The rise of social media has changed the way many industries communicate to the public.
From Instagram to Twitter and corporate announcements on LinkedIn, social media and the emergence of digital journalism has transformed the way public relations practitioners relay information – regardless of the industry or sector.
STAYING ON MESSAGE
For defence and law enforcement communication and PR practitioners, the ability to connect with diverse audiences on various platforms is an opportunity to hone your narrative and warn of the importance of having a cohesive communication strategy that does not pose a risk to the public and active missions.
The power of social media is long-lasting, and as everyone knows, it isn’t easy to come back once you decide to share a tweet or send a Facebook post.
Yet, with the correct strategy and techniques, it can be maintained to effectively communicate with stakeholders, the media, and the public.
So how do you prepare high-ranking officials and media strategists within defence bodies and law enforcement organisations?
It begins with understanding the overall purpose of the communication and organisation and how social media can benefit the overall brand.
Practitioners must ask themselves three questions:
- What should be shared with the public?
- What should stay confidential?
- How should messages be delivered, and on which platforms?
Once these fundamental questions have been addressed, media strategists and defence body officials must relay the defence body’s strategic objectives and ensure content itself is clear and concise for the public to consume.
RISK AND REWARD – HOW TO COMMUNICATE ON SOCIAL MEDIA
From telling individual stories to sharing first-person narratives about the reality of life on the ground, and missions that have contributed to safeguarding the community, social media can break down barriers and position your defence or law enforcement organisation in a new light.
Perhaps one of the most critical aspects of social media is how high-ranking officials and employees alike use it. Despite disclaimers that “views are my own”, many people take to social media to follow influential figures.
Yet a spur of the moment re-tweet, improper use of Instagram, or simply having a poorly executed strategy can hinder and damage your organisations’ reputation.
When looking at the potential risks of engaging on social media, PR and communication strategists must ensure they are operating with authenticity despite having access to restricted information and maintaining limited transparency with the public.
By identifying risk – a crucial part of developing a communication strategy for a public relations strategist – a defence or law enforcement communications strategist can remain aware of what can be shared publicly on social media, stay internal or remain classified – and communicate that to employees throughout the organisation.
IMPLEMENTING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY
Since social media platforms are the fastest way to relay messages, it would only be helpful for strategists to use them as a source of delivery rather than the only delivery mechanism. Posting press release links from government official websites on social media would give the public a clear, official and formal idea of the situation.
With the right tools and techniques, social media is beneficial overall: a quick and easy way to deliver messages in times of need and spread information in a larger capacity and range.
KC Academy’s exclusive course on Defence & Law Enforcement Communications examines the fundamentals of media & communication. In addition, it explores how PR strategists can optimise their plans to support organisations’ strategic objectives. For more information on this course and our specialist communication courses, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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