Learn, Define And Develop The Evolution Of Critical Communications

Who Took Control, Succeeded and Leads at QPSMedia

From, Mike Green,  Kingship Digital

Wednesday, February 20, 2013  

Two years on from the January 2011 Queensland floods, the integration of social media as a crisis management tool has been recognised as crucial to emergency efforts.

But who was behind this effort, who took control, who succeeded, and who has now come to fore as a leader in Social Media?

Before we disclose that a few facts and comments about the Queensland Police Media and Public Affairs Branch (MPAB):

  1. Comprised of 20 cross-trained “traditional” PR staff and 3 in the digital (FB/TW) team
  2. Social Communities:
    • 35,590 Twitter Followers
    • 367,975 Facebook Fans
    • 1,327,109 Youtube views
    • 12 Regional Blogs with 300 to 90,000 concurrent viewers. The Minister launches each new blog
    • Internal wiki’s to support the team and training new staff
    • MPAB deal with up to 9,000 social mentions per day
  3. MPAB staff have no automation and all tools that are used are free services (e.g. hourly listing of activity on social channels)
  4. Decisions are made by the team on the most appropriate Social Channel to share the information through
  5. Social Media interactions don’t have defined processes. STaff adapt procedures to suit each situation as it emerges, and very little commercial resources.
  6. The operation is manned 24x7x365

It all seems quite daunting. So then how did the Queensland Police Service make such a difference to the citizens of Queensland, Australia and the World through their use of Social Media?


Photo Insert: James Kliemt and former Executive Director Kym Charlton

Started with a clear strategy

It all started 3yrs ago when the QPS Media and Public Affairs Branch developed a strategy for Social Media in the Queensland Police Service and partnered with Kym Charlton (who came up with the Hashtag #MythBuster).

With a clear strategy of Public Relations, Communications and Crisis Management, Senior Digital Media Officer James Kliemt and the QPS started to “ease into” the social channels of Facebook and Twitter with a “fail early, fail often” approach.

From a policy perspective the position was taken that policies were already in place and just needed to be applied to these new communication channels. Valuable lessons were learnt in those early months, and equipped the Media and Public Affairs Branch with a solid working knowledge  to tackle the major crisis that befell them in early 2011.

Overcoming the cultural challenge

The biggest challenge for the MPAB was cultural. The traditional myth is that police officers aren’t “Internet or Web2.0 savvy.” His approach to dealing with the cultural change was bottom-up and gaining buy-in from the officers themselves. James quotes of senior officers calling him at 9pm on a Friday to update Social Media. The local blogging success of the South Brisbane Policing district with their “From my Soapbox” theme.

However, what sparked the cultural change was the public and their comments of support and appreciation of the Queensland Police. We’re “getting stuff done and improving the lives of those in the community.”

Leadership support

There is a leadership group within the Queensland Police Service that supported this innovation, who believed in the vision of the Media and Public Affairs Branch, who trusted them to make the right decisions, whom believed in the capability of Social Media to support policing. To them the nation of Australia thanks you!


Download the Kinship Digital Company Profile from Slideshare.


As part of it’s programme, this years Critical Communications World, which takes place 21 –  24 May 2013, Paris will be examining the use of social media as a crisis management tool. For more information, including how to register as a congress delegate and to download the full agenda visit the Critical Communications World website click here

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