The right tool for the job: social media in the public service

Social media has emerged as a powerful tool for public sector organisations. But it’s just part of a holistic communications strategy, and it’s important to use the right tool for the job.

The tweeting of government has become deafening. Two million micro-messages later, digital engagement has reached some sort of zenith.

And it’s not just Twitter — other social media platforms are now widely used by government entities and their senior staff members in a professional capacity. Service-based agencies continue to use social media to replace or supplement their call centres and face-to-face contact options, while public servants are forming and joining online communities of practice, crowd-sourcing ideas, and breaking public consultation processes into bite-sized chunks.

When the 2012-13 State of the Service report was published, 75% of agencies were using social media to support business outcomes one way or another, and usage has only increased since.

Together, various online platforms offer the combined powers of publication, communication and dissemination at low cost and with relatively minimal training, making them a no-brainer for the public service. When your work either affects or directly serves at least some of the public, it makes sense to have a wide range of ways to connect with the public.

FREE membership to The Mandarin

Receive unlimited access, get all the latest public sector news and features, plus The Juice, our daily news update sent direct to your inbox.

The Mandarin is where Australia's public sector leaders discuss their work and the issues faced within modern bureaucracy. Join today to discover the latest in public administration thinking and news from our dedicated reporters, current and former agency heads and senior executives.