During Monday and Tuesday of this week I was in beautiful Charlotte, North Carolina for the Social Media 4 Responders Conference (#SM4R on Twitter). The conference attracted responders from multiple disciplines, not just EMS, which I think gave me a bigger picture idea of where EVERYONE is in their adoption of Social Media.
One of the great things about this conference in particular was that it fostered discussion both during sessions and inbetween. Interestingly enough, the biggest issue for the EMS agencies seemed to be knowing where to start because unlike most of their counterparts there are the complications of HIPAA to contend with. Attending the conference was a great way for these agencies to begin and I think the discussions we had definitely helped them get on the right path, but there are things an agency can do even before that which will help them.
- Define A Goal: Whether it be to improve public relations, provide public education, or even lighten the load from the media on your PIO staff every agency needs to have a goal set
- Designate A Team: While most agencies start out with the one man Social Media Guru, to be truly effective it is going to take a team. The TSA is a great example of a Social Media Team in action
- Develop A Policy: Policy creation is something that we can talk about for days. It’s important to remember that you want the policy to give focus to your goal, outline the team and their responsibilities, as well as those of your providers who may be creating Social Media independently from the organization. Of course, before jumping off into totalitarian control freak mode, you need to make sure the policy is enforceable
For more information on Social Media Policies, you can check out PIO Social Media Training for more information and there is even a Social Media Policy Guide For First Responder Agencies.