Just this week I was reminded that those who run social media accounts for an organisation need extra sets of skills.
To make something work well you need to put body and soul into it. You expose yourself online much more than you do offline. It can be 10 o’clock at night and you are dipping in to respond to a query.
There’s an excellent post on comms2point0 by Emily Taylor on how to deal with criticism on behalf of an organisation. That’s when people get angry about a project that isn’t going down well or some other aspect of what your employer is doing. It’s a great post. You can read it here.
But in an off-line conversation, I was also reminded that a thick skin is also something you need. It’ssomething I’ve blogged about before.
There are anecdotes of unpleasant trolling of staff. Thankfully, that’s rare.
But I’m struck by a dedicated local government officer who looks after a corporate account who told me: “I don’t look at Twitter in the evening now. I have enough of people telling me I’m an idiot between 9 and 5.”
There’s some excellent advice on staying positive online if you are getting cheesed off with your friends’ perfect baby pictures when you are, say, a new parent. Use the off switch. Unfriend. But when you are running a corporate account it’s not so easy.
For five years I ran a corporate Twitter account and was responsible for the training of more than 60 others.
Advice for people who speak online for an organisation
What advice did I give above and beyond the points made in Lucy’s post?
Don’t take it personally.
Count to 10 before replying.
Never argue with an idiot. They bring you down to their level and to a passer-by it’s just two idiots arguing.
Talk to a colleague or a friend if you feel things are getting on top of you. Blow off steam.
Ask – or maybe even let – a colleague to step in and take over for a while.
If you feel it becoming an issue talk to someone and make your line manager aware. Stress is a workplace issue and your employer has a duty to you. Asking for help isn’t being weak it’s being strong.
Have set hours when you will deal with stuff and time when you won’t. You are not on 24/7.
You’re not alone.
Picture credit: Ben Tesch / Flickr / https://flic.kr/p/4LEz6H