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Towards a UN social media strategy (for screen reading)



A document suggesting how the UN could move towards a more strategic use of social media. Verdana version for reading on a screen.

A document suggesting how the UN could move towards a more strategic use of social media. Verdana version for reading on a screen.



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Towards a UN social media strategy (for screen reading) Towards a UN social media strategy (for screen reading) Document Transcript

  • Joe MitchellOur people are our voiceTowards a social media strategyfor 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
  • 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? ........................................................ 13 3.6. What is social media’s mother tongue? ................................................... 14 3.7. What is social media use like across the time zones? ................................ 16 3.8. What about those who don’t have internet access?................................... 16 3.9. What does this all mean? How should this data inform our strategy? .......... 184. Existing UN communication objectives ............................................................. 19 4.1. UN system-wide communication objectives ............................................. 19 4.2. Secretary-General’s Five-Year Action Agenda .......................................... 20 4.3. UN Competencies for the Future ............................................................ 21 4.4. Committee on Information .................................................................... 22 4.5. Department of Public Information objectives ........................................... 24 4.6. DPI Strategic Communications Division (SCD) priorities ............................ 255. Suggested vision, mission and objectives ......................................................... 26 5.1. Comparing models of corporate social media ........................................... 26 5.2. Suggested vision, mission and objectives for UN DPI social media team ...... 28 5.3. Turning objectives into SMART goals ...................................................... 296. Evaluation .................................................................................................... 327. Realising our vision – part one: staff training .................................................... 33 7.1. Baseline research on staff and social media ............................................. 33 7.2. Our people objectives ........................................................................... 39 7.3. How to go about realising the objectives ................................................. 398. Realising our vision – part two: UN branded accounts ........................................ 42 2
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m 8.1. General .............................................................................................. 42 8.2. Which platforms should DPI use? ........................................................... 42 8.3. Languages and local focus..................................................................... 43 8.4. Platform use ........................................................................................ 43 8.5. Content plan and workflow for accounts managed by DPI ......................... 46 8.5.1. Content plan ....................................................................................... 46 8.5.2. Workflow and work tools ....................................................................... 46 8.5.3. Workflow diagram: ............................................................................... 489. DPI’s coordination role across UN system ......................................................... 49 9.1. General .............................................................................................. 49 9.2. Procurement ....................................................................................... 49 9.3. Liaison with owners of platforms ............................................................ 49 9.4. Knowledge sharing ............................................................................... 50 9.5. Shared evaluation metrics ..................................................................... 5010. Next steps .................................................................................................... 51 3
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mAppendices/Annexes ............................................................................................ 53A. DPI Structure ............................................................................................... 53B. Information on UNICs .................................................................................... 54C. Notes from UN Communications Group ............................................................ 56D. Objectives from the Committee on Information’s draft resolution to 67 th GA ......... 58E. Status, basic rights and duties of United Nations staff members (ST/SGB/2002/13) 59F. World Summit 2005 ...................................................................................... 60G. Interviews with social media practitioners in UN system ..................................... 62H. Data on literacy, first and second languages, social media platform use ............... 67I. The US State Dept model (staff numbers in brackets) ........................................ 68J. Giant spreadsheet of everything ..................................................................... 71K. Micro goals for each platform .......................................................................... 73 a) Twitter ...................................................................................................... 73 b) Facebook .................................................................................................. 74 c) Weibo ....................................................................................................... 75 d) UN blogs platform ( ................................................................. 76 e) Pinterest ................................................................................................... 77L. Tools for brand accounts workflow................................................................... 78M. How to deal with multilingual and multinational brands on Facebook ................... 80 4
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m1. Executive summaryThere is currently no social media strategy for the United Nations. Thisdocument attempts to provide a platform upon which to build one. It was writtenby Joe Mitchell, a social media intern, based on evidence from existing UNdocumentation, interviews with UN system-wide social media specialists, anddesk-based internet research on the best practice in the public and privatesectors.This document in 30 secondsIn sum, the UN should aim for a model of corporate social media use in which itsstaff freely form a coherent group who discuss the UN’s work and engage withthe public in the digital space. Staff should be empowered with support andtraining from the Department of Public Information (DPI). Corporate or brandaccounts should remain only where they contribute to a specific strategic goal,such as being used to highlight the best of staff-produced content andperforming a sign-posting role, helping users find and engage with the UN staffin 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. Weaim to create a UN that is: more human, open and transparent. It will be betterconnected internally to staff, externally to stakeholders, and globally to theworld’s public.These aims must be made real through specific, measurable, attainable, relevantand timely (SMART) goals, such as: we will train 0.5% of UN staff in good socialmedia practice by 2014. We expect the outcome to be an a 1000% increase inUN staff using digital media at least 5 times per week by 2014.A full matrix of objectives, outputs (what we do), intermediate and overalloutcomes (the expected result), along with ways to measure each of these, isprovided 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 communicatewith all of them at once. We must segment the audience to make it easier to getour messages across. This segmentation is partly designed into the world’spopulation through language use and platform use, but we should also think 5
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mabout other ways we can segment the audience to improve efficiencies. Sectionthree also shows that there is a lack of information on what the audience wantsfrom the UN, and that we do not know enough about global perceptions andknowledge of the UN. As social media use grows over the next decades to coverthe 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 theyspeak.Existing objectivesA review of a range of documentation relating to mandates and suggested rolesfor communication at the UN shows a lack of coherent, prioritised and ultimately,strategic, objectives, targets and measures. The single strategic document foundthat provides clear goals and an accountability framework is the SeniorManager’s Compact, which will presumably need to be reviewed for the newUSG. This represents an excellent opportunity for grasping a more strategicapproach for the entire department.Suggested Vision, Mission and ObjectivesA final set of objectives will be developed with extensive DPI/wider secretariatconsultation and buy-in – a process that should be led by senior management.However, it is helpful to present examples of what these should look like. Thisfollows the principles laid out in the box above.EvaluationNew and improved evaluation techniques will be required to monitor the successof our work and to guide refinements as necessary. This will include simple datagathering, greater use of staff surveys (or pulling more data from those thatalready exist) and, more expensively, but essentially for long term evaluation,comprehensive audience research performed by independent bodies.Plan for staff social media trainingDPI should develop ‘train the trainer’ programmes, a network of UN-systemchampions, and constantly make the case for best practice in social media. Wemust reach out to other departments to ensure a coherent approach across UNstaff wherever they are. Training programmes should begin with senior staff toseek the right buy-in, providing safe practice spaces where required. Essentiallythe DPI should manage a behaviour change campaign, providing advocacy,inspiration, seizing early adopters and using them to pass on the training tocolleagues. DPI could develop a ‘training’ kit for these champions, such as thosewho already sit on the DPI social media team. The broad idea is that the goal tobecome a social / networked organisation through social and networkedmethods. 6
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mPlan for UN corporate accountsWhile we aim to encourage staff to lead digital discussions, ‘corporate’ or ‘brand’accounts will still be required during the transition, and in the long term asstarting points for the audience and as amplifiers or highlighters of UN staffcommunication. Realising this goal will require a comprehensive audit of socialmedia accounts owned by the UN (not just DPI) and a consolidation according tothe overall strategic goals. Accounts that remain after consolidation must bemore targeted to engage people at the closest possible level, which will requiregreater use of, and greater responsibility being devolved to, UNICs and countryoffices. Each brand account should have a micro-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, itcurrently lacks the resources to do this, and the current decentralised system ofinformal networking is working relatively well for now. The absence of anauthoritative centre may present problems in the long term, especially as socialmedia use expands. In the short term, DPI could improve efficiencies throughmanaging system-wide procurement and providing a single-point-of-contact forplatform owners (i.e. Facebook and Google public policy officers).Next stepsImmediately, DPI should: survey all UN staff, audit all UN social media accountsand start seeking cross-UN feedback on this strategy.Within the next three months, DPI should develop a staff training programme,liaise with HR, legal and senior management to build robust support for strategy.Within the next six months, objectives and SMART goals for the next four yearsshould be decided by USG with consultation with members of the Committee onInformation.Appendices and AnnexesThe document provides a range of annexes and appendices that represent thebackground data that the document was built upon. These will be useful increating a more formal strategy. 7
  • 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’sFacebook presence, including producing an appropriate platform strategy. But astrategy for any individual platform cannot exist without referring to largeroverall goals of the UN in social media. These do not exist, so this document isdesigned to generate discussion and encourage a move towards more strategicuse of social media, and better strategic communication by the UN overall.Research was carried out in the forms of desk-based internet research,interviews with social media practitioners across the UN system, and anexamination of particularly successful examples of social media use from acrossthe private sector (particularly in consumer goods companies) as well as notableUN agencies and national governments.About the authorJoe Mitchell was an intern with the social media team in the Department forPublic Information’s Strategic Communications Division from May 2012 toSeptember 2012. His academic background is in law and governance (BAOxford, LLM London) and he has worked in the communication and researchfields for range of charities, politicians, media. His most recent job was in UKgovernment communication strategy in which he worked on a range of digitalcampaigns and strategic planning.He joined the UN while undertaking an MA Global Governance at the Universityof Waterloo (Ontario, Canada) and is passionate about democratising globalgovernance institutions. He benefits from both a lack of experience andknowledge of the internal workings of the UN and a clear idea of what a highquality communications strategy looks like.He just about scrapes into the sociological/marketing category of ‘digital native’,‘millennial worker’ and ‘generation Y’. 8
  • 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 ofPublic Information forms the centre of UN-wide communications, it is assumedthat we aspire to communicate with all seven billion people.For the DPI social media team specifically, this means everyone with a socialmedia profile. These are called ‘the audience’ throughout the document; thoughnote that this is shorthand for ‘group we want to engage with’, rather than‘group we want to receive information’.There are 2.3bn users of the internet.1 According to comScore, 82% of internetusers use social networking sites2 (this rises to 98% in certain countries3) – seethe image below. However, the comScore data is only based on 43 countries, atypical problem with commercial data.Whatever the precise number, there are at least 1bn people on earth who theUN can hope to reach through social media – and this is growing all the time indeveloping 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 no one. Language, cultural and contextual difference mean that1 Note that they claim thatthis means 1.2bn use social networking sites – clearly estimating a vastly smallerinternet user population than ITU.3 9
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_many communications strategy must be driven by efforts to speak to people asclose to their level (of education, of language, of cultural references) as possible.Thus efforts should be made to segment the audience.Some segmentation is forced upon us, such as through language groups, timezones, user platform choices, and so on. We also apply segmentation in ad-hocfashion. For example, we use our celebrity ambassadors to highlight particularissues (e.g. ‘youth’).The local UN Information Centres, of which there are 62 around the world, alsoindirectly segment our audience into country or region groups, thoughmembership of these groups is not limited, meaning that our audience may alsoengage at the worldwide (or headquarter) level.In order to segment our audience more usefully in order to more appropriatelyapply limited UN resources, 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 annexedwhere appropriate).However, a more thorough approach is required. Many large scale private sectororganisations operating globally would commission extensive research – or havean in-house communications research team – to build the evidence base for thecommunications strategy. This is a vital step in an engagement strategy, but theUN does not have any central research commissioning ability – or even aresearch team who have the expertise to gather and review publicly availableinformation. UN agencies 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 thewishes of your audience. As a result, we cannot only be led by what we thinkshould be shared with the online public. We need to be aware of what peoplewant from our social media presences, and what they want from UNcommunications in general.4 Unfortunately, this question was not asked in the interviews. It could be included inany future round. 10
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mAgain, we lack the robust data or measurement to properly judge this. A fullsocial media audit, in which online discussion of the UN, wherever that takesplace, is monitored for a few days to build a robust sample, is recommended.Anecdotal evidence from the public responses on Twitter and Facebook (English)suggest that users are often ignorant of how the UN works and what it canachieve. This could be one area that becomes an objective for social media. Forexample, one goal could be to ‘improve average knowledge of the UN’ with thecorresponding 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, inanswer to the question ‘Please tell me if you have a very favorable, somewhat favorable,somewhat unfavorable, or very unfavorable opinion of...the United Nations’, people answeredas follows: o Very favourable: 14% o Somewhat favourable: 40% o Somewhat unfavourable: 19% 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 somewhat unfavourable (China – worsened quickly, recently).In terms of social media followers, the DPI social focal point who runs the @UNtwitter account reports that a brief survey of followers of the account suggeststhat in order of size, the audience can be broken down into: unknown orunaffiliated individuals, business accounts (inc spam), NGO staff, other UN staff,media, students, national governments/diplomats. It includes both supportersand detractors 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 thedigital space, however, aside from our social media presences, the following aretwo important sources:UN WebsiteAccording to Alexa data, the website ranks 3,669 in the world, 4,740 inthe US, but it is very popular in Africa (49th in Benin, 122nd in DRC etc). Fourteenper cent of visitors to go on to or Six percent of visitors go on to Two-thirds go on to other sub-domains.Visitors to the website represent 0.04% of internet users (with spikes as high as0.08%)., for comparison, is around 1%. 11
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mThe average user of views 3.5 pages (for comparison, this is slightlyhigher than and spends an average of 3.5 minutes on the site.Relative to the general population, visitors to are more likely to begraduates and to be 65+. 15.3% of the audience comes from the US, 5.9% fromIndia, 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 unofficialdata, we were the 683rd most popular page on Wikipedia. That meant about280,000 hits for the month.6 There might be an easy way for the web team toget us more recent data.5 12
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m 3.5. What social platforms do they use?Facebook is the most popular social networking site in the world, but there areseveral nations in which competitors have greater numbers of users. ComScore’s2011 Global Social Media Report provides useful information on their top 43markets, including the table overleaf on markets in which Facebook is not themost popular social network (at 2011).7Assuming that we want to reach all people, everywhere, this shows that thereare certain nations and platforms that we seem to be missing.A more detailed appraisal of languages, social media platforms, audiences etc ina one-stop spreadsheet/database of country data would be super useful. As partof the research for this document, a start was made on building this data (followthis link to the spreadsheet), but data collection on this scale needs significantresource from an individual or perhaps an impressive crowd-sourcing effort fromacross the UN.7 On file with the author, or download via registration at 13
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m 3.6. What is social media’s mother tongue?The digital public space theoretically makes country borders irrelevant in termsof communication and information. Language, however, still divides the world’speoples. It is important to know what language people are engaging in socialmedia so that we can join them. Unfortunately, data on languages tends only tobe provided in terms of nations – there are very few ‘global’ language measures.Another problem is that literacy, rather than spoken language, is what we needto measure.8Most widely used languages:The table below contains a list of the world’s languages sorted by most populousliterate populations: 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 themost popular publishing 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 themother tongue or second language of about half of the worlds population.’11Thus social media in six languages led by the centre misses out more than half8 This will remain true unless sound-based networks take off (e.g. SoundCloud).9 Lobachev (2008) Top languages in global information production, Partnership: theCanadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research, vol. 3, no. 2 (2008): Their ‘official’ nature is not given in the Charter, but in Rule 51 of the Rules ofProcedure for the General Assembly. It is not immediately clear why the Secretariat hasto follow this rule in non-GA related work.11 14
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mthe world’s population – this does not meet with the presumed goal of talking toeveryone.Even within these large language groups, there are significant differences innational spelling, dialects and usage etc. For example, American English is notthe same as British English. The UN twitter account attempts to follow the UNstyle guide, but this could end up satisfying neither reader.Missing languagesThe difficulties of finding robust data on literate populations of languages aredemonstrated below, in a table that presents data different from the tableabove. The table below shows five countries for which none of the UN officiallanguages are a mother tongue or a lingua franca. While these countries mayuse one of the six UN languages as one of their official languages, it may be thatonly the government or a small elite use it, which is not helpful for reachingpeople through social media. The data is taken mainly from Wikipedia andEthnologue, with literacy calculated by the CIA Factbook statistics.12 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 takethe lead in engaging with the digital audience in the right language and on theright platform, after being set clear targets by DPI in New York.1312 Data taken from the working database here, and Wikipedia: For example, UNIC India could be better resourced, or given greater freedom to act insocial media along with targets to hugely increase their 619 Facebook likes and 2,000+followers on Twitter to better reflect India’s 52m Facebook users. Total twitter numbersare not available, but top Indian celebrities on twitter - Amitabh Bachan, PriyankaChopra, Shah Rukh Khan - each have over 2.5m followers. (Aug 2012) 15
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m 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 dominantlanguage groups, this might be an easy way of targeting specific audiences,based on the various studies of the times of day at which people most use socialnetworks. This would help more accurate language targeting and decisions as towho should be running the central accounts. Clearly, time zones are anotherreason to prefer greater action by local UN 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 acrossthe world. According to ITU’s 2011 statistics, only 2.3bn have access to theinternet, leaving 4.7bn without, though access is growing quickly. This dividebetween those with access and those without is known as the digital divide. 14Other findings from ITU 2011There are other divides: by gender (fewer women access the internet thanmen); by education (those with only primary education are less likely to accessthe internet); and by rural/urban habitation in developing countries (ruralconnections are fewer).14 ITU, 2011 16
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mThese divides create a risk that engagement through social media may unfairlybias the connected - through extra opportunities, providing a greater weight totheir voices, etc. Those without access may be left behind – uninformed, notconsulted, unable to seek accountability, etc. This effect can be overstated,given how quickly internet use is growing and the fact that social media is still along way from having significant policy impacts at organisations like the UN. Bythe time it does, hopefully a majority of the world will have access.15For this strategy, it is enough to state that social media at the UN must be readyto include newly online audiences in the developing world, and that resourcesare not focused too highly upon media-saturated markets in North America andEurope. 16It is also important to note the clear trend of rapid growth in mobile broadbandaccess via smartphones – currently +40% per year. By 2013, smartphoneownership will overtake PC ownership,17 and by 2015, 3.2bn mobile broadbandconnections will exist. At that growth rate, a social media strategy shouldprepare for a 90% connected world by 2020.18The United Nations should get ready to engage with a truly global audience andto focus on networks that have successful phone-based applications. Forexample, RenRen and Facebook have specific low-bandwidth phone versions,e.g. Facebook Zero allows users free access to the simple text version of the15 There are a lot of campaigns looking to solve the digital divide. Most famously, OneLaptop Per Child, ( and the more important infrastructure stuff with ITU,Internet Foundation etc.16 ITU, 2011.17 17
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mplatform - Facebook signed deals with operators to ensure this – and users canpay for extra data 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 thingsworth taking into account in any social media strategy. The following sectionswill 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.19 ITU, 2011: 126. 18
  • 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, whichwould normally be provided by management or leaders of the department.Ultimately, these need to come from the Under Secretary General for PublicInformation, and form part of the overall communication objectives of the UnitedNations Secretariat.These must be agreed in order to clarify what we’re doing, put our work on asurer footing, prepare for questions from member states, and work towardsachieving the wider goals of the UN.In the sub-sections below, this document lays out relevant UN documentationthat might guide a vision or mission for social media at the UN and ultimately alist of ‘SMART’ goals or objectives. ‘SMART’ goals are Specific, Measurable,Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound goals. A draft set will be included as anexample in the next section. 4.1. UN system-wide communication objectivesThere is nothing in the Charter of the UN that directly concerns communicationobjectives.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 19
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m 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 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 andopportunities’: ‘sustainable development, prevention [of violent conflict andeconomic shocks], building a safer and more secure world by innovating andbuilding on our core business, supporting nations in transition and working withand for women and young people’. The ‘enablers’ of these elements are:‘harnessing the full power 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 toconnectivity, collaboration and social norm development, all of which areinherent in the nature of social media.20 Specifically, social media can play a rolein ‘mapping, linking, collecting and integrating information from across theinternational system,’21 and is an inexpensive, effective tool which could help‘build a modern workforce supported by a global Secretariat that shares20 Ibid. point 2, page 6. 20
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mfinancial, human and physical resources, knowledge and information technologymore effectively.’22 4.3. UN Competencies for the FutureThe UN has three core staff values: integrity, professionalism and respect fordiversity. These should be observed in social media practice.The ‘core competencies’ include: communication (the first priority); teamwork;planning and organising; accountability; creativity; client orientation;commitment to continuous learning; and technological awareness. The first andlast of these are particularly relevant to any social media strategy and forguidelines 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 office - actively seeks to apply technology to appropriate tasks - shows willingness to learn new technology23Broad staff adoption and effective use of social media tools would demonstrateboth of these competencies. As such, the UN should consider making socialmedia use an official part (perhaps requirement) of the recruitment, training andappraisal of UN staff.There are also several ‘managerial competencies’, of which ‘empowering others’seems the most relevant for this strategy. Social media is an empowering tool,giving staff members a voice to take part in a global conversation, andempowering them at work by demonstrating that management trust staff tospeak on behalf of the organisation.22 Ibid. point 2, page 12.23 Used a hard copy of this Annan-era document, but it may be available online. 21
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m 4.4. Committee on InformationThe Committee on Information is the group of General Assembly members whohelp direct the UN’s communications’ work. The mandate of the GeneralAssembly’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 justworld information order – it gives all people with access to the internet a voice,ends monopolies on information and creates democratic, horizontal space forcommunication. There are many examples of new voices on Africa emergingthrough social media, as well as examples of social media by those not free tobetter disseminate information.25Committee on Information session 23 April 2012, New YorkAt this meeting of the CoI, speakers commended the ‘common strategy’, ‘jointcommunications products’ and ‘coordinating’ role of DPI for the Rio+20conference. 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 of24 [emphasis added]25 E.g. Africaisacountry blog, Calestous Juma, the Ushahidi people, etc., and all theemerging social media leaders in North Africa. 22
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m 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 socialmedia, one speaker advised 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 andtime zones. This could be through Unite Connect, but often it is easier to usepublic platforms for non-confidential material. As many staff will use publicplatforms already, this approach would require fewer new registrations, fewerextra passwords to remember, fewer problems logging in from outsideheadquarters, etc. It is simpler for staff and therefore more likely to be used,and because the platforms are public, they are ultimately more transparent. TheUN Teamworks platform (owned by UNDP) is already a useful semi-public toolwith 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 GAin September 2012. Excerpts from the resolution are copied below as furtherelements that a social media strategy must consider. Fuller excerpts can befound 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 23
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m with the needs of its target audiences, on the basis of improved feedback and evaluation mechanisms… …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 GeneralAssembly resolution 13 (I), to promote global awareness and understanding ofthe work of the United Nations.’26Its mission is to ‘communicate the ideals and work of the United Nations to theworld; to interact and partner with diverse audiences; and to build support forpeace, development and human rights for all.’27The outgoing Under Secretary-General’s personal objectives (in the SeniorManager’s Compact with the UN Secretary-General) are the only goals foundduring research for this document that actually provide measures foraccountability. An example is given below. The incoming USG will have anexcellent opportunity to redraft these objectives and stamp his authority ondepartment.In the free form section, in which senior managers are invited to establish howthey will meet such goals, the outgoing USG writes:26 Modified to become active tense. 24
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m 28The new USG might similarly commit to make strong efforts in personal use ofsocial media as part of his leadership of the department. 4.6. DPI Strategic Communications Division (SCD) prioritiesThis division establishes ‘communications priorities’ for the UN as well as annualcampaigns. The annual campaigns for 2012 regard June’s Rio+20 conferenceand the ongoing post-2015 development programme.These combined priorities are loose instructions for the following year. Forexample: 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 clearmeasures of success.Further documentation:Other relevant information is annexed and should inform the full strategy.28 (this maynot be public information? But it should be.)29 UN Department of Public Information, 2012 Communications Priorities. Dec 15, 2011. 25
  • 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 mentionedabove, and suggests ideas for a coherent, complete vision statement for the UNin social media as well as strategic objectives of what we want to achieve in thisfield.This is a draft document, these goals are suggestions only. To ensure theirsustainability, any objectives need to be debated widely among DPI staff, andbought-into by those staff who will try to meet them. Ultimately the objectivesmust be approved, led and monitored by the leaders of this department. 5.1. Comparing models of corporate social mediaThis subsection models different social media structures in large corporations,taken from work by Jeremiah Owyang of Alterian, a web research company.30Currently, the large number of UN accounts and the lack of cohesion betweenthem reflects an ‘organic’ style (Diagram 1). This reflects the fact that socialmedia use has developed with no real strategic vision, with several departmentspursuing their own ill-defined goals and vision, passing on information as andwhen they individually see fit.Instead, the vision of the UN in social media should be to achieve a ‘holistic’style. This model reflects a staff who are active in social media and are alignedin the same direction with similar but personal voices, engaging in a consistent,but unforced, fashion.Creating a ‘holistic’ approach to social media will require considerable training,and, vitally, a crystal clear vision and strategy from the top, to ensure that staffmembers understand the collective goal that they are working towards.There is a risk that the UN, as a bureaucratic organisation (in the literal sense,not the normative criticism), will take a ‘centralised’ approach (Diagram 3).This is would be a response unfit for the 21st century, which would deter stafffrom engaging and would require the sort of rigorous control that the UNprobably does not have capacity for. If there is to be a step between organicand holistic, that step should be the ‘multiple hub and spokes’ model(Diagram 4).30 26
  • 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.” 27
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mA holistic model in social media will change the way the department approachescampaigns. Instead of event-related branded accounts, we would seek deliberateshifts in the focus of staff, who would personally publish about their work inthese areas, and we would shift the focus of the corporate accounts tosignposting to and highlighting the work of staff in these areas. We would notcreate more Facebook pages.Further, UN staff would become the first port of call for questions from thedigital community. We will come to expect staff across the UN to proactivelyengage in global debates. The best content or most interesting or heateddiscussions will bubble up through the digital networks of UN staff, and will betranslated into different languages and presented to wider audiences based onthe demand judged by the local and HQ corporate ‘brand’ accounts.This vision would require extensive and intensive education and training acrossthe UN for all staff and, which may be more difficult, a shift in cultural attitudesand behaviour. The role for a central departmental team in this model is tobecome champions and experts, providing support for the rest of the people inthe 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 socialmedia in a coherent wayMission statementThe UN social media team’s long term mission is to train, prepare and supportUN staff to lead digital conversations on their own specialist subjects. Corporateaccounts - the UN ‘brand’ accounts at HQ and in the field offices - will showcasethe best of our staff’s work and act as a signpost to ensure the public canengage 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 28
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m o improves knowledge management; - better externally connected to professionals in civil society, member states and the private sector; and - 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 ensureclarity and robustness.This is in table form on the next page. These are suggestions; there must bedebate over the specificity, relevance, achievability, measurability and timing ofany such goals. 29
  • Intermediate outcome by Output of social media team by 2014 Overall outcome by 2016 Objective 2015 (and measure) (and measure) (and measure) Identify and train early adopters, encourage them to ‘pass it forward’ (0.5% of UN staff More staff in digital space (% of trained 0.01% trained in training; ensure all UN staff with a digital account depts. and system covered, maintain list of x- on an open platform, used 5 UN champions) Culture change – staff times / week) empowerment (e.g. 10% in All-staff training, lectures/team explanations (x Better known UN individuals positive response to ‘do you feel number of sessions etc) (>100 UN staff with personal engaged or empowered’ by staff follower counts of > 5,000) in response to HR staff survey) Mentoring programme set up (uptake by x% of all staff) Greater public awareness of individual roles at UN andStaff as voice of structure of UN etc (e.g. 10% organisation Better corporate accounts increase in global opinion poll ‘I (number of languages or nations understand the UN’) covered by UNIC-led corporate Mergers or reduced corporate accounts accounts; internal coherence of Transparency: a higher score in (numbers of accounts) DPI accounts (% of accounts independent accountability branded and labelled correctly measures (e.g. One World Branding advice (how to use the logo, what to etc) Trust’s global accountability write in a bio) (docs, ready-made kit of backgrounds, ‘twibbons’ etc produced) framework) Corporate accounts taking their Training, guidance and branding for UNIC run content from individuals (% of content shared by corporate pages (number of sessions, documents) accounts that is new (i.e. the content is now mainly repostings from individual staff)) 30
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m Increased use of social media Better informed staff (survey on Better internal Training for senior leadership – advocating why for internal communication awareness of work of othercommunications social media works for internal productivity (x (number of internal interactions) system, instances of co- across depts. training sessions, x managers using open working, ‘how well do you feel and system platform to engage internally) Reduced email burden (number you know what’s going on of emails) outside your department?’) Increased use of social media for external communication Better external (number of external Training for staff (x training sessions, x staff interactions) Greater knowledge sharingcommunications using) throughout UN network, to traditional Reduced email burden (number missions and CSOs (survey of stakeholders Renew, reshape, refocus all corporate accounts of emails) awareness? Tricky one to (missions, (number of accounts, fewer, better accounts) measure) NGOs) More coherent brand presence (% of corporate accounts using branding correctly, etc) Better More public interaction with staff engagement Training for all staff (x% of staff using open (number of followers, number of Greater public knowledge of UNwith the global platforms to engage) reposts etc) goals; better understanding of public to UN structure (opinion polling, increase Increased training / advice to UNICs (number More language use stuff public research)understanding of training sessions, survey data) (number of followers of other and support language accounts) 31
  • 6. EvaluationThe tables above include a measure for each of the goals listed. This sectiondescribes the methods of collecting these measures. All activity is online, soideally all the digital statistics would be easily collected, recorded and monitored.With the limited resources of DPI, however, there are other approaches, such assampling, 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’ andimproving the corporate channels, there needs to be better polling of the globalpublic, which will be expensive but vital to understanding success.Again, as this document is a draft, this evaluation plan is not developedprecisely. A stronger evaluation plan should be attempted when fleshing out theprice goals and targets for the UN social media team over the next few years.Shared metrics across the UN systemThis is mentioned in section ten, but evaluation metrics should be the sameacross the UN system. Any evaluation plan for this social media strategy mustuse such metrics. 32
  • 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 designa plan or tactics for meeting the strategic goals. This section provides oneexample of such a plan – starting with analysis of those whose behaviour we aretrying to change, then a recap of our goals for these people, then the methodswe 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 andsent to all DPI staff over the summer of 2012.The results of this survey are obviously helpful for DPI, but it really needs to beextended to all UN secretariat staff, and then agencies (in a more robust,expertly-designed fashion). As at August 2012, UNDP had borrowed the surveyto use for all UNDP staff. These are extremely easy to prepare and take a fewminutes per staff member to fill in. Analysis can be performed immediately. Thisis a useful tool that should be used regularly.The data we have on DPI staff is analysed below. It can hopefully be assumedthat DPI staff are more likely to use social media than an average member ofsecretariat staff, so this should be taken in to account in reading the followingnotes:Responses received numbered 137. The breakdown of age and job level of thosewho took the survey is as follows: 33
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mThat those aged between 20 and 29 are the smallest block (especially wheninterns are taken into account) might present cause for concern when thinkingabout 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 – halfbecause they were not interested and half because they had privacy concerns.Of those same 12, three said they were not interested in social media training,four said they did not have time, three said they would maybe undertaketraining and three said they would be interested in receiving training as part of agroup.  DPI respondents check their profiles regularly, particularly Facebook and TwitterOf those who answered, precisely half of the responders checked a social mediachannel within the last two hours. Another 26% had checked one within the lastday. Facebook (86%), Twitter (56%), YouTube (29%) and LinkedIn (28%) were 34
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mthe most popular channels, with smaller audiences for Google+ (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 a large number of accounts owned by UN Information Centres.There is also a surprisingly high number of Tumblr users, given the platformsreputation as having a very youthful (i.e. 15-20 yrs) user base.  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 atleast one or two – with many following them all, and almost equal numberfollowing all those relevant to their work.3131 The ‘other’ refers (I think) to those who didn’t answer the question (because theydon’t use social media). 35
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m  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 popularlanguage for use on social media platforms. There are no respondents who claimto use Arabic or Chinese as their primary social media language. This mightreflect flaws with the survey design (it was perhaps easier to read / complete ifyou were a confident English user?) or reflects the dominance of the language inthe digital space.Other languages used included Portuguese, Dutch, Japanese and Turkish. 36
  • 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 the affirmative, showing that people are choosing to engage inEnglish in spite of it not being their mother tongue.  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 ‘preferto keep work and social life separate’, and 20% said it was ‘not appropriate’.These are the views that must be challenged if the UN is to use social media toits advantage. Only small percentages thought it was not allowed or notinteresting for their social media network – both positive signs. 37
  • 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’thave time for, social media training. In contrast to the author’s practice of tryingto do one-to-one sessions, DPI staff said they would prefer group trainingsessions (‘yes, as part of a group’ as opposed to ‘yes, with a mentor dedicatedto me’). In the free-form comments section of the survey, many people wrote oftheir need for more training across the board on digital communication. 38
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m  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. Fortraining purposes therefore, it can almost be assumed that staff could all bringone device with them to a session.The 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 directlyfrom section five above (vision, mission, objectives) or these could be moreprecisely aligned to the issue of staff capacity / 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 individualstaff member - what affects their use of social media for professional purposes?The work of the department should help encourage staff digital engagement byshifting the individual, societal and structural elements that affect behaviour sothat they align more favourably with social media use. For example: 39
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mIndividual 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  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 40
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m  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 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. 41
  • 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 mediaspace. Currently there is a range of brand accounts, many of which should bemerged into a small group that makes a clear offer to 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 bythe department, which should then be reviewed according to how they meet theoverall strategy. An audit like this could be crowdsourced by staff. Thoseplatforms that do not meet a clear and specific goal, or work towards one that ismet somewhere else, should be merged with other accounts or dissolved toensure that departmental resources are spent most effectively.The second step, assuming that the USG for the department has the right todirect other departments’ communication efforts, will be to map and reorganiseaccounts anywhere across UN HQ. This will obviously cause concern as peoplemay regard accounts as ‘their turf’, but the benefit to the public should over-ridethis. In order to strengthen the brand of the UN in digital media, moreconsistency and clarity around corporate accounts, wherever they lie in the UNsystem (or particularly at UN HQ) is required, and logically this responsibility lieswith 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 digitalcommunications where our audience are. So we go to them on the platformswhere they are. We offer a really easy-to-understand simple range of socialmedia platforms to engage with. We recognise that we’re competing forattention with our audience’s actual friends, and a thousand other brands. Wereach them on their terms. 8.2. Which platforms should DPI use?The choice of platforms used by DPI (and the other UN departments) to manageaccounts must flow from a clear understanding of what we are trying to achieveand what audience we’re trying to reach. For example, while new socialnetworking platforms are invented regularly, we should not feel the need tocreate a presence on that platform without considering which overall strategicgoal it would help meet. While it may be appropriate to register the profilenames of UN, United Nations and so on in the different languages, it is possiblejust to leave a ‘holding notice’ while the department evaluates whether theplatform suits its overall strategy. 42
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mIt is not essential to have a presence on every platform. It is more important tohave high-quality engagement on a set group of platforms.Each platform should have one go-to person who has total responsibility, even ifthe content is provided by a wide number of staff members. 8.3. Languages and local focusA comprehensive brand plan needs to be worked out re worldwide accountmanagement, making sure the UN is reaching large non-English-speakingaudiences and audiences not using typically US-based channels for digitalengagement.The obvious partners with expertise in how to reach local audiences are the UNInformation Centres, who have the local knowledge and experience to maximiselocal reach in the appropriate language(s). There will need to be acomprehensive 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 theappropriate platforms and language as dictated by their local audience.There should also be an effort to ensure that a native speaker of the languageused for the account has final sign off on posting messages, to ensurecorrectness. 8.4. Platform useThe next page demonstrates the sort of matrix of the channels used that couldbe established to outline the corporate accounts. A detailed breakdown for eachplatform should be developed (as in Annex L), which would explain the user baseof that platform, how the UN currently uses it, the strategic goal that use of theplatform meets; the long-term vision for that platform; smart goal(s) for thatplatform; risks with the platform (and mitigation); and possibly some examplesof successful platform use by similar organisations. The simplest ‘microgoal’would be something such as ‘to improve our readership by 20% in 6 months’ or‘to answer 10% more of the queries we receive’, etc. Examples are provided inthe table below.32 This UNIC audit may already exist with the Information Management Unit in DPI. 43
  • Twitter Facebook Tumblr Pinterest Storify (UNIC)Who uses this 955bn people. Very young, Unknown Women, older Journalists,platform? American, UK, newshounds BrazilWhat is its Microblogging, Connecting with Artsy cool Behind the scenes? Image-sharing To provide one pagepurpose? sharing news ‘friends’ sharing stuff platform round up of x-platform photos social media storiesWhy should weuse it? (Link tooverallobjective)What contentshould beshared?Who providesthat content?Comments /engagement?What is our To increase Reach 1m usersSMART goal for our number of by Dec 2013.this platform? replies by 10% 44
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mUltimateresponsibility /signoff 45
  • 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 eachaccount, including guidelines as to the sort of content that the corporateaccounts will share, thus helping staff to get reposted - helping staff to help thesocial media team (see below).Currently, the DPI social media channels publish campaign messages, majornews, Secretary-General related, events, the best of the rest of the UN, behindthe scenes, and general education about the UN system. In terms ofengagement, 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 overallcalendar of events and upcoming themes, with links to copy, film, audio andphotography content. 8.5.2. Workflow and work toolsCurrently social media copy for the English language accounts is mostly writtenby one staff member with input from interns. Relevant content is prepared forupdates every few hours (twitter), every day (Facebook, Pinterest, Google Plus)and less often for other accounts (blogs, Tumblr). This is based on what materialthe team thinks is relevant and new, and suggestions are taken from other DPIstaff working on particular campaigns. A shared Google Spreadsheet is used tomap out the immediate week ahead and longer term events, then a free single-user copy of Hootsuite is used to input the material and publish on a time-scheduled basis.In the other languages, a member of the web services section is responsible foreach of the Facebook pages in the 5 other languages, and two members of theChinese web services manage the popular Weibo account.In the short term, Google Doc access should be widened to all UN staff (perhapsDPI only, then all staff post-training), and restructured to make it user friendlyand easy etc. Hootsuite Enterprise edition should be purchased (see Annex L onreviewing the various social media management tools), which would come with aset number of administrative seats for writing and editing the actual platformcontent. These administrators (interns, DPI staff, and selected UNIC staff inother time zones) can take content from the shared Google Doc, re-write ifnecessary, and schedule it in Hootsuite. The DPI social media focal point canremain as a ‘superadmin’ with ultimate approval signoff.For the channels that cannot be managed using Hootsuite (tumblr, pinterestetc), as well as local brand channels, an overall account manager should beappointed and should be widely known to DPI and wider UN staff. It should be 46
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mtheir 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 it as befits the channel (e.g. explaining to other staff,working across the UN to get the content relevant for that platform).In the long term, staff will be managing their own social media profiles, and canproactively reach out to the corporate channels for republishing. Corporateaccount owners will also actively seek out the best of staff content. 47
  • 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) 48
  • 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 wouldmake sense for DPI to be doing much of the coordination and knowledge sharingin social media. The aim would be for DPI to become the hub to the spokes ofthe different agencies. Currently, however, this may be beyond the department’slimited resources. At the moment the system is working with various agenciestaking a lead.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 preparedto act in the event that they are realised. The department monitors the cross-UNsystem to some extent through the UN Communications Group (a meeting ofdirectors of communication from across the UN system) and through thedepartment’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 bringthe system together to save money on social media tools like Hootsuite. In2011, some of the UN system grouped together to receive a substantial discounton Hootsuite Enterprise. That offer will not be repeated because not enough UNmembers joined the group. More central professional procurement support mighthave got this done better. DPI should work with legal and procurement to comeup with other cross-UN offers. 9.3. Liaison with owners of platformsAnother useful role for a central body would be to coordinate the relationshipsbetween the UN system as a whole and the major social platforms. This wouldbe in order to inform the rest of the system about upcoming platform changes,and to collate requests or questions to the platform in order not to overwhelmthem with requests for help from every part of the UN system. It makes sensefor DPI to do this as the most centrally positioned department. The departmentcould also work to leverage senior UN officials in the event that requests need tobe made to specific platforms on the UN’s behalf, such as renaming Facebookpages. 49
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m 9.4. Knowledge sharingCurrently this is working relatively well in a decentralised way: there is a sharedemail list, an online platform and monthly meetings. The UN social mediaemailing list goes to the social media professionals in the system and is almostentirely used to promote campaigns. Monthly cross-UN meetings, which includepermanent missions are well-attended by New York –based agencies, but not bynon-New York agencies. There may be a separate Geneva based social mediameeting, but if not, efforts should be made to videoconference or record thesemeetings to ensure better cross-UN working.UNDP provides access to its TeamWorks platform which works relatively well – ithas 35,000 members in total, the social media group has 262 members and islargely made up of UNDP staff in the field, but the information shared is relevantto all. With a more concerted campaign to encourage staff across the UN toengage 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 be especially useful, such as the Wiki (the most popular page onthe site) can only be edited by UNDP staff – somewhat undermining the point ofa wiki platform. This perhaps can be changed at the UNDP end. 9.5. Shared evaluation metricsThere needs to be some effort to agree upon shared evaluation practices andmetrics across the UN system, in order to compare like with like. This should notbe too difficult given the digital statistics we use – but depending on the use ofdifferent tools, ‘impressions’ etc may be counted differently. In order to sharewhat works, it would be helpful to agree on standards early on. There mayalready be some informal agreement on this – but the department could takethis and formalise it as UN social media evaluation standards. 50
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m10. Next stepsThis document has attempted to outline how the UN could be more strategic inits use of social media. Throughout the document it has outlined the data thatwe need, how a strategy would be envisioned and how plans would be made tomeet it. But it is only a draft and the suggestions made are the suggestions ofone intern. At this point, a full working strategy should become the responsibilityof the senior managers in the department.This last section, therefore, details what should happen next for senior leaders toestablish a more strategic approach to social media at the UN. The end goal is amore robust strategy, easily translatable into goals and things to do now. Thisneeds to happen swiftly.1) Immediately : a) initiate survey of UN staff on their use of /views on social media (can be based on the existing survey of DPI staff) b) initiate a UN-system wide social media audit to do two things: i) find out how many UN-branded accounts exist, what their aims are, and who is engaging with them, ii) find out where the audience we want to reach are, where people discuss the UN and what their views are; c) begin work with legal and procurement offices to invite social media software providers to chat about UN system offers (e.g. Hootsuite); d) start work with legal and whoever else to initiate Facebook negotiations for (and all other languages); e) devise a draft strategy with colleagues across DPI; have one senior leader take responsibility for its production, but perhaps turn it into a Google doc or individual Google Docs so that all staff can edit or comment on it; f) share this database on national language/platform use/etc., and start collecting more data to build a robust business case for global digital engagement.2) Within the next three months a) complete a draft strategy, and run presentations etc in order to publicise it - seek wide feedback; b) rework that draft as appropriate following further survey results and feedback; 51
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m c) gain approval of that draft from HR, legal, and senior UN leaders; d) develop a training programme and staff guidelines as appropriate, which could include training kits or templates and train-the-trainer courses;3) Within the next six months a) meet with a members of Committee on Information to consult and seek feedback on the departmental goals; b) decide upon, and gain senior approval of, specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound objectives; c) initiate peer to peer training system and iSeek social media guidance, across departments and fields; d) consider how to research audience in greater detail; collect data for directing more effective use of stretched resources; (perhaps through partnerships with digital media companies, rest of UN system for commissioned polling and research); e) plan for some of the broader, more challenging strategic goals, such as devolving more power down to UNICs and establishing strong local digital content provision; f) turn this strategy into a living document – owned by directors across several departments with responsibilities to keep it up to date; overall ownership by USG.4) In one year’s time a) resurvey UN staff; b) redraft the strategy as appropriate. 52
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m Appendices/AnnexesA. DPI Structure33The Department consists of the following divisions: The News and Media Division produces and distributes United Nations news and information to the media around the world. It provides logistical support to journalists covering the UN and maintains a constant flow of news in six languages through the UN News Centre on the web. It provides coverage of UN meetings and events - including press releases, live TV feeds, radio programmes and photographs - and produces and distributes radio and video documentary and news programmes about the United Nations. Director: Mr. Stephane Dujarric The Outreach Division consists of the Dag Hammarskjöld Library as well as offices that work with non-governmental organizations and educational institutions and that market United Nations publications. The Outreach Division also organizes special events and exhibitions on priority issues, sponsors an annual training programme for journalists from developing countries, and develops partnerships with private and public sector organizations to further the aims of the Organization. The Division organizes the guided tours programme at UN Headquarters and public speaking engagements for UN officials and responds to inquiries from the general public. It also produces the Yearbook of the United Nations. Director: Mr. Maher Nasser The Strategic Communications Division develops communications strategies and campaigns to promote United Nations priorities and coordinates their implementation within the Department and across the UN system. It develops information products to publicize key thematic issues, targeting, in particular, the global media. It provides programmatic and operational support to the global network of UN Information Centres, as well as strategic communications advice and support to the information components of peace operations. The Division also serves as Secretariat for the General Assemblys Committee on Information and the UN Communications Group (for more information, please see Partnerships - UN Communications Group). Director: Ms. Deborah Seward33 53
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mB. Information on UNICs34Information Centres are part of the Department of Public Information (DPI). At present, there are 63Information Centres, Services and Offices worldwide.The network of 63 United Nations Information Centres are key to the Organization’s ability to reach thepeoples of the world and to share the United Nations story with them in their own languages.United Nations Information Centres (UNICs) are the principal sources of information about the UnitedNations system in the countries where they are located. UNICs are responsible for promoting greaterpublic understanding of and support for the aims and activities of the United Nations by disseminatinginformation on the work of the Organization to people everywhere, especially in developing countries.34 54
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mList of UNIC locations: Accra Dhaka Ouagadougou Algiers Geneva Panama City Almaty Harare Port Of Spain Ankara Islamabad Prague Antananarivo Jakarta Pretoria** Asmara Kathmandu Rabat Asuncion Khartoum Rio De Janeiro Baku Kyiv Sanaa Bangkok La Paz Tashkent Beirut Lagos Tbilisi Bogota Lima Tehran Brazzaville Lomé Tokyo Brussels* Lusaka Tripoli Bucharest Manama Tunis Buenos Aires Manila Vienna Bujumbura Maseru Warsaw Cairo** Mexico City** Washington D.C. Canberra Minsk Windhoek Colombo Moscow Yangon Dakar Nairobi Yaoundé Dar Es Salaam New Delhi Yerevan* The United Nations Regional Information Centre in Brussels, Belgium, covers 21 countries inWestern Europe.** The Information Centres in Cairo, Mexico City, and Pretoria, where there are highconcentrations of media outlets, are responsible for working strategically with Centres inneighbouring countries to develop and implement communications plans to promote UnitedNations priority themes in a way that has special resonance in their respective regions. 55
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mC. Notes from UN Communications GroupAt their ninth annual meeting (Beijing, 2010) the United NationsCommunications Group (a group of senior management from across the UNsytem) published a background paper entitled ‘Using Social Media in the UnitedNations context (UNCG/2010/8)’.The paper acknowledged that:  social media is meant to be a dialogue  social media requires interaction and a significant investment of timeIt suggested plans for a SM campaign as follows  Determining clear and focused objectives.  Identifying primary and secondary target audiences.  Determining which platforms are most used and most effective for target audiences and their access to different connection services (Internet, cellular connectivity), cultural and language or physical restrictions.  Considering the benefits of joining ongoing established campaigns organized by partners or related organization with the benefits of creating your own campaign.  Defining how the social media initiative supports and will be integrated into ongoing and future communications and strategies.  Identifying short- and long- term resources (personnel and financial) needed to support and sustain the social media activity.  Eliciting senior management support which may include official support, establishment of budgeted resources, senior-level social media training and departmental coordination.  Improving staff expertise through training, education and/or the defining of new staff positions dedicated to social media and online communications.  Establishing capacity requirements for project and long-term maintenance.  Identifying success indicators and follow-up activities.  Evaluating risks and drafting mitigation strategies, including internal cultural challenges.It recommended rules for content:  Be accurate, objective and impartial.  Reflect the views and opinions of the Organization.  Use appropriate language and tone. Offensive and/or politically-sensitive references to individuals, peoples, countries and groups are prohibited at all times.  Adhere to relevant and related language, ethics, harassment, discrimination and copyright guidelines, and be grammatically correct. 56
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m  Avoid discussions related to internal issues such as sourcing, reporting of unpublished stories, personnel matters, and untoward personal or professional matters involving colleagues.  Refrain from criticizing others or those who take issue with official United Nations positions.  Avoid endorsing external sites, even when they are related, or inadvertently conveying endorsement.  Abide by the policies of the particular website they are using in conjunction with other applicable policies. 57
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mD. Objectives from the Committee on Information’s draft resolution to 67th GAThese excerpts show the difficulties with the sheer volume of objectives, the lackof clarity or prioritisation by member states of their ideas for DPI. They suggestno timeframe in which a strategy could actually be embedded. A mandate whichchanges yearly will not lead to efficient, competent work. States also show a lackof agreement on the value of social media. The mixed messages from themember states on social media are a further problem for the department.The full text is available here. Emphasizing that the contents of public information and communications should be placed at the heart of the strategic management of the United Nations and that a culture of communications and transparency should permeate all levels of the Organization as a means of fully informing the peoples of the world of the aims and activities of the United Nations, in accordance with the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, in order to create broad-based global support for the United Nations, Stressing that the primary mission of the Department of Public Information is to provide, through its outreach activities, accurate, impartial, comprehensive, balanced, timely and relevant information to the public on the tasks and responsibilities of the United Nations in order to strengthen international support for the activities of the Organization with the greatest transparency, … General activities of the DPI 8. Requests the Department of Public Information to maintain its commitment to a culture of evaluation and to continue to evaluate its products and activities with the objective of enhancing their effectiveness, and to continue to cooperate and coordinate with Member States and the Office of Internal Oversight Services of the Secretariat; … urges the Department of Public Information to encourage the United Nations Communications Group to promote linguistic diversity in its work, … 58
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m 13. Reaffirms that the Department of Public Information must prioritize its work programme, while respecting existing mandates and in line with regulation 5.6 of the Regulations and Rules Governing Programme Planning, the Programme Aspects of the Budget, the Monitoring of Implementation and the Methods of Evaluation, 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; Multilingualism and public information 19. Emphasizes the importance of ensuring equitable treatment of all the official languages of the United Nations in all the activities of the Department of Public Information, whether based on traditional or new media, including in presentations to the Committee on Information, with the aim of eliminating the disparity between the use of English and the five other official languages; Bridging the digital divide 22. 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 Network of United Nations information centres 23. Emphasizes the importance of the network of United Nations information centres in enhancing the public image of the United Nations, in disseminating messages on the United Nations to local populations, especially in developing countries, bearing in mind that information in local languages has the strongest impact on local populations, and in mobilizing support for the work of the United Nations at the local level;E. Status, basic rights and duties of United Nations staff members (ST/SGB/2002/13)Relevant sections. Copied from UNCG/2010/8. 59
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m Regulation 1.2 (e) By accepting appointment, staff members pledge themselves to discharge their functions and regulate their conduct with the interests of the Organization only in view. Regulation 1.2 (f) While staff members’ personal views and convictions, including their political and religious convictions, remain inviolable, staff members shall ensure that those views and convictions do not adversely affect their official duties or the interests of the United Nations. They shall conduct themselves at all times in a manner befitting their status as international civil servants and shall not engage in any activity that is incompatible with the proper discharge of their duties with the United Nations. They shall avoid any action and, in particular, any kind of public pronouncement that may adversely reflect on their status, or on the integrity, independence and impartiality that are required by that status. Regulation 1.2 (h) Staff members may exercise the right to vote but shall ensure that their participation in any political activity is consistent with, and does not reflect adversely upon, the independence and impartiality required by their status as international civil servants. Regulation 1.2 (i) Staff members shall exercise the utmost discretion with regard to all matters of official business. They shall not communicate to any Government, entity, person or any other source any information known to them by reason of their official position that they know or ought to have known has not been made public, except as appropriate in the normal course of their duties or by authorization of the Secretary-General. These obligations do not cease upon separation from service.F. World Summit 2005 60
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mAt the World Summit 2005, the General Assembly adopted the 2005 WorldSummit outcome, which included the paragraphs below. Secretariat and management reform 161. We recognize that in order to effectively comply with the principles and objectives of the Charter, we need an efficient, effective and accountable Secretariat. Its staff shall act in accordance with Article 100 of the Charter, in a culture of organizational accountability, transparency and integrity. Consequently we: … (f) Strongly urge the Secretary-General to make the best and most efficient use of resources in accordance with clear rules and procedures agreed by the General Assembly, in the interest of all Member States, by adopting the best management practices, including effective use of information and communication technologies, with a view to increasing efficiency and enhancing organizational capacity, concentrating on those tasks that reflect the agreed priorities of the Organization.It is likely that the GA was referring to basic IT stuff – rather than SM, butclearly the objective’s laid out are made more achievable through social media ,esp the ‘culture of organizational accountability, transparency and integrity’. 61
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mG. Interviews with social media practitioners in UN systemWho is your target audience? 1. It’s easier to target the general audience. With Facebook algorithms the way they are, it’s important to reach as many people as quickly as possible. Segmenting by location results in less engagement. This is one area where SM is behind email. 2. En/Fr/Es are our working languages. Our Spanish audience is large. We are a decentralised agency, with offices around the world – each local office is in charge of local communication and uses the local language. The corporate accounts are mainly for our Western donor countries, media, NGOs and act as a force multiplier for the local accounts. 3. Our agency has a more specialised audience than many, which makes targeting them easier. We engage mainly with journalists in our field and a relatively specific industry – both workers and owners. 4. While obviously it’s better to have a target audience, it’s very hard to identify one for our agency. Instead we aim to be a content curator across our policy area and hope to be of general interest. We’re also very event focussed. 5. Member states, both donors and recipients. The private sector, CSOs and the general public. So we have to balance our content to be generic enough for the public, but not too superficial for our authority audiences.What is your overall vision for social media? 1. We need to decide what SM offers. Brand awareness isn’t great in donor countries cf. the field. We’re learning how to use SM for advocacy. Trying to build a strong brand, much more cost-effectively than advertising. We’re building a community of people who really care about our issue. 2. We aim to make our agency transparent, human and personal. We share stories and engage with our audience, skipping traditional media. We aim to position our staff as thought leaders in their field. 3. Not discussed. 4. SM should complement the other work we do – should be timely and effective. Identify what you can’t do with trad media, and use SM to fill the gaps. 5. To meet the broader comms objectives of the organisation in terms of broadcasting, but to go beyond that and create transparency.What are [agency’s] overall communications objectives? What are theobjectives for social media? 1. AwarenessEngagementDonate/Help – some kind of concrete action. Fundraising better thru email. 62
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m 2. Social media strategy forms part of our overall communications strategy. We publish a wiki of policy and guidelines that constantly evolves over time. One goal is to train all staff in using social media responsibly. 3. We are currently drafting a SM strategy. Our main aims are profile-raising and making sure the specific divisional messages are promoted. 4. We aim to raise awareness about our issues; create better mobilisation for advocates, and to improve our networks with peers and partners, especially at events such as Rio+20. 5. We’re trying to raise awareness and transparency around what we do. We aim to increase our reach (boosting press office), to engage in a conversation on our top priorities, and increase advocacy on women’s issues.Do you have a staff policy? Are any of your senior officials using SM? 1. Growing field presence, ‘action reporting’ such as tweeting from Ugandan refugee camps. We make up for the lack of resource by encouraging volunteers and champions. These are people we’ve trained, or who are already SM enthusiasts. Works especially well in East Africa, we have plenty of people in the field who can tweet for us. We have a policy official tweeting from Rio. Our Director of Comms tweets. And our Exec Director will be on twitter soon. 2. We use the specific guidelines same as DPI, but it’s all in the wiki. We managed to get our DG involved, she enjoyed the interaction, the direct feedback – was a bit of a lightbulb moment, and now she is a regular tweeter. Think the important thing to recognise is that it’s not necessarily Twitter that is everyone’s channel. Some people like more time – so they should blog. 3. Senior official use is limited. There is a generation gap, a lot of people don’t know how it works. We have presented to senior mgmt, and there are concrete successes – wherever we have a great SM story we share it. 4. We have guidelines for staff. We make use of volunteers from across the organisation for livetweeting/blogging events. Awareness of SM internally is growing – esp when senior management showed up to our evangelist events! Senior mgmt supported my wish for a twitterfall at our annual meeting – was great, we had Paul Kagame and Bill Gates involved, we used unfiltered tweets (but had a mitigation strategy in case of abuse). People loved it. We used an outside contractor to arrange the set up in the room. 5. Not yet. We started quite closed, trying to establish a global voice, now we’re opening up to allowing staff and regional offices to create their own presences. Some country offices have difficulties with access etc. No senior officials yet. We are planning training, lunchtime sessions, etc. Overall, however, the guidance already exists in the HR docs and in the Code of Conduct for Int’l Civil Servants.How do you decide which channels to use? 1. Not discussed 63
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m 2. We test all the channels as they catch on. Each performs something of value. For example, Google+ affects your search engine ranking, so we post our web stories on their in order to create a higher ranking for the website. LinkedIn helps us advertise jobs, attract and engage with experts, etc. 3. This is driven by the content we have. We produce a lot of presentations, so Slideshare was an obvious choice, for example. 4. Not discussed. 5. We use all the main channels. We have a G+ because we feel like we have to be there or we’ll be punished in the Page Ranking.Day-to-day: How do you manage the production of content?(teamworking, responsibilities etc)[Where asked, all SM staff said that they sat with other communications staff] 1. We have three community managers : DC, Bangkok, Rome, in order that we can cover the 24 hour day. They know their stuff. Horizontal workloads, but if had more staff might think differently (i.e. one channel per staffer). We try not to use hootsuite etc and do as much as possible by hand. 2. I publish much of the English material, our language experts write the language accounts. We see ourselves as a hub for all staff. We use Hootsuite Enterprise, where I am the SuperAdmin and there are 10 other admins who get different levels of access to Approve, Edit, etc. 3. I am the focal point for SM – so I’ll republish as much as possible from across the other comms team. Find Hootsuite very good, esp for Twitter. 4. We have a few people who all have access to the accounts and publish away. For events, we ask people to use their own accounts, then we signpost and RT via the corporate accounts. We use the free versions of Tweetdeck and Hootsuite as management tools. 5. For Twitter, we use Hootsuite enterprise. We have 20 users around the world who feed stuff into the system, which I try to approve within 24 hours. We divide tasks around hq – to check the website for latest news, to monitor the media for interesting content, and we invite the country offices to send in project news. Plus we run twitter live chats. This generates a fair amount of content, but we’re not a content-creator. Facebook is done manually.Evaluation and monitoring 1. Use Tweetdeck for monitoring. Various applications for analytics (e.g. Buffer) 2. We use Radian6 – it takes time to learn, but is the best tool for reputation monitoring, finding influencers and multipliers and the shifts in the social debate. We also use the analytics in Hootsuite, Hashtracking and Socialbro. We look at the web traffic too. 3. Use the Hootsuite analytics, but only have the basic free version, so not great. We also use YouTube, Facebook and Google Analytics to produce media reports after a campaign. 4. We don’t have the resource to do this properly. We produce Tweetreach reports after annual events, and we try to storify content more regularly. 64
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m But the cost of something like Radian6 is prohibitive. Could a centralised buying group reduce the cost? 5. We haven’t found the perfect tool – using Twittercounter, Hashtracking and Crowdbooster simultaneously. Good for key influences, impressions and so on. Senior staff like to see numbers, though to what extent are they realistic/accurate? Not convinced by Radian6 – not very user-friendly and don’t trust/need sentiment analysis. We don’t produce regular reports, but feed into the campaign/event reporting.Successes 1. Organising and delivering a Google Hangout with CNN anchor was a learning experience. Great that it actually happened. 2. We’re still learning, and SM has huge potential, but some successes have been our live events, esp. livestreaming with the DG (10,000 viewers) and took questions from the online audience. 3. We’ve done well from a standing start – in a year gained 5,000 followers from nothing. Getting a lot of positive feedback from industry, and from journalists (esp as we also now produce video content for them). 4. The twitterfall at our annual meeting, and also our offline/online press conferences which we streamed and invited questions. 5. Some good campaign outcomes – we brought voices from outside Rio to the conference through SM and the audience liked it – high reach for Rio stuff. Had other campaign successes which are all due to the planning and preparation beforehand. We have some very good influencers who bring a lot of attention to our work (Nicole Kidman, Shakira etc).Something not gone so well / lessons learned 1. Hoped we would get more views for our Google Hangout. 2. It’s not for everyone, there is a generation gap – some people are born communicators, others are not. Do some press teams still fear SM? 3. We’ve tried to reach certain influencers without much luck. 4. We tweeted too much from live events – so we parcelled this out to individuals and then RT’d the best. We all need more management support, and better leadership on social media. You’ve got to use believers! No point trying to teach/encourage people who aren’t interested in using these tools, i.e. don’t add it to people’s job descriptions. 5. Content is king. We get sent some stuff which just isn’t suitable and other staff might not really understand why. We had an event at which someone tried to hijack the hashtag – but you just have to outnumber them with more relevant tweets.Additional comments – on UN system as a whole, on the future for socialmedia in international organisations, etc. 1. Going forward, we want to get real people on real events, and use corporate accounts as amplifiers for those. Esp on Twitter. UN system could try coordinating a shared calendar better. Get a lot of emails with 65
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m suggested tweets that aren’t appropriate to our followers, but if something worked out well and intelligently, it could be powerful to have a whole system pushing at the same issue. 2. Focus and support champions who then convince their colleagues. Clear guidelines help everyone to understand the power of SM and the associated risks. Must remember that we work for 193 states. Need to cooperate and coordinate with others to help build community. 3. How we reach audiences in Asia is a challenge for all of us 4. We sometimes struggle with relations with the press officers. Could we get a common licence for certain tools (Radian6, Hootsuite) for use across the system? In general – it’s a battle, but got to encourage people to feel the fear and do it anyway. We’re supposed to be reaching a new generation – this is their world. How long before we have a twitterfall in the General Assembly? What do we need to do to strengthen SM efforts and make it central in public meetings? 5. DPI should definitely take a coordination role – being the focal point for tool selection, procurement etc.Interviewees: Silke Von Brockhausen, UNDP; Beatrice Frey, UN Women;Karine Langlois, IMO; Roxanna Samii, IFAD; Justin Smith, WFP. Thanks for yourtime. 66
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mH. Data on literacy, first and second languages, social media platform useSee this Google spreadsheet. Note the figures highlighted for countries in whicha majority of the population are not first-language literate in one of the sixofficial UN languages.Data is patchy and its improvement is something DPI should be supporting withresearch funding.The main sources were the CIA World Factbook and the Ethnologue guide.The spreadsheet is open and editable by anyone. Please update it if you findbetter/new data. Please note where you got the data from (use a comment foreach cell). 67
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mI. The US State Dept model (staff numbers in brackets)35This is included in order to gain some relatively similar comparison of how abureaucracy manages its social media work. Note the staff numbers in brackets,e.g. the Office for Audience Research has 10 full time members of staff.“Chart 1: Ediplomacy nodes at State and staffing levels, by organisational area(+ indicates considerable ediplomacy work outsourced to external partners).” (p.6)Total FT equivalent = 175.35 68
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m“While the above chart follows State’s organisational chart, the chart below breaks thesame ediplomacy nodes down by principal work program and objectives according to theconceptual framework set out above. The following section will examine the workprogram of each of State’s ediplomacy nodes under the eight different work programs.”(p.6)“Chart 2: Ediplomacy nodes at State, by work programs” (p.7)Broad goals for e-diplomacy (as understood by Lowry Institute author,not by State Dept)“1) Knowledge management: To harness departmental and whole of governmentknowledge, so that it is retained, shared and its use optimised in pursuit of nationalinterests abroad.2) Public diplomacy: To maintain contact with audiences as they migrate online and toharness new communications tools to listen to and target important audiences with keymessages and to influence major online influencers.3) Information management: To help aggregate the overwhelming flow of informationand to use this to better inform policy-making and to help anticipate and respond toemerging social and political movements.4) Consular communications and response: To create direct, personalcommunications channels with citizens travelling overseas, with manageablecommunications in crisis situations.5) Disaster response: To harness the power of connective technologies in disasterresponse situations.6) Internet freedom: Creation of technologies to keep the internet free and open. Thishas the related objectives of promoting freedom of speech and democracy as well asundermining authoritarian regimes.” 69
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m7) External resources: Creating digital mechanisms to draw on and harness externalexpertise to advance national goals.8) Policy planning: To allow for effective oversight, coordination and planning ofinternational policy across government, in response to the internationalisation of thebureaucracy.” 70
  • J. Giant spreadsheet of everythingThis is an alternative way of showing a strategy. This is the sort of table that should be able to be filled in and given to staffas a quick reference guide.Short term:Overarching Social Audience Tactics Responsibility Output Intermediate OverallUN or DPI media insight (what do and input (number of outcome outcomesgoal SMART goal needed we do) (who, when) tweets, (metrics: (measure of blogs etc) followers, change) RTs, replie)Long term:Vision Objectives Work Result Responsibility Output Intermediate Overall required wished for (measure) outcome outcomes (measure) (measure) 71
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m 72
  • K. Micro goals for each platform a) TwitterUser base: Twitter has around 150m active accounts. According to the OxfordInternet Institute, ‘the top six tweet-producing countries (for geo-coded tweets,in absolute terms) are the United States, Brazil, Indonesia, the UK, Mexico, andMalaysia.’36Description of platformUN current useStrategic goal that use of this platform meetsLong-term vision for this platformMicro SMART goal(s) for this platform (what does success look like?)Risks of using this platformMitigationSuccessful examples of platform use by similar organisations36 73
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m b) FacebookUser baseDescription of platformUN current useStrategic goal that use of this platform meetsLong-term vision for this platformMicro SMART goal(s) for this platform (what does success look like?)Risks of using this platformMitigationSuccessful examples of platform use by similar organisations 74
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m c) WeiboUser baseDescription of platformUN current useWeibo is somewhat unique, as its users are almost entirely based in China. TheUN account managed by the Mandarin language web team. Currently the UNaccount has 2m followers in China.Strategic goal that use of this platform meetsLong-term vision for this platformMicro SMART goal(s) for this platform (what does success look like?)Risks of using this platformMitigationSuccessful examples of platform use by similar organisations 75
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m d) UN blogs platform ( baseDescription of platformUN current useStrategic goal that use of this platform meetsLong-term vision for this platformMicro SMART goal(s) for this platform (what does success look like?)Risks of using this platformMitigationSuccessful examples of platform use by similar organisations 76
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m e) PinterestUser baseDescription of platformUN current useStrategic goal that use of this platform meetsLong-term vision for this platformMicro SMART goal(s) for this platformRisks of using this platformMitigationSuccessful examples of platform use by similar organisations 77
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mL. Tools for brand accounts workflowa. PublishingPlatform Hootsuite buddymedia Syncapse CrowdboosterDescriptionProsConsCostsUsed byb. Monitoring (realtime alerts etc)Platform Netvibes Tweetdeck buddymedia ThinkupDescriptionProsConsCostsUsed byc. Analytics/evaluationPlatform Socialbro Radian6 buddymedia Syncapse Hootsuite ThinkupDescriptionPros Attemps to analyse language used by followersConsCosts 78
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mUsed by 79
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mM. How to deal with multilingual and multinational brands on FacebookIt is generally thought that one page per country is the best solution, as it is theonly way to really account for linguistic/cultural differences.This article suggests using one mother-page and then child-pages. The exemplaris Starbucks, whose ‘mother’ page has 30m likes, and comes with a smallInternational app, which lists all their national pages in the appropriate nativelanguage. It’s simple and effective.The alternative is using one page where the static information is written in all sixlanguages and then the posts are delivered according the user’s location orlanguage. You get a less-detailed data breakdown with this approach. UNICsmanaging local pages for multilingual countries might opt for this approach.What does this mean for the UN Facebook page(s)?Option A: One central page delivers worldwidecontent 24/7. We attempt to segment audiences by language relying onuser/facebook data. + Allows for cross-country conversations (for those who know English) - A small army would required to manage this via DPI/NYOption B: Six pages (one for each language) maintained by the UNIC(s) mostappropriate for the language. + Allows better timed / more culturally relevant posts. - Would place too much work on certain UNICs?Option C: One global UN account, and then an account for each UNIC (whereFacebook is used). DPI/NY could decide how much power would be delegated tothe UNICs through a Dealer/Franchise platform like Syncapse’s. Or everyonecould work collaboratively, with DPI/NY providing clear objectives to, andmonitoring of, UNICs’ use of their platforms, using data shared across the entirenetwork (e.g. thru a different Syncapse platform). + Maybe best use of resources - Not very ‘united’ nationsThe overall conflict that has to be resolved 80
  • Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mThe question over how to manage branded Facebook accounts hints at a widerproblem in social media. There is a conflict between wanting to encourage cross-cultural dialogue and wanting to be culturally/linguistically relevant, which drivesengagement.Further reading:Syncapse platform presentation on global facebook strategies; Inside Facebook :Global/regional pages ‘likes’ count; Inside Facebook: Local pages outperformcorporate pages;Starbucks Facebook page – an astonishing 30m likes (it’s easy to like a luxurygood). This is the global page, but it includes a Facebook app that links tonational brand pages for a lot of different countries, all tailored to that localmarket. Although our world is very different, this model seems to make sensefor our Facebook presence.Cf. Western Union’s facebook page – a single global page, but confusingly mainlytargeting US customers. They do engage with a worldwide audience. Theypromote their competitions and advice, but don’t use it for customer service. Thenumber of likes and engagement is not great. 81