The secrets of social media management? Mind the gap


It’s customary for social media managers to share a last hurrah post when changing roles. I’m off to an exciting new challenge at Service NSW so this is that post about what I’ve learned and loved doing with Transport for NSW. I’ve been working with passionate leaders who put the customer first. These same people trusted me when I became Transport’s first social media manager.

Here’s some of what we achieved along the way.

Get everyone to agree on the framework.
Social media managers must earn trust. In my role at Transport, we grew from six social platforms to close to 40 in three years. I had support for a federated management model for social where policies and security are centralised but the content production and distribution are in the hands of the subject matter experts. As a team, we became more responsive to customers.

Trust your online community and mind the gap.
Understanding how people consume news helps you produce better social media content. It’s critical to listen to online communities because that’s how you narrow that gap between what the organisation wants to say and what people really want to hear. Create more relevant, shareable and useful content. Leading social media for the Your Ferry competition was a career highlight.

Update your video strategy.
I campaigned to introduce an inhouse content producer and committed to more video capability across the organisation. Because more people are watching more video on mobile phones, the rules have been rewritten: no opening tiles, include shorter shots in the first three seconds, fewer talking heads, bold copy on screen, and the key message goes first- not last.

Welcome transactions on social media.
I am so proud of the Twitter offering for public transport customers. Today, they can ask questions and get help in real time with a few taps of the mobile keyboard. The rapid growth of direct messaging and chat tools will change the game for customer service. It’s great to see Transport is committed to some exciting things in the social media transaction space.

John Kerrison presents for Transport
Master of Ceremonies at the Transport Awards 2016

It was a tough decision to leave Transport for NSW in the midst of such growth but I’m also excited by my next steps.  Possibly the greatest thing I take away from my time at Transport is a network of friends and mentors. Thank you to my immediate team for teaching me so much of what I claim to know! It’s been a fun ride; one that was guided by our customers each and every time.

1 comment

  • John it must be a hard time, but that doesn’t change the facts. Weve had a culture war in Sydney and the “jocks” won. Artists,scientists & minorities livelihoods were discarded our views ignored and this is the consequences we left to feed our families, we were shunned in organisations such as yours, absolutely. The city establishment has had absolutely no idea of the problems it is facing and now how to deal with them, the recent fiasco is proof of that. How could that have gotten through the filters? Its incomprehensibly stupid by every local and global standard there is. Yes tourism will suffer, yes innovation will suffer, Sydney now has a bad reputation good minds will not come and stay for tourism or work, I live overseas yes all comments akin. Thats the truth. LISTEN! We’ve gone, we could of told you the harms that releasing such tripe would cause, But there was no place in your organisations or similar for us. None, Inclusiveness was disregarded and you all must lie in the bed you made. H.R. Thats ” the gap”. Would of saved your job. Enjoy the choc tops & don’t stay up too late mate x

By John Kerrison