Amalia López Acera is a journalist and expert in Social Networks and Personal Branding in public administrations. She has received several awards and recognitions for her work and gives lectures and training throughout Spain. She defends to coat and sword the incorporation of social networks in public administration, an adaptation that has already arrived …
You are a precursor of the change in public administration. How did this push come from you?
Actually, the change in public administrations has started many years ago, but perhaps in my case when trying to incorporate social networks into public administrations has been more innovative. Luckily, there are many people in different areas of public administration who are immersed in innovation processes and whose work is already becoming visible to citizens.
What are spanish public administrations doing to adapt to changes in the digital world?
Apart from those to whom they are obliged by law as everything related to electronic administration, we can find from public administrations that are at the forefront in the incorporation of new technologies as others that seem not to have evolved in the last 20 years. It is curious that, in most cases, it does not depend as much on the economic and human resources as on the mentality of the people who work in these public administrations.
Do you think that the websites of the spanish public administrations offer value to the user?
The web pages of public administrations are usually a reflection of how those same public administrations are and so we can find everything right now. It is important to be aware that the website has become the main portal for access to citizens’ administration and, therefore, we should take care of it as it deserves. It is not just about having a website, it is about that the content of that website is updated, that it is responsive to be able to be viewed through mobile devices and, above all, the user experience should be taken into account. That is, the web is designed so that citizens can easily access the content and that forces us to think about “them” more than us.
And in the case of european administrations, how have they adapted to this new moment in which we live?
In general, they are doing very well, since the main problem that the European institutions had was the physical and emotional distance with respect to the citizens, for what they have found on the internet, the web pages and the social networks the ideal vehicle to be able to be closer to the citizens. In addition, having to adapt its contents so that they are accessible by people of different nationalities with their own peculiarities has led to the finding of successful formats and strategies that could be used by other public administrations.
How can a public administration promote the relationship and interaction with citizens through social networks?
Making an active listening. That is, the social networks of public administrations are not a bulletin board to simply publish content. Social networks are primarily a channel of communication to know what people think and suggest. In order to foster this relationship, what needs to be done is to listen and, above all, to be willing to respond.
Are social networks given the importance they have?
We still see social networks as an element of fun and entertainment and not as a communication channel that brings us closer to citizens. Likewise, social networks are becoming a tool of work, although many are still unaware of the professional use that can be made of social networks. It is the same as if we think that the internet is just for entertainment if it is true that it has a playful part, but it is also true that it is a work tool.
Amalia López Acera: “The people in charge of the management of social networks have to have training in communication and journalism, as well as a specialization in the tools of social network and digital marketing management”
What profile of a person should the management of social networks carry out in public administrations?
The first thing is to be clear that knowing how to publish on social networks does not mean knowing how to manage social networks and doing it, in a professional way. When talking about social networks we are basically talking about communication and, therefore, the people in charge of the management of social networks have to have training in communication and journalism, as well as a specialization in the tools of social network and digital marketing management. To this must be added another series of skills or abilities such as the ability to generate empathy, patience and self-control, creativity ….
What steps does an administration have to take to correctly implement social networks?
I always recommend that, before opening profiles in social networks, we have to be clear about what we want to be in social networks, that is, what is our objective and, based on it, design a strategy that takes into account the resources that we have, the actions we are going to develop and, above all, how we want this presence in social networks to be.
How do you imagine the public administration of the future?
I imagine a more agile, simple and close administration where internet, social networks, apps, videoconferences or WhatsApp will allow us, although many do not believe in it, to be closer than ever to our citizens.