QPS Media: Social Media Case Study

Post by: Kim Stephens

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kingbob86/5342341008/sizes/l/in/photostream/

The QPS Media in Australia did an amazing job with social media during the flooding and cyclone events earlier this year. I was so impressed with their use of the medium that I documented their efforts in this presentation. They have just completed a case study of the experience and have compiled this report. Their major findings and lessons learned amplify some of the messages the #SMEM community  here in the U.S. have been stating for a while and transcend national boundaries. Here are their 7 major lessons in quotations and I have added a bit of commentary of my own:

1. If you build it, they will come. The number of “likes” on their facebook page skyrocketed as the crisis worsened. “If you are not doing social media, do it now. If you wait until it is needed it will be too late.”

2. Social media is “social”–people expect interaction: “Do not use social media solely to push out information. Use it to receive feedback and involve your online community.”

3. The need for speed is essential:  “Rethink clearance processes. Trust your staff to release information.”

4. “Add a social media expert to your team. While there should be shared responsibility for uploading information and moderating social media sites, expert technical advice and trouble-shooting will be necessary from someone with an IT background.”

5. “Ensure that information is accessible. A PDF is not the most accessible way to deliver information. Machine-readable information such as geocoding allows the information to be more accessible and usable for others.”

6. “Do not treat social media as something special or separate from normal work processes. It should be integrated as standard practice.”

7. Use the sites that are available to everyone. “Established social media sites are free and robust which can handle volumes of traffic much larger than agency websites .”

The report also gives a great overview of the “why” of social media. These bullets are direct quotes from the report:

  • It is immediate and allowed Police Media to proactively push out large volumes of information to large numbers of people ensuring there was no vacuum of official information;
  • The QPS Facebook page became the trusted, authoritative hub for the dissemination of information and facts for the community and media;
  • Large amounts of specific information could be directed straight to communities without them having to rely on mainstream media coverage to access relevant details;
  • The QPS quickly killed rumour and misreporting before it became “fact” in the mainstream media, mainly through the #mythbuster hashtag;
  • It provides access to immediate feedback and information from the public at scenes;
  • The mainstream media embraced it and found it to be a valuable and immediate source of information;
  • It provided situational awareness for QPS members in disaster-affected locations who otherwise had no means of communications.

4 responses to “QPS Media: Social Media Case Study

  1. Excellent summary. Here’s a story from the same time frame about an emergency management organization who didn’t do such a great job: http://www.thewesterner.com.au/Pages/article.aspx?ID=3624

    Some organizations will only adopt social media when their constituents demand it, probably after a similar failure. — ctm

  2. Pingback: EPI and Social Media | Blog | The Good and the Bad in Social Media for EPI

  3. nice article 😀 .. thanks for sharing 😛

  4. Pingback: The Top 25 SMEM (by Patrice Cloutier) | Walking the Social Media Beat

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