Be human. Always. There is something beautifully human about the ambulance service and their approach to social media.
The corporate account is fine. But increasingly ambulance services are also give access to staff with their own official accounts.
It’s surprising how rare this approach still is but there is something about it that just works.
What does the approach of staff accounts say? It says that they work for an organisation that employs real people and trusts them. It shows them what paramedics are doing day-to-day. It shows that they are forward looking organisation. There’s no need for obvious calls to action with this approach. Being human is quite enough. If there are occasions when a vital message needs to get out, do it. But don’t be driven by it.
West Midlands Ambulance Service are doing brilliantly at allowing staff to be human on their own corporate accounts. There is no sense of them rocking up at an incident and thinking smartphone first. Whatever is posted has a feel that it is done in downtime and with regard to personal data.
This is a great example. Lottie Stubbs is a paramedic in the West Midlands with more than 6,000 followers. She talks about what she does day to day but also posts advice.
The roads are very slippery!#Remember to leave greater stopping distances and slow down!
If you wipers are on your headlights should be too!
— Lottie Stubbs (@WMASLStubbs) July 29, 2018
Staff can also feature on video through the corporate account.
Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart stops pumping blood around the body. If a defibrillator isn’t immediately available, performing chest compressions and CPR could help to save someone’s life before medics arrive.
Lynsey from our team shows how to do chest compressions. pic.twitter.com/fivF0F4OIf
— London Ambulance (@Ldn_Ambulance) August 1, 2018
But rather than just think of the key message they also show a human side, too. That’s fine. In fact, that’s to be encouraged.
Morning! It’s early, it’s grey, it’s wet… But student paramedic Andy and I are still smiling and ready for a day of 999 calls. Andy is just back on the road after a couple of months of university training; hopefully it’s just like riding a bike! #paramedic #ambulance #mentor pic.twitter.com/rv8dZrsoPJ
— Rob Moore (@wmasrobmoore) August 12, 2018
And in an emergency, the channel becomes a place where the right information can be published at the right time.
NWAS has taken 59 casualties from the Manchester Arena incident to various hospitals & treated a number of walking wounded on scene
— North West Ambulance Service (@NWAmbulance) May 23, 2017
Pages are the place where ambulance services are on Facebook. But rather than a receptacle for the latest press release the better services use Facebook as its own thing. A quiz, for example, shows some of the work they are doing.
Or behind the scenes glimpses. Here, a training exercise that looks to replicate a bloody incident.
The approach is more corporate. The corporate account follows a handful of frontline ambulance crew with private accounts. But they do include real people, too, as here from Israel, through hashtags such as #paramediclife.
A post shared by shakedi27 (@shakedi27) on
But also the paramedics as human beings point of view, first.
But there is still a place for the corporate account. This time from a submitted picture of staff in action.
‘’It’s tricky enough to walk over that patch of land nevermind landing a helicopter there!’ We love this shot of our heli in action in Wigan a huge THANK YOU to Matt for sending it through!!! #charity #fundraising #helicopter #airambulance
A post shared by North West Air Ambulance (@nwairambulance) on
What’s not being done so far
So far so good, but it would be great to see frontline staff using Instagram stories and Snapchat. It’s hard to see how live broadcasts would work routinely at the frontline in a changing environment.
But as the popularity of 999-themed TV shows demonstrate, there is a huge interest in the sector. Video as a recruitment tool with a Q&A for potential paramedics is a shoo-in.