Five lessons from a decade in ‘boring’ social media

When I tell people I work in social media, a lot of people get excited thinking I am an influencer. Then I tell them that I work in ‘boring’ social media - with politicians, government departments, industry organisations and councils. At that point things either go one of two ways. They either start ranting about politicians, or they ask, “How the hell did you get into that?”

Recently I got a few smirks and plenty of nods of recognition from other members of the boring social media crowd as one of the speakers at Brolly’s Beer Series Brisbane event. Befitting an event held in a brewery, I told a lengthy tale about being a one-time Premier of Queensland on social media and the lessons I learned the hard way.

Here are the lessons, minus the juicy stories and the glimpses into the world of political social media. If you want to hear those, we’ll have to meet again at Soapbox Beer. (Be sure to try the Opinionator.)


 1. Engagement is good… until it’s not

  • Fill the void or someone else will. If you don’t talk about the topic people are interested in, they will fill the gap and your view will be left out.

  • Approvals processes can kill engagement. Have your responses approved in advance.

  • Watch your tone. Avoid the word actually, sarcasm and the clap back.

2.  Don’t get too comfortable

  • Set and stick to limits on the hours you manage a page or community. 

  • Always stay on script. Remember it is the brand you are representing, not yourself. 

  • If in doubt, run your response by someone else. Preferably a level-headed, sensible person without a temper or emotional investment.

3. The news cycle moves on… social media won’t

  • You will have to talk about what your audience wants to talk about. Don’t expect social media to just move on, because you want it to. 

  • Social media conversations can require you to look at an issue from every conceivable angle. This is incredibly useful... and annoying.

  • All that effort can actually produce good outcomes. Don’t get disheartened.

4. Use social media as your crystal ball

  • Be cynical about complaints.

  • Do the other Courier Mail test. Would the media be interested in this story? How will your response look?

  • Ensure your superiors will listen to you and social media. Promote the importance of social media listening in your organisation.

5. You do need to keep records

  • Social media coordinators have extraordinary power and access. Make sure you use your powers for good. 

  • Look out for yourself. Keeping good records means you can justify your decisions and actions. This can save your job and your organisation.

  • Use the technology available to you. Your job is hard enough. Don’t make it harder than it has to be.


Cinc Social Media director Kate Wilson regularly presents social media training sessions, catering for small to large groups and different skill levels. She has also spoken about social media trends and techniques at a number of events across Brisbane.

Contact Kate to organise a social media training session or a speaking engagement.