Will your organization be there?
By Rob Reardon
We are living in a time where people are looking to your organizations for information. If you are not on social media there is no better time than now to engage. The events of the world right now are scary and people need trusted information from your organization. They need to know you are doing everything you can to keep them safe and you are able to respond to and handle their emergency. If you are a public safety agency, a city or town, health department and this list goes on you need to get ahead of issues. You need to be proactive and not reactionary. When you are at a fire you are always thinking ahead of your immediate needs and it should be no different for your social media posts.
Right or wrong there is incredible distrust of the media in the world today. Two different media outlets can report on the same exact story in totally different lights. This is called perception or can also be bias. Three people can all witness the same event and if you were to take them in different rooms to tell their story none would be the same. This is why your organization needs to step up and tell YOUR story! You are an expert in your field and will provide a calm voice to a nervous society. You are able to give sound advice for what residents should prepare for. You have no ulterior motives for ratings or political agendas. Your sole motivation should be to get factual, educated information out in a timely manner to your customers.
Years ago, newspapers and television stations were considered the trusted sources to the American people. Now many question the sources of the medias info and political motives behind their stories. When news break millions of people are turning to social media for their info. The question is will your organization be there as a voice of reason? You need to let the world know you are prepared and ready to respond. You are a trusted source and your information is now more important than ever.
With the major headlines we are seeing constantly on the news what your customers are missing is the local element. We are seeing White House pressers announcing national emergencies, Global pandemic info but how about what your department is doing. It’s important to show your customers that their firefighters are prepared for what could come. They need to know you are trained and will respond when needed. They need to know there are local resources available if needed. They need information from you to debunk trolling on the local Facebook town pages.
It is important that you keep all your political and personal feelings out of your social media posts. This is not easy as we all have bias, prejudices and opinions that we must work hard to keep out of our posts. As soon as we interject any of these into our posts we will instantly lose credibility.
Your followers are looking for info. They are looking for guidance. Who better than you to do that?
Rob Reardon has been in the fire service for over 20 years. Currently he is a Deputy Chief at the Duxbury Fire Department in Massachusetts where he has worked for the last 19 years. Deputy Reardon is an EFO and CFO graduate. He is the Public Information Officer (PIO) for the Duxbury Fire Department, the Plymouth County Technical Rescue team and the Southeastern Mass Technical Rescue Team. Prior to working at DXFD, Deputy Reardon worked for ten years in the media for television stations and major newspapers as an award-winning photographer. His photographs have been used on the covers of many national magazines, newspapers, books, calendars, trade publications as well as used worldwide on TV news. Reardon will be teaching Social Media for Today’s Fire Service at FDIC in Indianapolis in 2021 and has taught Social Media nationally. He teaches how to be successful through social media for both private and public sector. You can follow him on twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Linked in @reardonphotos or visit his website www.robreardon.com