· Determine your agency’s social-media structure. Agencies often debate who should control their Twitter and Facebook accounts, apps and other tools. If your agency is new to social media, the first decision is to decide if it should be centralized or decentralized. There are tradeoffs for both, and these decisions will affect how to move forward. Factors to consider include the size of your agency, diversity of missions, resources, expertise and geographic location of offices. One strategy for overcoming tensions might be to have a centralized Web site or app and encourage contributions from various employees. The Department of Energy solicits volunteers from across the agency to participate in video chats, enabling scientists to share their expertise without the worry over social-media management.
· Get agency senior leadership interested. Top leadership buy-in is important for allowing the freedom to innovate and for establishing a culture of acceptance. Some senior leaders “get” social media, but others may not. The fact that FEMA administrator Craig Fugate was active on Twitter enabled social-media pioneers at the agency to advance widespread use within FEMA quickly. Several approaches can help — demystify the tool, give leaders a stake in its success, and explain the benefits by using numbers and anecdotes.