Joe MitchellOur people are our voiceTowards a social media strategyfor the United NationsSummer 2012 v.0.5               F...
Towards a UN social media strategy                                                           Joe Mitchell @j0e_mTable of C...
Towards a UN social media strategy                                                          Joe Mitchell @j0e_m     8.1.  ...
Towards a UN social media strategy                                                               Joe Mitchell @j0e_mAppend...
Towards a UN social media strategy                              Joe Mitchell @j0e_m1. Executive summaryThere is currently ...
Towards a UN social media strategy                              Joe Mitchell @j0e_mabout other ways we can segment the aud...
Towards a UN social media strategy                              Joe Mitchell @j0e_mPlan for UN corporate accountsWhile we ...
Towards a UN social media strategy                               Joe Mitchell @j0e_m2. Background and methodologyThis atte...
Towards a UN social media strategy                                Joe Mitchell @j0e_m3. Audience    3.1.       Who do we h...
Towards a UN social media strategy                                    Joe Mitchell @j0e_many communications strategy must ...
Towards a UN social media strategy                                      Joe Mitchell @j0e_mAgain, we lack the robust data ...
Towards a UN social media strategy                             Joe Mitchell @j0e_mThe average user of un.org views 3.5 pag...
Towards a UN social media strategy                              Joe Mitchell @j0e_m    3.5.       What social platforms do...
Towards a UN social media strategy                                  Joe Mitchell @j0e_m    3.6.       What is social media...
Towards a UN social media strategy                                  Joe Mitchell @j0e_mthe world’s population – this does ...
Towards a UN social media strategy                            Joe Mitchell @j0e_m      3.7.       What is social media use...
Towards a UN social media strategy                                  Joe Mitchell @j0e_mThese divides create a risk that en...
Towards a UN social media strategy                                 Joe Mitchell @j0e_mplatform - Facebook signed deals wit...
Towards a UN social media strategy                               Joe Mitchell @j0e_m4. Existing UN communication objective...
Towards a UN social media strategy                                Joe Mitchell @j0e_m               to further their own i...
Towards a UN social media strategy                                  Joe Mitchell @j0e_mfinancial, human and physical resou...
Towards a UN social media strategy                                    Joe Mitchell @j0e_m     4.4.      Committee on Infor...
Towards a UN social media strategy                               Joe Mitchell @j0e_m               new media helped people...
Towards a UN social media strategy                                 Joe Mitchell @j0e_m                with the needs of it...
Towards a UN social media strategy                                 Joe Mitchell @j0e_m                                    ...
Towards a UN social media strategy                                Joe Mitchell @j0e_m5. Suggested vision, mission and obje...
Towards a UN social media strategy                                      Joe Mitchell @j0e_m                               ...
Towards a UN social media strategy                                Joe Mitchell @j0e_mA holistic model in social media will...
Towards a UN social media strategy                              Joe Mitchell @j0e_m           o   improves knowledge manag...
Intermediate outcome by                     Output of social media team by 2014                                           ...
Towards a UN social media strategy                                          Joe Mitchell @j0e_m                           ...
6. EvaluationThe tables above include a measure for each of the goals listed. This sectiondescribes the methods of collect...
Towards a UN social media strategy                               Joe Mitchell @j0e_m7. Realising our vision – part one: st...
Towards a UN social media strategy                              Joe Mitchell @j0e_mThat those aged between 20 and 29 are t...
Towards a UN social media strategy                                   Joe Mitchell @j0e_mthe most popular channels, with sm...
Towards a UN social media strategy                             Joe Mitchell @j0e_m      English is far and away their mos...
Towards a UN social media strategy                                 Joe Mitchell @j0e_m      Most staff are using their se...
Towards a UN social media strategy                               Joe Mitchell @j0e_m      DPI staff are well aware of the...
Towards a UN social media strategy                                Joe Mitchell @j0e_m      Staff are well-equipped with l...
Towards a UN social media strategy                                 Joe Mitchell @j0e_mIndividual incentives / disincentive...
Towards a UN social media strategy                                 Joe Mitchell @j0e_m                      Give every me...
Towards a UN social media strategy                                Joe Mitchell @j0e_m8. Realising our vision – part two: U...
Towards a UN social media strategy                                   Joe Mitchell @j0e_mIt is not essential to have a pres...
Twitter          Facebook            Tumblr            blogs.un.org         Pinterest       Storify                       ...
Towards a UN social media strategy        Joe Mitchell @j0e_mUltimateresponsibility /signoff                              ...
8.5.      Content plan and workflow for accounts managed by DPI      8.5.1.        Content planOnce an overall strategic g...
Towards a UN social media strategy                               Joe Mitchell @j0e_mtheir responsibility to meet the micro...
Towards a UN social media strategy                     Joe Mitchell @j0e_m       8.5.3.         Workflow diagram:Platform ...
Towards a UN social media strategy                                 Joe Mitchell @j0e_m9. DPI’s coordination role across UN...
Towards a UN social media strategy (for screen reading)
Towards a UN social media strategy (for screen reading)
Towards a UN social media strategy (for screen reading)
Towards a UN social media strategy (for screen reading)
Towards a UN social media strategy (for screen reading)
Towards a UN social media strategy (for screen reading)
Towards a UN social media strategy (for screen reading)
Towards a UN social media strategy (for screen reading)
Towards a UN social media strategy (for screen reading)
Towards a UN social media strategy (for screen reading)
Towards a UN social media strategy (for screen reading)
Towards a UN social media strategy (for screen reading)
Towards a UN social media strategy (for screen reading)
Towards a UN social media strategy (for screen reading)
Towards a UN social media strategy (for screen reading)
Towards a UN social media strategy (for screen reading)
Towards a UN social media strategy (for screen reading)
Towards a UN social media strategy (for screen reading)
Towards a UN social media strategy (for screen reading)
Towards a UN social media strategy (for screen reading)
Towards a UN social media strategy (for screen reading)
Towards a UN social media strategy (for screen reading)
Towards a UN social media strategy (for screen reading)
Towards a UN social media strategy (for screen reading)
Towards a UN social media strategy (for screen reading)
Towards a UN social media strategy (for screen reading)
Towards a UN social media strategy (for screen reading)
Towards a UN social media strategy (for screen reading)
Towards a UN social media strategy (for screen reading)
Towards a UN social media strategy (for screen reading)
Towards a UN social media strategy (for screen reading)
Towards a UN social media strategy (for screen reading)
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

Towards a UN social media strategy (for screen reading)

3,131 views

Published on

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

Published in: Business
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total views
3,131
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
598
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
21
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Towards a UN social media strategy (for screen reading)

  1. 1. 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
  2. 2. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mTable of Contents1. Executive summary ......................................................................................... 52. Background and methodology ........................................................................... 83. Audience ........................................................................................................ 9 3.1. Who do we hope to engage with in social media? ....................................... 9 3.2. How can we segment this group of people? ............................................... 9 3.3. What do audiences want or expect from the UN in social media? ................ 10 3.4. Where do people get information about the UN? ...................................... 11 3.5. What social platforms do they use? ........................................................ 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
  3. 3. 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
  4. 4. 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 (blogs.un.org) ................................................................. 76 e) Pinterest ................................................................................................... 77L. Tools for brand accounts workflow................................................................... 78M. How to deal with multilingual and multinational brands on Facebook ................... 80 4
  5. 5. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m1. Executive summaryThere is currently no social media strategy for the United Nations. 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
  6. 6. 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
  7. 7. 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
  8. 8. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m2. Background and methodologyThis attempt to write a draft strategy was inspired by a need to rethink the UN’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
  9. 9. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_m3. Audience 3.1. Who do we hope to engage with in social media?The UN can reasonably claim to serve everyone on earth. As the Department 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 http://www.itu.int/ITU-D/ict/statistics/material/pdf/2011%20Statistical%20highlights_June_2012.pdf2 http://blog.comscore.com/2012/01/its_a_social_world.html Note that they claim thatthis means 1.2bn use social networking sites – clearly estimating a vastly smallerinternet user population than ITU.3 http://www.foliomag.com/2011/report-98-percent-u-s-online-population-uses-social-networks 9
  10. 10. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_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
  11. 11. 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 un.org 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 un.org go on to careers.un.org or inspira.un.org. Six percent of visitors go on to unstats.un.org. Two-thirds go on to other sub-domains.Visitors to the website represent 0.04% of internet users (with spikes as high as0.08%). nytimes.com, for comparison, is around 1%. 11
  12. 12. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mThe average user of un.org views 3.5 pages (for comparison, this is slightlyhigher than nytimes.com) and spends an average of 3.5 minutes on the site.Relative to the general population, visitors to un.org are more likely to 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 http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/un.org6 http://stats.grok.se/en/top 12
  13. 13. 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 athttp://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Presentations_Whitepapers/2011/it_is_a_social_world_top_10_need-to-knows_about_social_networking 13
  14. 14. 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):http://journal.lib.uoguelph.ca/index.php/perj/article/view/826/135810 Their ‘official’ nature is not given in the Charter, but in Rule 51 of the Rules ofProcedure for the General Assembly. It is not immediately clear why the Secretariat hasto follow this rule in non-GA related work.11 https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/xx.html 14
  15. 15. 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:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_English-speaking_population13 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. Socialbakers.com (Aug 2012) 15
  16. 16. 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
  17. 17. 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, (olpc.org) and the more important infrastructure stuff with ITU,Internet Foundation etc.16 ITU, 2011.17 http://www.globaltelecomsbusiness.com/pdf/40u40_conway.pdf18 http://www.gsma.com/newsroom/gsma-research-demonstrates-that-mobile-industry-is-creating-a-connected-economy/ 17
  18. 18. 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
  19. 19. 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
  20. 20. 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 http://www.un.org/sg/priorities/sg_agenda_2012.pdf21 Ibid. point 2, page 6. 20
  21. 21. 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
  22. 22. 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 http://www.un.org/en/ga/coi/about/bg.shtml [emphasis added]25 E.g. Africaisacountry blog, Calestous Juma, the Ushahidi people, etc., and all theemerging social media leaders in North Africa. 22
  23. 23. 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
  24. 24. 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 http://www.un.org/en/hq/dpi/about.shtml27 Modified to become active tense. 24
  25. 25. 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 http://iseek.un.org/LibraryDocuments/1940-201102171145134231334.pdf (this maynot be public information? But it should be.)29 UN Department of Public Information, 2012 Communications Priorities. Dec 15, 2011. 25
  26. 26. 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 http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2010/04/15/framework-and-matrix-the-five-ways-companies-organize-for-social-business/ 26
  27. 27. 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
  28. 28. 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
  29. 29. 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
  30. 30. 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
  31. 31. 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
  32. 32. 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
  33. 33. 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
  34. 34. 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
  35. 35. 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
  36. 36. 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
  37. 37. 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
  38. 38. 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
  39. 39. 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
  40. 40. 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
  41. 41. 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
  42. 42. 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
  43. 43. 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
  44. 44. Twitter Facebook Tumblr blogs.un.org 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
  45. 45. Towards a UN social media strategy Joe Mitchell @j0e_mUltimateresponsibility /signoff 45
  46. 46. 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
  47. 47. 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
  48. 48. 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
  49. 49. 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

×