Recruitment & Retention Social Media Considerations

We have been discussing the expanded use of social media techniques to recruit and retain fire and EMS personnel, but with any social media platform, there are a number of benefits and challenges and it is important to know them as you select a media platform for your efforts.

This starts with understanding why you need an official social media presence regardless of the size or location of your organization. There are a number of reasons to have this on-line presence that includes the following.

The facilitating of improved open communication with your community, and building your credibility, reputation and base of contacts.
Your members can post news, engage the public with questions to respond to, and ask them if they will join, what might engage them to join, etc.
Your organization can broaden it visibility with the business community and enhance their role in your recruitment, retention and operations.
You can target a broader audience, even neighboring organizations, possibly embracing regionalization of recruitment, retention and operations.
Expanding your opportunity to engage the public and business community for non-recruitment/retention efforts such as public events, fundraising and fire/injury prevention programming.

There are some challenges as well, starting with security, legal liability and those who are not fans of your organization. Don’t be frightened or use this as an excuse. Key to the challenges include the following.

Making sure that security is in place on the site to limit fraud, spam and virus attacks.
Making sure there is monitoring to limit data and identity theft or compromise.
Making sure members do not use the site to distribute illegal, objectionable, offensive materials.

Knowing these values and challenges will help you understand the effectiveness of having on on-line presence and what to include

* Photo courtesy of 67fire.com