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Hosted by WeEOLC using #WeEOLCThis chat is guest hosted by @stwilfridstweet @SpeightBecky @dabarclay64 @lizsil12 @cstwomey @WhRhiannon
When I joined St Wilfrid’s Hospice, Eastbourne in May 2016 we were doing a lot of things right on social media.
We had great engagement, a fun and compassionate brand voice and excellent stories about a diverse group of people. What we didn’t have was much variety in our voices.
- We had one voice.
- Our brand voice.
- This brand voice was kind, compassionate, understanding and ‘everyone’s friend’.
- But it was still just one voice. One voice in an organisation of 200 staff and 600+ volunteers.
- One voice in a catchment area of 235,000 people. It wouldn’t work to just speak in one voice any longer for a variety of reasons.
Staff were worried that their professional skill was lost in all the caring adjectives and fluffy stories. Volunteers concerned that their voices weren’t heard so readily. Senior staff distressed that so much hard work and research was virtually unknown and unpublished outside of the walls of St Wilfrid’s. Plus, we had (and still have) a very small communications team of two people – there was too much going on and we just couldn’t cover it all with the required degree of expertise.
So we changed all that.
We made it our mission to make everyone in our organisation a communicator – an authority on the area they worked in and a spokesperson for the organisation as a whole.
Our new CEO, David Scott-Ralphs (@scottralphs), let the comms team take the new mission to many departments around the hospice; retail, leadership, nursing, volunteering and fundraising. We didn’t want to overwhelm people, so we focused on training them – how to take photos, tagging other experts in their fields, what sort of tweets performed well, what a hashtag was – and asking that they concentrate on their areas of expertise.
We set some simple exercises like asking staff to live tweet at conferences and we then passed those tweets around the staff via email as an awareness booster.
We were shocked by the results – in a year our retail team had 1,800 followers on Twitter, our Medical Director (@dabarclay64) was becoming a superstar tweeter with every video of hospice life he shared and we always had great content coming out from dozens of different perspectives and locations. It meant that our tiny team of two could focus on a few things and leave some of the communications to others on the front line – ensuring that news was relevant, different and not too ‘commsy’.
All of the fears we had about people misrepresenting the hospice values or mission evaporated. We worried that the team could say the wrong thing or be insensitive, yet their compassion and accuracy has been uncanny and taken us to places we never could have reached as a monolithic ‘official’ account. We’re seen as personal on twitter but that’s thanks to our personnel and their idiosyncratic, individual and unique views make us more complete and not a jot less focused.
So if you’re thinking about trying it… be brave.
Train your team to use the platform. Let them speak their minds about stuff that matters. Let them tweet free.
You won’t regret it.
Join us on the 3rd July to explore, discuss and find out more.