ISM Episode 15: Boston Police Dept.'s Chief of Public Information, Cheryl Fiandaca - Rick Mulready

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ISM Episode 15: Boston Police Dept.’s Chief of Public Information, Cheryl Fiandaca

June 23, 2013

Boston Marathon Social Media

Boston Marathon Social Media

Cheryl Fiandaca, Boston Police Dept.’s Public Information Chief is my guest this week on The Inside Social Media Podcast.

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Has there been a more social media-driven U.S. event in recent memory than the Boston Marathon bombings?

Social media played such a huge role in how the event was communicated, shown around the world and ultimately in the capture of the suspects.

It’s become a case study for brilliant, and some poor, use of social media.

The Boston Police Dept.’s approach to social media that day and the days following was really smart.

They immediately took to their social channels to communicate with the public, led the reporting of the latest news with facts, and listened to and corrected false information that was being spread.

These efforts were all led by Cheryl and her team who orchestrated all the social media and communications around the bombings.

In this episode we go behind-the-scenes with Cheryl and her team that day and she takes us inside the social media strategy of the Boston Police Dept, which was in place long before the bombings.

Cheryl shares a ton of insight that we can all learn from.

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • You’ll go Behind the scenes of the day of the Boston Marathon bombings and how Cheryl and her team used social media to both communicate with the public and also help catch the suspects.
  • We talk about the little known background of how the Boston Police dept was using social media long before the bombings.
  • How Cheryl and her team decide which social channels to be on and how you can model the same strategy.
  • And she also gives her 3 things she would do if she were just starting a social media strategy for an organization

And a whole lot more.

Cheryl’s Social Media Strategy Tips & Boston Marathon Social Media Insights

Social Media Strategy

  • Social media allows you to have a direct channel of communication with your most relevant stakeholders and, of course, your customers.
  • Use social media to communicate with your audience.  Use it to build relationships and trust with your customers.
  • The Boston Police Dept. had a social media structure and strategy in place well before the marathon bombings.
  • Social media is a marathon, not a sprint.  Don’t wait for a sale, an event, a crisis, to jump into social media.  Have a strategy for how social media fits into your overall business objectives.
  • Choose the social channels you’re going to participate in by aligning with what your customers want and how they want to engage with you.
  • Have a goal, know your audience, figure out which social channel aligns best with those things and focus primarily on those platforms.

Importance of Listening

  • Listening in social media is a must.  Don’t just put out information, but also respond and engage with your customers.  Social media should be a dialogue.
  • Use free tools like Hootsuite to listen to what’s being said about you, what people are saying about your competitors and other stakeholders that affect your business.
  • Social media is a responsibility.  Be timely in your engagement.  Use it to inform and educate.

Create Your Own News

  • Take a leadership role in your industry.  Be the one providing the most accurate and quality information when it comes to your industry.  Break your own news!
  • Give people information they can use to better their lives.
  • Be as transparent as possible with your communications and social media.

Cheryl’s 3 Tips…

  • …For an organization just starting out in social media:  get a Twitter account, set up a blog as your primary platform, and engage with video. Video messages can be sent out to people easily.  Can use it for internal people within your business as well as your customers.
  • Social media can be a great way to showcase your employees.

Right-click here to download the MP3 of this episode

Links Discussed During the Show

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Click here for a PDF transcript of this episode

Until next time, keep rockin’ —




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