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Social media is a good way to have conversations. Those conversations can be with health and care staff, suppliers, patients and other people we work with.
That’s why we manage our corporate social media accounts carefully and try to add value to every interaction.
Social media guidance
You can help share messages
It may be our social media experts’ job to talk officially about the work we’re doing, but everyone working at NHS Digital can help by sharing these messages more widely with their networks. Talking online about what we do at NHS Digital helps spread the word further about the great work going on.
How to contribute
It can be confusing to know how best to contribute on social media. By identifying yourself as a staff member, what we say and do reflects on our organisation. This guidance sets out how to use social media to help promote the work we do and how best to contribute to conversations about NHS Digital.
The guidance applies to everyone who works at NHS Digital, whether you're full or part-time, permanent, temporary, freelance or a contractor. It covers talking about work from a personal or professional social media account, using a social media account that belongs to a programme or team and sharing or commenting on something from the main NHS Digital social media accounts. It applies to all social media, regardless of whether we have an official account.
Using social media is not a science and most issues can be avoided by using basic common sense. A good overarching rule-of-thumb to keep in mind is to be genuine and use best judgement to add value to conversations.
Social media examples
Social media principles
In your profile, be honest and clear about who you work for, your role, what you're interested in and reflect your personality. If you do enter into conversations in a professional capacity, do identify yourself as working for NHS Digital and make clear that all views expressed are your own and do not reflect the view of the organisation.
Be aware that your activity on social media can be traced back to you and take responsibility for protecting your security online.
Be friendly and approachable
Try to make your messages friendly. Be professional but be human - we know most people do not like ‘corporate speak’, so use the first person (‘I’) and get involved in the conversations. It's fine to express your personal opinions, as long as it’s obvious that’s what they are, but only say things that you would in a crowded room.
Be accurate and honest
Be mindful of spelling and grammar. We aspire to accurate, high quality content.
It’s fine to say ‘I do not know’ if something is not your area of expertise. You can always tag someone in who may know and can help. That way you’re opening up the conversation to others. Far better to be clear and check with an expert than to share wrong information.
Participate, do not dictate
Social media is about having conversations to build relationships. The most important thing is that NHS Digital is part of those conversations. So, you can really help by trying to add something useful, valuable or helpful to every interaction.
Do not name NHS Digital in your handle
Using NHS Digital in your handle, for example, @JohnSmithNHSDIgital will give the wrong impression that you are acting on behalf of the organisation.
Do not say anything you would not say in a crowded room
Do not swear, use aggressive or antagonistic language or get political. Use your judgement. Use common sense and do not post anything that could be seen as damaging to NHS Digital’s reputation.
Never comment on anything related to legal matters
If you’re not sure if something’s about a legal issue, it’s best not to comment at all.
Do not get involved during a crisis
During major incidents it’s better to have just one, official source of news and information. Be mindful of what you say externally on any social networking sites as it can easily be picked up by the media. Look to internal channels such as the intranet or all staff emails for guidance during such times.
When sharing content, make sure you credit the original source
It's fine to link to external content, especially if it's of value to the conversation but do make sure you credit the correct source. If you're not sure of the original source, at least tag the person you received it from.
Admit your mistakes
Mistakes happen and that’s OK. The best thing to do when these occur is to admit it, apologise and correct it. Do not delete the content in the hope it will go away or pretend you’re in the right.
We all sometimes get into uncomfortable conversations. Before responding, it's always a good idea to take a moment to consider your response. Show it to a colleague if you’d like a second pair of eyes.
Talk amongst yourselves
Be aware of our key corporate messages and try not to contradict these.
Quality over quantity
You do not need to post every day to add a valuable voice to our messaging. It’s a conversation, not an obligation.