To be honest for now we only spoke via Facebook and on the phone. She's a social media country manager in Tallinn both for European Commission Representation and for European Parliament Information Office. It's a pilot project called Share Europe Online.
When part of my job is writing news stories for EP's webpage and tweet @Europarl_ET in Brussels she for example takes care of EP's and Commission's local Facebook accounts in Tallinn. And we follow each other's work.
This means that my content written in Brussels is also spread via EP's Information Office FB account in Tallinn. Plus we discuss the specifics of Estonian social media users and the steps towards closer online dialogue. Not to mention that we know each other already from the past.
So here you have a list of first thoughts on social media country managerism:
- First (more conservative) steps to get to know the audience
- Followers: are they totally random people? Which is a common factor, is it EU or Facebook?
- Not talking about “perfect day” but about what actually matters and happens
- Doing that in a clear, sensible & domestic language
- Using EU related local media coverage (for building an online debate)
- Discuss what people discuss (don't follow your six months old media plan)
- Sharing tips how to increase the number of followers and how to use a smooth wording for an online-post
- Material cross-usage (EU institutions' online accounts & news feed)
- Go debate your colleagues
- Being on the ground means in depth knowledge about local developments
Local correspondents working for news agencies and global newspapers used to live on the spot with an obligation to give a comprehensive overview and background when the crisis hit. This was the trend in bipolar world which collapsed in the beginning of 90s.
These correspondence points vanished because of the multipolar world and because of the spending cuts. Not to mention online media. Now journalists are sent on the ground if something happens and they call it parachute journalism. But of course they don't have anymore that background knowledge of the local situation.
But here comes the question. Will social media country managers become a new species of local correspondence? For knowing the sentiment you have to dig into the society.
And next time in Tallinn I'll pay a visit to the EU's local office, on ground observation I'd say. EU in your capital might already have a social media country manager as well. Engage.