Harsh but true … but how many public bodies are getting social all wrong?
There’s a theory, normally floated by press officers at organisations who feel they get a raw deal from the the local Press that they don’t actually need the local press any more.
The theory goes that, well, no-one reads local newspapers any more so they don’t have much impact and, well, there’s social media. We’ll talk to people directly! We’re the council/police/hospital, people trust us. And so on.
Previously, that theory didn’t involve social media, it was the rationale for creating council newspapers, with the added benefit of being able to spend tens of thousands of pounds of council advertising budget on getting a one-sided message across.
Now, however, that theory is bust. Reporters who previously saw their stories read by a diminishing number of newspaper readers now know the number reading them online is going up by the day. A story which begins life in a local newsroom can go across the country within minutes. Tesco knows this – which is why its marketing director tells his teams to take queries from local journalists seriously.
Social media is a two-way street for journalists. It makes it easier to get past the myriad of press relation regulations local public organisations have in place, but it also gives those public bodies the chance to speak to people directly.
The question I want to pose is this: Is that access to the public being abused?