Social Media for European Public Affairs? | December 8th, 2009 - 17 h 15 min

In which ways concretely social media can be applied to European Public Affairs? What are their added value? Are they even fitted for social media?

What are social media?

Social media designed to be disseminated through social interaction, created using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Social media are increasingly integrating integrated into eMarketing strategy to promote online a brand, product or service using SMO (Social Media Optimization), a specific branch of Social Media Marketing (SMM).

Are social media fitted for European affairs?

Though social media offer many opportunities for organizations  to increase their visibility, are they fitted for European affairs? I would present six practical examples to convince you that it is actually the case.

1. Blogs

A corporate blog is recognized to be a major communication channel tool either to manage internal communication or develop external communication. Especially in the context of the development of en EU blogosphere. Indeed, during the last five years, EU blogs have been progressively emerging. Being relatively fragmented in the beginning, the European blogosphere tends now to grow in importance and influence. It has now become very important not only to monitor EU blogs but also to engage with them. Obviously, the best way is to already have a blog.

2.Twitter accounts

Twitter is a free social-networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read messages known as tweets. Twitter accounts have been developing very fast during the last year. Surprisingly, it has also been adopted quite easily by European stakeholders.

Having a Twitter brings many advantages:

  • Monitoring: The very nature of Twitter makes it an excellent tool to monitor the activity of key stakeholders (e.g. What does think the communication manager of the industry federation)?
  • Social-networking:  Twitter allows you to engage into discussions very targeted to your interests and therefore get in touch with users that have similar interests.
  • Knowledge management: One of the great thing with Twitter is that it allows you to share valuable resources and thus potentially discover a lot of things in your field of interes.

3. Facebook pages

Is Facebook fitted for European affairs? I would say it depends of the nature of the organization and the cause which is advocated. Obviously, for a NGO, it can be an excellent tool to organize an event or launch a cause. Generally speaking, blogs, wikis and social-networking platforms generate new opportunities to implement cost-effectively online grassroots campaigns and raise awareness about specific issues for NGOs. Regarding and industry federation, the ROI (return on investment) is not obvious! However, for EU institutions, it can be quite effective. See the European Parliament online campaign for the 2009 European elections.

4. LinkedIn groups

In general, LinkedIn offers many opportunities to recruit high profile candidates in European affairs. More important, the possibility to create, animate and promote LinkedIn professional groups offers many opportunities among which the possibility to manage a small community of experts on a specific issue. For industry federations which often have to deal with national members, it can also be an excellent internal communication tool.

5. YouTube videos

According to ComScore, video search on YouTube accounted for a quarter of all Google search queries 2008. More important, it also suggested that YouTube achieves a greater level of search traffic than Yahoo. If you were to consider YouTube’s integrated search a regular search engine, you would have to hand Google the top two spots for search engine traffic. As well as you have to continuously try to improve your search engine rankings on your key issues, you should never underestimate the great potential of YouTube.

6. Wikipedia articles

Have you noticed that Wikipedia articles, the worldwide online free encyclopedia built collaboratively, have excellent search engine rankings? That’s why, it is very important not only to monitor Wikipedia articles linked to your issues but also to eventually edit them accordingly to your interest. However, beware to always respect Wikipedia guidelines if you don’t want to be kicked out.