effective tweet could have read:

“Updated information & stats on the #Eightmile Fire ongoing in Colorado can be found here fb.me/6KArLmgFr

By phrasing it this way:

  1. The tweet is shorter and more concise.
  2. Tweet identifies where the Rocky Mountain Area Incident Management Team is deployed.
  3. The main point of contact is identified on the Facebook link provided if more specific information is needed.
  4. Shorter messaging will allow your followers to retweet/repost and amplify your information.
  5. The use of hashtags will help audiences find information about the #Eightmile Fire and identify the Rocky Mountain Area Incident Management Team as a trusted source of information.

Know the differences in mainstream social media platforms because what will work on one old platform (press release) will NOT work on newer platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc…) Know social media and use their amenities to your advantage.

 Time is valuable, so post good stuff.

@rusnivek

***To download this as a single-page printable format, click this: WriteForDifferentPlatforms-Safety-PIO-SM-14-003