Towards a UN social media strategy (for printing)

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Towards a UN social media strategy (for printing)

  1. 1. Joe MitchellOur people are our voiceTowards a social mediastrategy for the United NationsSummer 2012 v.0.5 First draft by Joe Mitchell (@j0e_m) Disclaimer: this document does not (yet) represent the views of any people actually employed by the UN. 1
  2. 2. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mTable of Contents1. Executive summary ........................................................................................................ 52. Background and methodology................................................................................... 83. Audience.............................................................................................................................. 9 3.1. Who do we hope to engage with in social media? ....................................................... 9 3.2. How can we segment this group of people? .................................................................. 9 3.3. What do audiences want or expect from the UN in social media? ...................... 10 3.4. Where do people get information about the UN? ...................................................... 11 3.5. What social platforms do they use? ................................................................................ 11 3.6. What is social media’s mother tongue? ......................................................................... 12 3.7. What is social media use like across the time zones? .............................................. 14 3.8. What about those who don’t have internet access?.................................................. 14 3.9. What does this all mean? How should this data inform our strategy? .............. 164. Existing UN communication objectives ............................................................... 17 4.1. UN system-wide communication objectives...................................................... 17 4.2. Secretary-General’s Five-Year Action Agenda ................................................... 18 4.3. UN Competencies for the Future ........................................................................ 18 4.4. Committee on Information .................................................................................. 19 4.5. Department of Public Information objectives ................................................... 21 4.6. DPI Strategic Communications Division (SCD) priorities................................. 225. Suggested vision, mission and objectives ........................................................... 23 5.1. Comparing models of corporate social media ............................................................ 23 5.2. Suggested vision, mission and objectives for UN DPI social media team ......... 25 5.3. Turning objectives into SMART goals ............................................................................ 266. Evaluation......................................................................................................................... 297. Realising our vision – part one: staff training ................................................... 30 2
  3. 3. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m 7.1. Baseline research on staff and social media ................................................................ 30 7.2. Our people objectives ........................................................................................................... 35 7.3. How to go about realising the objectives ...................................................................... 358. Realising our vision – part two: UN branded accounts ................................. 38 8.1. General ....................................................................................................................................... 38 8.2. Which platforms should DPI use? .................................................................................... 38 8.3. Languages and local focus................................................................................................... 39 8.4. Platform use ............................................................................................................................. 39 8.5. Content plan and workflow for accounts managed by DPI.................................... 41 8.5.1. Content plan ......................................................................................................................... 41 8.5.2. Workflow and work tools ............................................................................................... 41 8.5.3. Workflow diagram: ........................................................................................................... 429. DPI’s coordination role across UN system ......................................................... 43 9.1. General ....................................................................................................................................... 43 9.2. Procurement ............................................................................................................................ 43 9.3. Liaison with owners of platforms .................................................................................... 43 9.4. Knowledge sharing ................................................................................................................ 43 9.5. Shared evaluation metrics .................................................................................................. 4410. Next steps ......................................................................................................................... 45 3
  4. 4. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mAppendices/Annexes .......................................................................................................... 47A. DPI Structure......................................................................................................................................... 47B. Information on UNICs ........................................................................................................................ 48C. Notes from UN Communications Group ..................................................................................... 50D. Objectives from the Committee on Information’s draft resolution to 67th GA ............ 51E. Status, basic rights and duties of United Nations staff members (ST/SGB/2002/13) 52F. World Summit 2005 ........................................................................................................................... 53G. Interviews with social media practitioners in UN system .................................................. 55H. Data on literacy, first and second languages, social media platform use ...................... 59I. The US State Dept model (staff numbers in brackets) .......................................................... 60J. Giant spreadsheet of everything ................................................................................................... 62K. Micro goals for each platform......................................................................................................... 63 a) Twitter ................................................................................................................................................. 63 b) Facebook ............................................................................................................................................. 64 c) Weibo ................................................................................................................................................... 65 d) UN blogs platform (blogs.un.org) ............................................................................................... 66 e) Pinterest .............................................................................................................................................. 67L. Tools for brand accounts workflow ............................................................................................. 68M. How to deal with multilingual and multinational brands on Facebook......................... 69 4
  5. 5. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m1. Executive summaryThere is currently no social media strategy for the United Nations. This document attempts to providea platform upon which to build one. It was written by Joe Mitchell, a social media intern, based onevidence from existing UN documentation, interviews with UN system-wide social media specialists,and desk-based internet research on the best practice in the public and private sectors.This document in 30 secondsIn sum, the UN should aim for a model of corporate social media use in which its staff freely form acoherent group who discuss the UN’s work and engage with the public in the digital space. Staffshould be empowered with support and training from the Department of Public Information (DPI).Corporate or brand accounts should remain only where they contribute to a specific strategic goal,such as being used to highlight the best of staff-produced content and performing a sign-posting role,helping users find and engage with the UN staff in the field they are interested in.Our overall vision is that our people will be our voice.Our mission is to help staff realise this vision through training and support. We aim to create a UNthat is: more human, open and transparent. It will be better connected internally to staff, externally tostakeholders, and globally to the world’s public.These aims must be made real through specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely (SMART)goals, such as: we will train 0.5% of UN staff in good social media practice by 2014. We expect theoutcome to be an a 1000% increase in UN staff using digital media at least 5 times per week by 2014.A full matrix of objectives, outputs (what we do), intermediate and overall outcomes (the expectedresult), along with ways to measure each of these, is provided in section 5.3.Each section of the rest of this document is briefly summarised below.AudienceThere are at least two billion internet users on Earth. We cannot communicate with all of them atonce. We must segment the audience to make it easier to get our messages across. This segmentationis partly designed into the world’s population through language use and platform use, but we shouldalso think about other ways we can segment the audience to improve efficiencies. Section three alsoshows that there is a lack of information on what the audience wants from the UN, and that we do notknow enough about global perceptions and knowledge of the UN. As social media use grows over thenext decades to cover the entire world, we must build the data that will help direct us to engage withthe world’s populations on the platforms that they choose, in the languages they speak.Existing objectivesA review of a range of documentation relating to mandates and suggested roles for communication atthe UN shows a lack of coherent, prioritised and ultimately, strategic, objectives, targets andmeasures. The single strategic document found that provides clear goals and an accountabilityframework is the Senior Manager’s Compact, which will presumably need to be reviewed for the new 5
  6. 6. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mUSG. This represents an excellent opportunity for grasping a more strategic approach for the entiredepartment.Suggested Vision, Mission and ObjectivesA final set of objectives will be developed with extensive DPI/wider secretariat consultation and buy-in – a process that should be led by senior management. However, it is helpful to present examples ofwhat these should look like. This follows the principles laid out in the box above.EvaluationNew and improved evaluation techniques will be required to monitor the success of our work and toguide refinements as necessary. This will include simple data gathering, greater use of staff surveys(or pulling more data from those that already exist) and, more expensively, but essentially for longterm evaluation, comprehensive audience research performed by independent bodies.Plan for staff social media trainingDPI should develop ‘train the trainer’ programmes, a network of UN-system champions, andconstantly make the case for best practice in social media. We must reach out to other departments toensure a coherent approach across UN staff wherever they are. Training programmes should beginwith senior staff to seek the right buy-in, providing safe practice spaces where required. Essentiallythe DPI should manage a behaviour change campaign, providing advocacy, inspiration, seizing earlyadopters and using them to pass on the training to colleagues. DPI could develop a ‘training’ kit forthese champions, such as those who already sit on the DPI social media team. The broad idea is thatthe goal to become a social / networked organisation through social and networked methods.Plan for UN corporate accountsWhile we aim to encourage staff to lead digital discussions, ‘corporate’ or ‘brand’ accounts will stillbe required during the transition, and in the long term as starting points for the audience and asamplifiers or highlighters of UN staff communication. Realising this goal will require acomprehensive audit of social media accounts owned by the UN (not just DPI) and a consolidationaccording to the overall strategic goals. Accounts that remain after consolidation must be moretargeted to engage people at the closest possible level, which will require greater use of, and greaterresponsibility being devolved to, UNICs and country offices. Each brand account should have amicro-strategy with individual targets, a content plan, and have one overall supervisor.DPI’s coordination role across the UN systemWhile it would make sense for DPI to take a leadership role across the system, it currently lacks theresources to do this, and the current decentralised system of informal networking is working relativelywell for now. The absence of an authoritative centre may present problems in the long term,especially as social media use expands. In the short term, DPI could improve efficiencies throughmanaging system-wide procurement and providing a single-point-of-contact for platform owners (i.e.Facebook and Google public policy officers).Next stepsImmediately, DPI should: survey all UN staff, audit all UN social media accounts and start seekingcross-UN feedback on this strategy.Within the next three months, DPI should develop a staff training programme, liaise with HR, legaland senior management to build robust support for strategy. 6
  7. 7. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mWithin the next six months, objectives and SMART goals for the next four years should be decided byUSG with consultation with members of the Committee on Information.Appendices and AnnexesThe document provides a range of annexes and appendices that represent the background data that thedocument was built upon. These will be useful in creating a more formal strategy. 7
  8. 8. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m2. Background and methodologyThis attempt to write a draft strategy was inspired by a need to rethink the UN’s Facebook presence,including producing an appropriate platform strategy. But a strategy for any individual platformcannot exist without referring to larger overall goals of the UN in social media. These do not exist, sothis document is designed to generate discussion and encourage a move towards more strategic use ofsocial media, and better strategic communication by the UN overall.Research was carried out in the forms of desk-based internet research, interviews with social mediapractitioners across the UN system, and an examination of particularly successful examples of socialmedia use from across the private sector (particularly in consumer goods companies) as well asnotable UN agencies and national governments.About the authorJoe Mitchell was an intern with the social media team in the Department for Public Information’sStrategic Communications Division from May 2012 to September 2012. His academic background isin law and governance (BA Oxford, LLM London) and he has worked in the communication andresearch fields for range of charities, politicians, media. His most recent job was in UK governmentcommunication strategy in which he worked on a range of digital campaigns and strategic planning.He joined the UN while undertaking an MA Global Governance at the University of Waterloo(Ontario, Canada) and is passionate about democratising global governance institutions. He benefitsfrom both a lack of experience and knowledge of the internal workings of the UN and a clear idea ofwhat a high quality communications strategy looks like.He just about scrapes into the sociological/marketing category of ‘digital native’, ‘millennial worker’and ‘generation Y’. 8
  9. 9. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m3. Audience 3.1. Who do we hope to engage with in social media?The UN can reasonably claim to serve everyone on earth. As the Department of Public Informationforms the centre of UN-wide communications, it is assumed that we aspire to communicate with allseven billion people.For the DPI social media team specifically, this means everyone with a social media profile. These arecalled ‘the audience’ throughout the document; though note that this is shorthand for ‘group we wantto engage with’, rather than ‘group we want to receive information’.There are 2.3bn users of the internet.1 According to comScore, 82% of internet users use socialnetworking sites2 (this rises to 98% in certain countries3) – see the image below. However, thecomScore data is only based on 43 countries, a typical problem with commercial data.Whatever the precise number, there are at least 1bn people on earth who the UN can hope to reachthrough social media – and this is growing all the time in developing countries. 3.2. How can we segment this group of people?Talking to a billion people at once is impossible: if you’re talking to everyone, you’re talking to noone. Language, cultural and contextual difference mean that any communications strategy must bedriven by efforts to speak to people as close to their level (of education, of language, of culturalreferences) as possible. Thus efforts should be made to segment the audience.Some segmentation is forced upon us, such as through language groups, time zones, user platformchoices, and so on. We also apply segmentation in ad-hoc fashion. For example, we use our celebrityambassadors to highlight particular issues (e.g. ‘youth’).1 http://www.itu.int/ITU-D/ict/statistics/material/pdf/2011%20Statistical%20highlights_June_2012.pdf2 http://blog.comscore.com/2012/01/its_a_social_world.html Note that they claim that this means 1.2bn usesocial networking sites – clearly estimating a vastly smaller internet user population than ITU.3 http://www.foliomag.com/2011/report-98-percent-u-s-online-population-uses-social-networks 9
  10. 10. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mThe local UN Information Centres, of which there are 62 around the world, also indirectly segmentour audience into country or region groups, though membership of these groups is not limited,meaning that our audience may also engage at the worldwide (or headquarter) level.In order to segment our audience more usefully in order to more appropriately apply limited UNresources, we need insight into our audience. This includes: – Which platforms they use – Which languages they can read, – What information they want, – How they want to engage (times, platforms, style)A first attempt at gathering some of this data is shown below (and annexed where appropriate).However, a more thorough approach is required. Many large scale private sector organisationsoperating globally would commission extensive research – or have an in-house communicationsresearch team – to build the evidence base for the communications strategy. This is a vital step in anengagement strategy, but the UN does not have any central research commissioning ability – or even aresearch team who have the expertise to gather and review publicly available information. UNagencies may be different.4 3.3. What do audiences want or expect from the UN in social media?In any conversation, you partly share new information and respond to the wishes of your audience. Asa result, we cannot only be led by what we think should be shared with the online public. We need tobe aware of what people want from our social media presences, and what they want from UNcommunications in general.Again, we lack the robust data or measurement to properly judge this. A full social media audit, inwhich online discussion of the UN, wherever that takes place, is monitored for a few days to build arobust sample, is recommended.Anecdotal evidence from the public responses on Twitter and Facebook (English) suggest that usersare often ignorant of how the UN works and what it can achieve. This could be one area that becomesan objective for social media. For example, one goal could be to ‘improve average knowledge of theUN’ with the corresponding indicator of ‘more mentions of “member states” or “[specific UNagency]” as opposed to simply “the UN”’, etc.According to a rough average of data from Pew Global Attitudes survey, in answer to the question‘Please tell me if you have a very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable, or very unfavorable opinionof...the United Nations’, people answered as follows: o Very favourable: 14% o Somewhat favourable: 40% o Somewhat unfavourable: 19%4 Unfortunately, this question was not asked in the interviews. It could be included in any future round. 10
  11. 11. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m o Don’t know/Not sure: 14%From a quick read of the data, several countries tended towards very favourable (e.g. Bangladesh),many tended towards somewhat favourable (e.g. EU nations, Brazil,) others to somewhatunfavourable (China – worsened quickly, recently).In terms of social media followers, the DPI social focal point who runs the @UN twitter accountreports that a brief survey of followers of the account suggests that in order of size, the audience canbe broken down into: unknown or unaffiliated individuals, business accounts (inc spam), NGO staff,other UN staff, media, students, national governments/diplomats. It includes both supporters anddetractors of the UN’s work. 3.4. Where do people get information about the UN?Most people’s knowledge of the UN probably comes from local media. In the digital space, however,aside from our social media presences, the following are two important sources:UN WebsiteAccording to Alexa data, the un.org website ranks 3,669 in the world, 4,740 in the US, but it is verypopular in Africa (49th in Benin, 122nd in DRC etc). Fourteen per cent of visitors to un.org go on tocareers.un.org or inspira.un.org. Six per cent of visitors go on to unstats.un.org. Two-thirds go on toother sub-domains. Visitors to the website represent 0.04% of internet users (with spikes as high as0.08%). nytimes.com, for comparison, is around 1%.The average user of un.org views 3.5 pages (for comparison, this is slightly higher than nytimes.com)and spends an average of 3.5 minutes on the site.Relative to the general population, visitors to un.org are more likely to be graduates and to be 65+.15.3% of the audience comes from the US, 5.9% from India, 5% from China, 5% from Mexico, 4.6%from France, 3.1% from UK, 2.9% from Nigeria (then Spain, Finland, Germany, South Korea, Russia,Sudan, Canada, Japan…..).5WikipediaIt is hard to get Wikipedia user data. In December 2010, according to unofficial data, we were the683rd most popular page on Wikipedia. That meant about 280,000 hits for the month.6 There might bean easy way for the web team to get us more recent data. 3.5. What social platforms do they use?Facebook is the most popular social networking site in the world, but there are several nations inwhich competitors have greater numbers of users. ComScore’s 2011 Global Social Media Reportprovides useful information on their top 43 markets, including the table overleaf on markets in whichFacebook is not the most popular social network (at 2011).75 http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/un.org6 http://stats.grok.se/en/top7 On file with the author, or download via registration athttp://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Presentations_Whitepapers/2011/it_is_a_social_world_top_10_need-to-knows_about_social_networking 11
  12. 12. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mAssuming that we want to reach all people, everywhere, this shows that there are certain nations andplatforms that we seem to be missing.A more detailed appraisal of languages, social media platforms, audiences etc in a one-stopspreadsheet/database of country data would be super useful. As part of the research for this document,a start was made on building this data (follow this link to the spreadsheet), but data collection on thisscale needs significant resource from an individual or perhaps an impressive crowd-sourcing effortfrom across the UN. 3.6. What is social media’s mother tongue?The digital public space theoretically makes country borders irrelevant in terms of communication andinformation. Language, however, still divides the world’s peoples. It is important to know whatlanguage people are engaging in social media so that we can join them. Unfortunately, data onlanguages tends only to be provided in terms of nations – there are very few ‘global’ languagemeasures. Another problem is that literacy, rather than spoken language, is what we need to measure.8Most widely used languages:The table below contains a list of the world’s languages sorted by most populous literate populations:8 This will remain true unless sound-based networks take off (e.g. SoundCloud). 12
  13. 13. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m Language Literate population Percentage of the worlds literate population Chinese (Mandarin) 794,947,565 14.68% English 572,977,034 10.58% Spanish 295,968,824 5.47% Hindi/Urdu 230,560,488 4.26% Arabic 229,444,922 4.24% French 220,326,329 4.07% Russian 194,503,049 3.59% Portuguese 191,739,619 3.54% Japanese 126,159,159 2.33% Bengali 107,897,009 1.99% German 93,969,555 1.74%The source document of the table above also suggests that English is by far the most popularpublishing language for books, newspapers, film and web pages. 9The six official UN languagesThe UN’s official languages, not the working languages, are Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), English,French, Russian, and Spanish (Castilian).10 These ‘are the mother tongue or second language of abouthalf of the worlds population.’11 Thus social media in six languages led by the centre misses out morethan half the world’s population – this does not meet with the presumed goal of talking to everyone.Even within these large language groups, there are significant differences in national spelling, dialectsand usage etc. For example, American English is not the same as British English. The UN twitteraccount attempts to follow the UN style guide, but this could end up satisfying neither reader.Missing languagesThe difficulties of finding robust data on literate populations of languages are demonstrated below, ina table that presents data different from the table above. The table below shows five countries forwhich none of the UN official languages are a mother tongue or a lingua franca. While these countriesmay use one of the six UN languages as one of their official languages, it may be that only thegovernment or a small elite use it, which is not helpful for reaching people through social media. Thedata is taken mainly from Wikipedia and Ethnologue, with literacy calculated by the CIA Factbookstatistics.129 Lobachev (2008) Top languages in global information production, Partnership: the Canadian Journal ofLibrary and Information Practice and Research, vol. 3, no. 2 (2008):http://journal.lib.uoguelph.ca/index.php/perj/article/view/826/135810 Their ‘official’ nature is not given in the Charter, but in Rule 51 of the Rules of Procedure for the GeneralAssembly. It is not immediately clear why the Secretariat has to follow this rule in non-GA related work.11 https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/xx.html12 Data taken from the working database here, and Wikipedia:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_English-speaking_population 13
  14. 14. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m State First language Population literate in a non-UN official language India Hindi etc Approx. 900m (English speakers est. ~125m) Indonesia Bahasa etc Approx. 200m Japan Japanese Approx. 126m Brazil Portuguese Approx. 163m Pakistan Urdu etc Approx. 100mEach of these countries is home to a UN Information Centre, which could take the lead in engagingwith the digital audience in the right language and on the right platform, after being set clear targetsby DPI in New York.13 3.7. What is social media use like across the time zones?No data was found on social media use (language, platform, etc) by time zones. This would be useful,because if the time zones split naturally into dominant language groups, this might be an easy way oftargeting specific audiences, based on the various studies of the times of day at which people most usesocial networks. This would help more accurate language targeting and decisions as to who should berunning the central accounts. Clearly, time zones are another reason to prefer greater action by localUN staff and UNICs. 3.8. What about those who don’t have internet access?The ITU chart below shows the limits of internet access in many countries across the world.According to ITU’s 2011 statistics, only 2.3bn have access to the internet, leaving 4.7bn without,though access is growing quickly. This divide between those with access and those without is knownas the digital divide.13 For example, UNIC India could be better resourced, or given greater freedom to act in social media alongwith targets to hugely increase their 619 Facebook likes and 2,000+ followers on Twitter to better reflect India’s52m Facebook users. Total twitter numbers are not available, but top Indian celebrities on twitter - AmitabhBachan, Priyanka Chopra, Shah Rukh Khan - each have over 2.5m followers. Socialbakers.com (Aug 2012) 14
  15. 15. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m 14Other findings from ITU 2011There are other divides: by gender (fewer women access the internet than men); by education (thosewith only primary education are less likely to access the internet); and by rural/urban habitation indeveloping countries (rural connections are fewer).These divides create a risk that engagement through social media may unfairly bias the connected -through extra opportunities, providing a greater weight to their voices, etc. Those without access maybe left behind – uninformed, not consulted, unable to seek accountability, etc. This effect can beoverstated, given how quickly internet use is growing and the fact that social media is still a long wayfrom having significant policy impacts at organisations like the UN. By the time it does, hopefully amajority of the world will have access.15For this strategy, it is enough to state that social media at the UN must be ready to include newlyonline audiences in the developing world, and that resources are not focused too highly upon media-saturated markets in North America and Europe.14 ITU, 201115 There are a lot of campaigns looking to solve the digital divide. Most famously, One Laptop Per Child,(olpc.org) and the more important infrastructure stuff with ITU, Internet Foundation etc. 15
  16. 16. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m 16It is also important to note the clear trend of rapid growth in mobile broadband access viasmartphones – currently +40% per year. By 2013, smartphone ownership will overtake PCownership,17 and by 2015, 3.2bn mobile broadband connections will exist. At that growth rate, asocial media strategy should prepare for a 90% connected world by 2020.18The United Nations should get ready to engage with a truly global audience and to focus on networksthat have successful phone-based applications. For example, RenRen and Facebook have specificlow-bandwidth phone versions, e.g. Facebook Zero allows users free access to the simple text versionof the platform - Facebook signed deals with operators to ensure this – and users can pay for extradata for photos, etc.19 3.9. What does this all mean? How should this data inform our strategy?The basic analysis of the global digital audience above suggests several things worth taking intoaccount in any social media strategy. The following sections will draw these elements out further. Let’s be realistic about what we can achieve. For example, @UN isn’t talking to the world, it’s engaging with literate English users of Twitter. There are lots of languages that we’re not communicating in. We should examine the possibility of using a wider group of languages – using all staff may be the only way of covering these in people’s mother tongues Let’s target some of the biggest/easiest gaps first. Instruct and support the UNICs in India, Bangladesh, Brazil, etc, to reach greater digital audiences. Let’s find out what big media networks do and learn from them – which networks try to engage across the world? How do they reach everyone? In the long term, let’s prepare our work for global social networking via mobile phones.16 ITU, 2011.17 http://www.globaltelecomsbusiness.com/pdf/40u40_conway.pdf18 http://www.gsma.com/newsroom/gsma-research-demonstrates-that-mobile-industry-is-creating-a-connected-economy/19 ITU, 2011: 126. 16
  17. 17. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m4. Existing UN communication objectivesThere is currently no overall vision or specific objective for social media, which would normally beprovided by management or leaders of the department. Ultimately, these need to come from the UnderSecretary General for Public Information, and form part of the overall communication objectives ofthe United Nations Secretariat.These must be agreed in order to clarify what we’re doing, put our work on a surer footing, preparefor questions from member states, and work towards achieving the wider goals of the UN.In the sub-sections below, this document lays out relevant UN documentation that might guide avision or mission for social media at the UN and ultimately a list of ‘SMART’ goals or objectives.‘SMART’ goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound goals. A draft setwill be included as an example in the next section. 4.1. UN system-wide communication objectivesThere is nothing in the Charter of the UN that directly concerns communication objectives.Three aspects of the Standards of Conduct for the International Civil Service (2002) are copied below,highlighted to emphasise certain aspects: “Working relations … 17. It is naturally incumbent on managers and supervisors to communicate effectively with their staff and share information with them. International civil servants have a reciprocal responsibility to provide all pertinent facts and information to their supervisors and to abide by and defend any decisions taken, even when these do not accord with their personal views.” “Relations with the media 34. Openness and transparency in relations with the media are effective means of communicating the organizations’ messages, and the organizations should have guidelines and procedures for this purpose. Within that context, the following principles should apply: international civil servants should regard themselves as speaking in the name of their organizations and avoid personal references and views; in no circumstances should they use the media to further their own interests, to air their own grievances, to reveal unauthorized information or to attempt to influence policy decisions facing their organizations.” Use and protection of information 35. The disclosure of confidential information may seriously jeopardize the efficiency and credibility of an organization. International civil servants are responsible for exercising discretion in 17
  18. 18. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m all matters of official business. They must not divulge confidential information without authorization. Nor should international civil servants use information that has not been made public and is known to them by virtue of their official position to private advantage. These are obligations that do not cease upon separation from service. It is necessary for organizations to maintain guidelines for the use and protection of confidential information, and it is equally necessary for such guidelines to keep pace with developments in communications technology. It is understood that these provisions do not affect established practices governing the exchange of information between the secretariats.” 4.2. Secretary-General’s Five-Year Action AgendaSG Ban Ki-moon has established five ‘generational imperatives and opportunities’: ‘sustainabledevelopment, prevention [of violent conflict and economic shocks], building a safer and more secureworld by innovating and building on our core business, supporting nations in transition and workingwith and for women and young people’. The ‘enablers’ of these elements are: ‘harnessing the fullpower of partnership across the range of UN activities’ and ‘strengthening the United Nations’.The full text of the SG’s Five-Year Agenda includes several references to connectivity, collaborationand social norm development, all of which are inherent in the nature of social media.20 Specifically,social media can play a role in ‘mapping, linking, collecting and integrating information from acrossthe international system,’21 and is an inexpensive, effective tool which could help ‘build a modernworkforce supported by a global Secretariat that shares financial, human and physical resources,knowledge and information technology more effectively.’22 4.3. UN Competencies for the FutureThe UN has three core staff values: integrity, professionalism and respect for diversity. These shouldbe observed in social media practice.The ‘core competencies’ include: communication (the first priority); teamwork; planning andorganising; accountability; creativity; client orientation; commitment to continuous learning; andtechnological awareness. The first and last of these are particularly relevant to any social mediastrategy and for guidelines to staff so are re-iterated below:Communication: - speaks and writes clearly and effectively - listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately - asks questions to clarify, and exhibits interest in having two-way communication - tailors language, tone, style and format to match the audience - demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informedTechnological awareness: - keeps abreast of available technology - understands applicability and limitations of technology to the work of the office20 http://www.un.org/sg/priorities/sg_agenda_2012.pdf21 Ibid. point 2, page 6.22 Ibid. point 2, page 12. 18
  19. 19. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m - actively seeks to apply technology to appropriate tasks - shows willingness to learn new technology23Broad staff adoption and effective use of social media tools would demonstrate both of thesecompetencies. As such, the UN should consider making social media use an official part (perhapsrequirement) of the recruitment, training and appraisal of UN staff.There are also several ‘managerial competencies’, of which ‘empowering others’ seems the mostrelevant for this strategy. Social media is an empowering tool, giving staff members a voice to takepart in a global conversation, and empowering them at work by demonstrating that management truststaff to speak on behalf of the organisation. 4.4. Committee on InformationThe Committee on Information is the group of General Assembly members who help direct the UN’scommunications’ work. The mandate of the General Assembly’s Committee on Information is to: 24 continue to examine United Nations public information policies and activities, in the light of the evolution of international relations, particularly during the past two decades, and of the imperatives of the establishment of the new international economic order and of a new world information and communication order; evaluate and follow up the efforts made and the progress achieved by the United Nations system in the field of information and communications; and promote the establishment of a new, more just and more effective world information and communication order intended to strengthen peace and international understanding and based on the free circulation and wider and better-balanced dissemination of information and to make recommendations thereon to the General Assembly.In the spirit of this mandate, social media can certainly help achieve a more just world informationorder – it gives all people with access to the internet a voice, ends monopolies on information andcreates democratic, horizontal space for communication. There are many examples of new voices onAfrica emerging through social media, as well as examples of social media by those not free to betterdisseminate information.25Committee on Information session 23 April 2012, New YorkAt this meeting of the CoI, speakers commended the ‘common strategy’, ‘joint communicationsproducts’ and ‘coordinating’ role of DPI for the Rio+20 conference.23 Used a hard copy of this Annan-era document, but it may be available online.24 http://www.un.org/en/ga/coi/about/bg.shtml [emphasis added]25 E.g. Africaisacountry blog, Calestous Juma, the Ushahidi people, etc., and all the emerging social medialeaders in North Africa. 19
  20. 20. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m One speaker, addressing the Committee on behalf of a large group, underlined that new information and communications technologies and social media not only enabled the United Nations to carry out numerous activities in a more cost-effective and environmentally friendly manner, but also paved the way to connect with new audiences, such as young people. The use of new media helped people in the Middle East to break through the barriers of censorship and repression, call out for justice and demand democratic change.On internal communication, an area which can be greatly transformed by social media, one speakeradvised the promotion of greater internal communication, networking with relevant United Nations agencies and coordination with civil society, business and other relevant groups in order to function better with existing resources.Social media allows for better networking between staff across agencies and time zones. This couldbe through Unite Connect, but often it is easier to use public platforms for non-confidential material.As many staff will use public platforms already, this approach would require fewer new registrations,fewer extra passwords to remember, fewer problems logging in from outside headquarters, etc. It issimpler for staff and therefore more likely to be used, and because the platforms are public, they areultimately more transparent. The UN Teamworks platform (owned by UNDP) is already a usefulsemi-public tool with 33,000 members. Private internal groups can be set up by UN staff on thatplatform.Committee on Information’s draft resolution for GA67After the debate, the committee adopted the following draft resolution for the GA in September 2012.Excerpts from the resolution are copied below as further elements that a social media strategy mustconsider. Fuller excerpts can be found annexed at the foot of this document. …a culture of communications and transparency should permeate all levels of the Organization… …the overall mission of DPI is to strengthen international support for the activities of the Organization with the greatest transparency… …a culture of evaluation and to continue to evaluate its products and activities with the objective of enhancing their effectiveness… … urges the Department of Public Information to encourage the United Nations Communications Group to promote linguistic diversity in its work, … …the Department of Public Information must prioritize its work programme…to focus its message and better concentrate its efforts and to match its programmes with the needs of its target audiences, on the basis of improved feedback and evaluation mechanisms… 20
  21. 21. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m …equitable treatment of all the official languages of the United Nations… …requests the Department of Public Information to contribute to raising the awareness of the international community of the importance of the implementation of the outcome documents of the World Summit on the Information Society [re ‘bridging the digital divide’]… …that information in local languages has the strongest impact on local populations… 4.5. Department of Public Information objectives‘The Department of Public Information (DPI) was established in 1946, by General Assemblyresolution 13 (I), to promote global awareness and understanding of the work of the UnitedNations.’26Its mission is to ‘communicate the ideals and work of the United Nations to the world; to interact andpartner with diverse audiences; and to build support for peace, development and human rights forall.’27The outgoing Under Secretary-General’s personal objectives (in the Senior Manager’s Compact withthe UN Secretary-General) are the only goals found during research for this document that actuallyprovide measures for accountability. An example is given below. The incoming USG will have anexcellent opportunity to redraft these objectives and stamp his authority on department.In the free form section, in which senior managers are invited to establish how they will meet suchgoals, the outgoing USG writes: 2826 http://www.un.org/en/hq/dpi/about.shtml27 Modified to become active tense. 21
  22. 22. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mThe new USG might similarly commit to make strong efforts in personal use of social media as partof his leadership of the department. 4.6. DPI Strategic Communications Division (SCD) prioritiesThis division establishes ‘communications priorities’ for the UN as well as annual campaigns. Theannual campaigns for 2012 regard June’s Rio+20 conference and the ongoing post-2015 developmentprogramme.These combined priorities are loose instructions for the following year. For example: Sustainable Development: The UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) will be a major focus of work for the entire UN System during the first half of 2012. In the lead-up to the conference, “The Future We Want” campaign, launched in November 2011, will aim to generate a global conversation on that theme, to build public awareness and support for sustainable development.29These priorities are not strategic objectives as such, because they lack clear measures of success.Further documentation:Other relevant information is annexed and should inform the full strategy.28 http://iseek.un.org/LibraryDocuments/1940-201102171145134231334.pdf (this may not be publicinformation? But it should be.)29 UN Department of Public Information, 2012 Communications Priorities. Dec 15, 2011. 22
  23. 23. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m5. Suggested vision, mission and objectives for social media at the United NationsThis section takes account of the half-goals and unclear-objectives mentioned above, and suggestsideas for a coherent, complete vision statement for the UN in social media as well as strategicobjectives of what we want to achieve in this field.This is a draft document, these goals are suggestions only. To ensure their sustainability, anyobjectives need to be debated widely among DPI staff, and bought-into by those staff who will try tomeet them. Ultimately the objectives must be approved, led and monitored by the leaders of thisdepartment. 5.1. Comparing models of corporate social mediaThis subsection models different social media structures in large corporations, taken from work byJeremiah Owyang of Alterian, a web research company.30Currently, the large number of UN accounts and the lack of cohesion between them reflects an‘organic’ style (Diagram 1). This reflects the fact that social media use has developed with no realstrategic vision, with several departments pursuing their own ill-defined goals and vision, passing oninformation as and when they individually see fit.Instead, the vision of the UN in social media should be to achieve a ‘holistic’ style. This modelreflects a staff who are active in social media and are aligned in the same direction with similar butpersonal voices, engaging in a consistent, but unforced, fashion.Creating a ‘holistic’ approach to social media will require considerable training, and, vitally, a crystalclear vision and strategy from the top, to ensure that staff members understand the collective goal thatthey are working towards.There is a risk that the UN, as a bureaucratic organisation (in the literal sense, not the normativecriticism), will take a ‘centralised’ approach (Diagram 3). This is would be a response unfit for the21st century, which would deter staff from engaging and would require the sort of rigorous control thatthe UN probably does not have capacity for. If there is to be a step between organic and holistic, thatstep should be the ‘multiple hub and spokes’ model (Diagram 4).30 http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2010/04/15/framework-and-matrix-the-five-ways-companies-organize-for-social-business/ 23
  24. 24. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m Organic: “Notice that the dots (those using social tools) are inconsistent in size and one set of employees are not directly connected to others. Positives: looks authentic; multiple conversations gives consumer choice. Negatives: inconsistent, one side of organisation doing opposite to other side; multiple different tools; lack of security.” Holistic: “Notice how each individual in the organization is socially enabled, yet in a consistent, organized pattern. Positives: taps entire workforce, authentic, consistent Negatives: requires executives that are ready to let go to gain more, a mature cultural ethos, and executives that walk the talk.” Centralised: “Notice that a central group initiates and represents business units, funneling up the social strategy to one group. Positives: Consistency, brand control Negatives: Very inauthentic” Dandelion: “Notice how each business unit may have semi-autonomy with an over arching tie back to a central group. Positives: Individual business units have some freedom along a common central approach. Negatives: requires constant internal coordination and maybe excessive noise.” 24
  25. 25. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mA holistic model in social media will change the way the department approaches campaigns. Insteadof event-related branded accounts, we would seek deliberate shifts in the focus of staff, who wouldpersonally publish about their work in these areas, and we would shift the focus of the corporateaccounts to signposting to and highlighting the work of staff in these areas. We would not create moreFacebook pages.Further, UN staff would become the first port of call for questions from the digital community. Wewill come to expect staff across the UN to proactively engage in global debates. The best content ormost interesting or heated discussions will bubble up through the digital networks of UN staff, andwill be translated into different languages and presented to wider audiences based on the demandjudged by the local and HQ corporate ‘brand’ accounts.This vision would require extensive and intensive education and training across the UN for all staffand, which may be more difficult, a shift in cultural attitudes and behaviour. The role for a centraldepartmental team in this model is to become champions and experts, providing support for the rest ofthe people in the wider UN system. 5.2. Suggested vision, mission and objectives for UN DPI social media teamVision statementOur people are our voice: UN staff will engage a global public through social media in a coherent wayMission statementThe UN social media team’s long term mission is to train, prepare and support UN staff to lead digitalconversations on their own specialist subjects. Corporate accounts - the UN ‘brand’ accounts at HQand in the field offices - will showcase the best of our staff’s work and act as a signpost to ensure thepublic can engage with the relevant staff.ObjectivesWe do this to create a United Nations that is: - human; - more open and transparent; - better internally connected, across departments and the UN system, improving internal productivity, o which reduces email, and o improves knowledge management; - better externally connected to professionals in civil society, member states and the private sector; and 25
  26. 26. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m - better connected to the world’s public, to generate greater support for, and understanding of the work, achievements and limits of, the UN. 5.3. Turning objectives into SMART goalsThe list of objectives above needs to be transformed into SMART goals to ensure clarity androbustness.This is in table form on the next page. These are suggestions; there must be debate over thespecificity, relevance, achievability, measurability and timing of any such goals. 26
  27. 27. Output of social media team by 2014 Intermediate outcome by 2015 Overall outcome by 2016 Objective (and measure) (and measure) (and measure) Identify and train early adopters, encourage them to ‘pass it forward’ (0.5% of UN staff trained 0.01% More staff in digital space (% of UN trained in training; ensure all depts. and system staff with a digital account on an covered, maintain list of x-UN champions) open platform, used 5 times / week) All-staff training, lectures/team explanations (x Better known UN individuals (>100 Culture change – staff empowerment number of sessions etc) UN staff with personal follower (e.g. 10% in positive response to ‘do Mentoring programme set up (uptake by x% of all counts of > 5,000) you feel engaged or empowered’ by staff) staff in response to HR staff survey) Greater public awareness of individual roles at UN and structureStaff as voice of of UN etc (e.g. 10% increase in organisation Better corporate accounts (number of global opinion poll ‘I understand the Mergers or reduced corporate accounts (numbers of languages or nations covered by UN’) accounts) UNIC-led corporate accounts; internal coherence of DPI accounts Transparency: a higher score in Branding advice (how to use the logo, what to write in (% of accounts branded and labelled independent accountability measures a bio) (docs, ready-made kit of backgrounds, correctly etc) (e.g. One World Trust’s global ‘twibbons’ etc produced) accountability framework) Corporate accounts taking their Training, guidance and branding for UNIC run pages content from individuals (% of (number of sessions, documents) content shared by corporate accounts that is new (i.e. the content is now mainly repostings from individual staff)) 27
  28. 28. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m Increased use of social media for Better informed staff (survey on Better internal Training for senior leadership – advocating why social internal communication (number of awareness of work of other system,communications media works for internal productivity (x training internal interactions) instances of co-working, ‘how wellacross depts. and sessions, x managers using open platform to engage Reduced email burden (number of do you feel you know what’s going system internally) emails) on outside your department?’) Increased use of social media for external communication (number of Training for staff (x training sessions, x staff using) external interactions) Greater knowledge sharing Better external throughout UN network, missionscommunications to Renew, reshape, refocus all corporate accounts Reduced email burden (number of and CSOs (survey of awareness? traditional (number of accounts, fewer, better accounts) emails) Tricky one to measure) stakeholders (missions, NGOs) More coherent brand presence (% of corporate accounts using branding correctly, etc)Better engagement More public interaction with staff Training for all staff (x% of staff using open platforms Greater public knowledge of UN with the global (number of followers, number of to engage) goals; better understanding of UN public to increase reposts etc) Increased training / advice to UNICs (number of structure (opinion polling, publicunderstanding and More language use stuff (number of training sessions, survey data) research) support followers of other language accounts) 28
  29. 29. 6. EvaluationThe tables above include a measure for each of the goals listed. This section describes the methods ofcollecting these measures. All activity is online, so ideally all the digital statistics would be easilycollected, recorded and monitored. With the limited resources of DPI, however, there are otherapproaches, such as sampling, that may be able to give a picture.It will be important to gather benchmark data before the strategy is enacted.For staff training: - measure the number of staff on digital media (this should not be too vast a number), add up follower count or try to measure ‘influence’ with one of the many commercial tools available, - measure a sample of the total staff’s engagement internally, externally and with general public (take a sample of a few particular depts. offices etc),For the platforms owned by DPI: - measure the quantity of engagement - number of followers, average no of RTs replies etc - independent evaluation – socialbakers / Klout score etc.For long term outcome measurement, related to both ‘staff as voice’ and improving the corporatechannels, there needs to be better polling of the global public, which will be expensive but vital tounderstanding success.Again, as this document is a draft, this evaluation plan is not developed precisely. A strongerevaluation plan should be attempted when fleshing out the price goals and targets for the UN socialmedia team over the next few years.Shared metrics across the UN systemThis is mentioned in section ten, but evaluation metrics should be the same across the UN system.Any evaluation plan for this social media strategy must use such metrics. 29
  30. 30. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m7. Realising our vision – part one: staff trainingFrom the general vision and objectives laid out above comes the need to design a plan or tactics formeeting the strategic goals. This section provides one example of such a plan – starting with analysisof those whose behaviour we are trying to change, then a recap of our goals for these people, then themethods we will use to try to reach those targets. 7.1. Baseline research on staff and social mediaAn informal survey was produced using Google Forms and Spreadsheets and sent to all DPI staff overthe summer of 2012.The results of this survey are obviously helpful for DPI, but it really needs to be extended to all UNsecretariat staff, and then agencies (in a more robust, expertly-designed fashion). As at August 2012,UNDP had borrowed the survey to use for all UNDP staff. These are extremely easy to prepare andtake a few minutes per staff member to fill in. Analysis can be performed immediately. This is auseful tool that should be used regularly.The data we have on DPI staff is analysed below. It can hopefully be assumed that DPI staff are morelikely to use social media than an average member of secretariat staff, so this should be taken in toaccount in reading the following notes:Responses received numbered 137. The breakdown of age and job level of those who took the surveyis as follows: 30
  31. 31. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mThat those aged between 20 and 29 are the smallest block (especially when interns are taken intoaccount) might present cause for concern when thinking about the use of new technologies.  The vast majority of DPI respondents use at least one social media platformOf the 12 (8%) who don’t use them, only six (4%) had never used them – half because they were notinterested and half because they had privacy concerns. Of those same 12, three said they were notinterested in social media training, four said they did not have time, three said they would maybeundertake training and three said they would be interested in receiving training as part of a group.  DPI respondents check their profiles regularly, particularly Facebook and TwitterOf those who answered, precisely half of the responders checked a social media channel within thelast two hours. Another 26% had checked one within the last day. Facebook (86%), Twitter (56%),YouTube (29%) and LinkedIn (28%) were the most popular channels, with smaller audiences forGoogle+ (16%) and Flickr (12%).  DPI staff also use a variety of other platformsThe number responding that they ‘checked their YouTube account’ seems high, but may reflect alarge number of accounts owned by UN Information Centres. There is also a surprisingly high numberof Tumblr users, given the platforms reputation as having a very youthful (i.e. 15-20 yrs) user base. 31
  32. 32. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m  They follow the UN accounts – sometimes militantly Yes, all that I can find Yes, but only those relevant to my workHappily, a high number of staff follow UN accounts – the vast majority follow at least one or two –with many following them all, and almost equal number following all those relevant to their work.31  English is far and away their most popular language for using on social media platformsThis is one of the most interesting findings – English is the most popular language for use on socialmedia platforms. There are no respondents who claim to use Arabic or Chinese as their primary socialmedia language. This might reflect flaws with the survey design (it was perhaps easier to read /complete if you were a confident English user?) or reflects the dominance of the language in thedigital space.Other languages used included Portuguese, Dutch, Japanese and Turkish.31 The ‘other’ refers (I think) to those who didn’t answer the question (because they don’t use social media). 32
  33. 33. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m  Most staff are using their second language for social mediaWhen asked if the language above was their native tongue, however, only 40% answered in theaffirmative, showing that people are choosing to engage in English in spite of it not being their mothertongue.  Staff disconnect their work and personal lives onlineOnly a minority of staff use their social media profiles for professional activities ‘often’ or‘sometimes’.Of those who answered ‘no’ or ‘other’, the vast majority (75%) said they ‘prefer to keep work andsocial life separate’, and 20% said it was ‘not appropriate’. These are the views that must bechallenged if the UN is to use social media to its advantage. Only small percentages thought it was notallowed or not interesting for their social media network – both positive signs. 33
  34. 34. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m  DPI staff are well aware of the social media team and guidelinesAwareness of the team (red) scores better than awareness of the guidelines (green/yellow).  There is a very strong demand for training in this areaOnly a tiny proportion of staff said they would not be interested in, or didn’t have time for, socialmedia training. In contrast to the author’s practice of trying to do one-to-one sessions, DPI staff saidthey would prefer group training sessions (‘yes, as part of a group’ as opposed to ‘yes, with a mentordedicated to me’). In the free-form comments section of the survey, many people wrote of their needfor more training across the board on digital communication.  Staff are well-equipped with latest tools, making social media use even easierNearly 90% have a smartphone and nearly a half have a tablet computer. For training purposestherefore, it can almost be assumed that staff could all bring one device with them to a session. 34
  35. 35. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mThe full results of the survey are available from the author. 7.2. Our people objectivesAny plan would then suggest SMART goals – these might be borrowed directly from section fiveabove (vision, mission, objectives) or these could be more precisely aligned to the issue of staffcapacity / achievements. For example, goals could look like this: - 5% of field staff will have a personal-professional digital profile by Jan 2015 - 10% of HQ staff will have a person-professional digital profile by Jan 2015 - At least 10 accounts from staff in each official language by Jan 2015 - At least 6 of the most popular platforms covered by Jan 2015 - At least 100 UN staff with personal follower counts of >5,000 by Jan 2015. 7.3. How to go about realising the objectivesIn meeting these goals, planning must account for the choices of an individual staff member - whataffects their use of social media for professional purposes? The work of the department should helpencourage staff digital engagement by shifting the individual, societal and structural elements thataffect behaviour so that they align more favourably with social media use. For example:Individual incentives / disincentives o Increase perceptions of benefits of social media at work  Show success stories of individuals and depts., and external reports from other bureaucracies (such as US State Dept, UK FCO, etc.)  Incentivise for individuals (make social media an element of HR appraisal processes)  Help people recognise that in the way everything digitised (information, communication, banking) – so will staff and their work o Reduce perceptions / fear of social media in the UN context  Remind people why the UN must be public in its work 35
  36. 36. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m  Remove the fear: provide safety nets, safe practice spaces and lead by example; or ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ – again, lead by senior management example  What’s the worst that could happen? Set clear guidelines, show how senior leaders will be prepared to defend staff use of social media as long as guidelines were followed (prepare ready-made responses and plans if things go wrong, etc)Individual capacity and knowledge o Establish how-to knowledge with all staff  Extensive training programme, which should be an essential part of staff development; use the ‘early-adopters’, train them as peer-trainers, set up network of x-UN champions.  Show a clear vision of what we want to be achieved by a certain time – make sure all staff understand their collective responsibility, at whatever level; share this strategy widely.  Establish the ability to ask anonymous questions / make suggestions (or again, use a safe practice area – maybe Unite Connect?) o Empower staff – demonstrate trust in individual staff  Show them that there is individual support from senior leaders  Again, provide the safe practice spaces and internal Q&A space  Give every member of staff a copy of guidelines (must be carefully written to enthuse and encourage – create the assumption that this is something they should be doing – and at the same time reminding not to share damaging stuff)Social norms o Create the idea that social media for work is the norm  Staff training should include case studies of success (US State Dept, UK FCO, UNICEF etc)  Create informal competitions across DPI for most followers gained, best tweets, best picture shared online, etc.  Publicise how many UN staff are on twitter, and get these people to champion it in meetings etc.  The USG for DPI, and eventually all senior leaders of the UN should join social media platforms and use these to engage with staff – highlighting the best staff content and work, sharing information, etc.Structural factors 36
  37. 37. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m o Make sure there are no physical barriers to accessing social media platforms  Ensure staff have access at work (this generally seemed good – but work with OICT) and in the field (more difficult, but use SMS services provided by various platforms)  Encourage people to use their smartphones and tablets for work (check with IT security)  Start checking social media profiles of people who apply for jobs at the UN – if people are applying for communication jobs without knowledge of social media, they should be turned down. Eventually, we should expect everybody who applies to the UN to have strong knowledge of social media. 37
  38. 38. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m8. Realising our vision – part two: UN branded accounts 8.1. GeneralThe overall vision is to encourage our people to engage in the social media space. Currently there is arange of brand accounts, many of which should be merged into a small group that makes a clear offerto the general audience. Then individual staff should have their own accounts where they interact withpeople on more detailed material.As a first step, an audit needs to be carried out to map all the accounts run by the department, whichshould then be reviewed according to how they meet the overall strategy. An audit like this could becrowdsourced by staff. Those platforms that do not meet a clear and specific goal, or work towardsone that is met somewhere else, should be merged with other accounts or dissolved to ensure thatdepartmental resources are spent most effectively.The second step, assuming that the USG for the department has the right to direct other departments’communication efforts, will be to map and reorganise accounts anywhere across UN HQ. This willobviously cause concern as people may regard accounts as ‘their turf’, but the benefit to the publicshould over-ride this. In order to strengthen the brand of the UN in digital media, more consistencyand clarity around corporate accounts, wherever they lie in the UN system (or particularly at UN HQ)is required, and logically this responsibility lies with the USG for information and communication.This can be done sensibly, sensitively and with the consultation of all departments, based on a sharedvision of where we need to be as a collective UN.The mini-vision for the corporate accounts is to run smarter digital communications where ouraudience are. So we go to them on the platforms where they are. We offer a really easy-to-understandsimple range of social media platforms to engage with. We recognise that we’re competing forattention with our audience’s actual friends, and a thousand other brands. We reach them on theirterms. 8.2. Which platforms should DPI use?The choice of platforms used by DPI (and the other UN departments) to manage accounts must flowfrom a clear understanding of what we are trying to achieve and what audience we’re trying to reach.For example, while new social networking platforms are invented regularly, we should not feel theneed to create a presence on that platform without considering which overall strategic goal it wouldhelp meet. While it may be appropriate to register the profile names of UN, United Nations and so onin the different languages, it is possible just to leave a ‘holding notice’ while the department evaluateswhether the platform suits its overall strategy.It is not essential to have a presence on every platform. It is more important to have high-qualityengagement on a set group of platforms.Each platform should have one go-to person who has total responsibility, even if the content isprovided by a wide number of staff members. 38
  39. 39. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m 8.3. Languages and local focusA comprehensive brand plan needs to be worked out re worldwide account management, making surethe UN is reaching large non-English-speaking audiences and audiences not using typically US-basedchannels for digital engagement.The obvious partners with expertise in how to reach local audiences are the UN Information Centres,who have the local knowledge and experience to maximise local reach in the appropriate language(s).There will need to be a comprehensive UNIC account audit and an understanding of the audience (seesection 2) to lead a restructuring in order to use resources most effectively.32The end product would be a range of ‘UNin[Country]’ digital accounts, using the appropriateplatforms and language as dictated by their local audience.There should also be an effort to ensure that a native speaker of the language used for the account hasfinal sign off on posting messages, to ensure correctness. 8.4. Platform useThe next page demonstrates the sort of matrix of the channels used that could be established to outlinethe corporate accounts. A detailed breakdown for each platform should be developed (as in Annex L),which would explain the user base of that platform, how the UN currently uses it, the strategic goalthat use of the platform meets; the long-term vision for that platform; smart goal(s) for that platform;risks with the platform (and mitigation); and possibly some examples of successful platform use bysimilar organisations. The simplest ‘microgoal’ would be something such as ‘to improve ourreadership by 20% in 6 months’ or ‘to answer 10% more of the queries we receive’, etc. Examples areprovided in the table below.32 This UNIC audit may already exist with the Information Management Unit in DPI. 39
  40. 40. Twitter Facebook (UNIC) Tumblr blogs.un.org Pinterest StorifyWho uses this 955bn people. Very young, Unknown Women, older Journalists, newshoundsplatform? American, UK, BrazilWhat is its Microblogging, Connecting with Artsy cool stuff Behind the scenes? Image-sharing platform To provide one page round uppurpose? sharing news ‘friends’ sharing of x-platform social media photos storiesWhy should we useit? (Link to overallobjective)What contentshould be shared?Who provides thatcontent?Comments /engagement?What is our To increase our Reach 1m users bySMART goal for number of replies Dec 2013.this platform? by 10%Ultimateresponsibility /signoff 40
  41. 41. 8.5. Content plan and workflow for accounts managed by DPI 8.5.1. Content planOnce an overall strategic goal is established, content could be planned for each account, includingguidelines as to the sort of content that the corporate accounts will share, thus helping staff to getreposted - helping staff to help the social media team (see below).Currently, the DPI social media channels publish campaign messages, major news, Secretary-Generalrelated, events, the best of the rest of the UN, behind the scenes, and general education about the UNsystem. In terms of engagement, we answer questions where possible, but lack resources toproactively do this.A content plan might look like a days of the week calendar, or a large overall calendar of events andupcoming themes, with links to copy, film, audio and photography content. 8.5.2. Workflow and work toolsCurrently social media copy for the English language accounts is mostly written by one staff memberwith input from interns. Relevant content is prepared for updates every few hours (twitter), every day(Facebook, Pinterest, Google Plus) and less often for other accounts (blogs, Tumblr). This is based onwhat material the team thinks is relevant and new, and suggestions are taken from other DPI staffworking on particular campaigns. A shared Google Spreadsheet is used to map out the immediateweek ahead and longer term events, then a free single-user copy of Hootsuite is used to input thematerial and publish on a time-scheduled basis.In the other languages, a member of the web services section is responsible for each of the Facebookpages in the 5 other languages, and two members of the Chinese web services manage the popularWeibo account.In the short term, Google Doc access should be widened to all UN staff (perhaps DPI only, then allstaff post-training), and restructured to make it user friendly and easy etc. Hootsuite Enterprise editionshould be purchased (see Annex L on reviewing the various social media management tools), whichwould come with a set number of administrative seats for writing and editing the actual platformcontent. These administrators (interns, DPI staff, and selected UNIC staff in other time zones) cantake content from the shared Google Doc, re-write if necessary, and schedule it in Hootsuite. The DPIsocial media focal point can remain as a ‘superadmin’ with ultimate approval signoff.For the channels that cannot be managed using Hootsuite (tumblr, pinterest etc), as well as local brandchannels, an overall account manager should be appointed and should be widely known to DPI andwider UN staff. It should be their responsibility to meet the micro-goals set for that account (such asincreasing the audience), keep it on message (as appropriate to the channel) and promote the use of itas befits the channel (e.g. explaining to other staff, working across the UN to get the content relevantfor that platform).In the long term, staff will be managing their own social media profiles, and can proactively reach outto the corporate channels for republishing. Corporate account owners will also actively seek out thebest of staff content. 41
  42. 42. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m 8.5.3. Workflow diagram:Platform (and responsibility) Google Hootsuite Public platforms Spreadsheet (Small admin (One person to (All UN staff, team) sign off) with training) 42
  43. 43. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m9. DPI’s coordination role across UN system 9.1. GeneralIf DPI is the central communications body for the UN system, then it would make sense for DPI to bedoing much of the coordination and knowledge sharing in social media. The aim would be for DPI tobecome the hub to the spokes of the different agencies. Currently, however, this may be beyond thedepartment’s limited resources. At the moment the system is working with various agencies taking alead.However, the current practice presents several risks: - smaller agencies will get left behind - lost opportunities for collaboration - increasingly difficult challenges as social media evolves - land-grabbing (fighting over the same audience with different campaigns) among the top agencies – a poor use of resources and a disasterThis risks should be monitored over time and senior leaders should be prepared to act in the event thatthey are realised. The department monitors the cross-UN system to some extent through the UNCommunications Group (a meeting of directors of communication from across the UN system) andthrough the department’s close links with the Office of the Secretary-General. 9.2. ProcurementIt would be helpful if there was one central body with the responsibility to bring the system togetherto save money on social media tools like Hootsuite. In 2011, some of the UN system grouped togetherto receive a substantial discount on Hootsuite Enterprise. That offer will not be repeated because notenough UN members joined the group. More central professional procurement support might have gotthis done better. DPI should work with legal and procurement to come up with other cross-UN offers. 9.3. Liaison with owners of platformsAnother useful role for a central body would be to coordinate the relationships between the UNsystem as a whole and the major social platforms. This would be in order to inform the rest of thesystem about upcoming platform changes, and to collate requests or questions to the platform in ordernot to overwhelm them with requests for help from every part of the UN system. It makes sense forDPI to do this as the most centrally positioned department. The department could also work toleverage senior UN officials in the event that requests need to be made to specific platforms on theUN’s behalf, such as renaming Facebook pages. 9.4. Knowledge sharingCurrently this is working relatively well in a decentralised way: there is a shared email list, an onlineplatform and monthly meetings. The UN social media emailing list goes to the social mediaprofessionals in the system and is almost entirely used to promote campaigns. Monthly cross-UNmeetings, which include permanent missions are well-attended by New York –based agencies, but notby non-New York agencies. There may be a separate Geneva based social media meeting, but if not, 43
  44. 44. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mefforts should be made to videoconference or record these meetings to ensure better cross-UNworking.UNDP provides access to its TeamWorks platform which works relatively well – it has 35,000members in total, the social media group has 262 members and is largely made up of UNDP staff inthe field, but the information shared is relevant to all. With a more concerted campaign to encouragestaff across the UN to engage on this platform and to update their profiles with photos and moreinformation about what they do, TeamWorks would grow in value. Unfortunately, tools that could beespecially useful, such as the Wiki (the most popular page on the site) can only be edited by UNDPstaff – somewhat undermining the point of a wiki platform. This perhaps can be changed at the UNDPend. 9.5. Shared evaluation metricsThere needs to be some effort to agree upon shared evaluation practices and metrics across the UNsystem, in order to compare like with like. This should not be too difficult given the digital statisticswe use – but depending on the use of different tools, ‘impressions’ etc may be counted differently. Inorder to share what works, it would be helpful to agree on standards early on. There may already besome informal agreement on this – but the department could take this and formalise it as UN socialmedia evaluation standards. 44

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