If you’re a public sector communicator you’ve got one topic to communicate to your audiences right now and that’s coronavirus.
There’s a more than fair chance that the people you want to speak to are online and on Facebook.
So with that in mind, here’s two approaches that are measurably different from my local corner of the NHS in Dudley.
They break down into the government message v human comms.
The first post is a message to say that volunteers can take a parcel to the bedside of anyone in any of the combined total of 900 beds.
It has an image of volunteers – presumably their own stock shot – and the important information rounded off with an emoji.
There’s no link to drive people to to get the full message and it’s written in accessible Facebook English.
The numbers speak for themselves with almost 90 comments, 400 shares and more than 700 likes.
It shows the human side of the Trust, the fact that real people volunteer there and they’re bothered about patients.
The official line
The second post is the official line.
There’s a link straight to the relevant gov.uk website with timely important information that’s also changing hour-by-hour.
With this post, 35 shares, a single comment and 16 interactions.
Overall, less audience for what is mission critical information.
In no way is there any implied criticism from me for the disparity in the numbers. I don’t know the team there but I’m really impressed with what they are doing. It’s going to involve long hours and its right that they sign post to the right information.
But it got me thinking.
The staff who are working hard for you pic
The impact of the volunteers post reminded me of a post from the Whaley Bridge incident where a reservoir almost failed engulfing hundreds of properties.
Fire, police, local government, NHS, Environment Agency and firefighters worked long shifts to save the dam and the town from disaster.
The community was grateful and a photograph from a smartphone of firefighters working posted to a fire station page attracted an abnormally high number of interactions.
It wasn’t a news picture with an amazing eye-catching image.
It was a picture of people.
It was just a collection of firefighters with some of the pumping equipment, information about their shift and a message of support for the community.
That message of support was reflected back from the community.
I’m thinking that maybe that’s the kind of image that needs to be in the tool box. Public sector people doing their job with a message to the community.
It’s far likelier to cut through to wider Facebook.
I know that people are flat-out busy and collecting images like these takes time. But I’ve a feeling the time invested with be repaid by creating content that’s going to have a far bigger impact and reach.
At a time when there’s a deluge of misinformation that’s really important.