Founder HAT Media, Sunchika Pandey talks about adding sass to make social media a cool place for the municipal bodies’ communication.
Mumbai Police and BMC’s social media accounts have been the talk of the town for quite some time now owing to their inevitable presence on social media platforms. The brain behind it all, Sunchika Pandey took the live stage at Social Samosa’s #SMLive 2020 to talk ‘Social Media for Social Change and Governance: Lessons from Mumbai Police and BMC’. Pandey is a Content & Creative Consultant for Maharashtra Police, Mumbai Police, CP Mumbai Police, Pune Police, IPS, and BMC & Founder – Hat Media.
Why, When, and How?
In conversation with Hitesh Rajwani, CEO, Social Samosa Network. Pandey went onto reveal that the only objective behind Mumbai Police and BMC to debut on social media was to fill the communication gap that existed between them and the common people of the maximum city.
She expressed, “The move might have been considered very unusual and that nobody ever happened to imagine. The team is just like other creative minds. What brought all of us together was our mission to present the real picture of the police department and the municipal body to the people.”
The social account was a result of a number of brainstorming sessions, research, and interactivity with the senior police officers and the staff members to also know their ideas and views on it. “These stories deserved to be told. People have very little knowledge of what the police force does and it is so much part of our day to day life. The police did not know that there was a way beyond police stations to keep in touch with the citizens,” Pandey shared.
Social media being an evolving medium and it would be beneficial for the two governing bodies to be at the right place at the right time, Pandey and her team kick-started the work to debut on platforms like Twitter first followed by Instagram. She added, “They were coming on social media with good intent. Being a crime journalist for 6-7 years, I realized creative inclinations for this project. They were so keen on exploring the new medium.”
Pandey informed that the team has to be very conscious about what goes out because a little mistake here and there would misconstrue everything. They sit onto discussing various aspects before taking on any comments and the intent is always to not generalize things.
Lauding the efforts taken by the police officers and staff members themselves in contributing to the content on social media, Pandey affirmed that such departments are doing the perfect use of the digital platforms to bring good practices from across the world on one platform so that we can learn from there. “It’s more like global learning happening on social. The staff takes so much interest in the platform that was never on their radar,” she exclaimed.
Quick Response Time and Meme Game
When quizzed about the secret behind the immense usage of memes and social messages on the two social media platforms, Pandey shared that the cops not only help in giving approvals but the team sometimes gets creative ideas from them directly.
“We don’t like to call it a meme but relevant content for a particular day and time. The kind of command the officers have will give you complex. When we first started out, we put down all things related to the word ‘police’- fear, traffic, crime, anxiety, et al.,” Pandey shares. “The then commissioner of police mentioned how we can bring a smile on people’s faces and eliminate the fear associated with the departments. He said that we should do something which will bring people closer to us. This was the first opening discussion where we got a lot of clarity for our job.”
Being Content Conscious
Being the government body and holding up responsibilities, Pandey shares that the team has t be very much conscious about the context and that nothing trivializes any issues or incidents. “We are creating content on everything so negative. So we have to be very sensitive in the kind of context- it can’t be a slapstick comedy. We can’t show the people of the city dumb. We try to relate to the problems of the citizens as we are surviving the same challenges”.
Highlighting the message of social governance further, Pandey was of the view that as much as the governing bodies like the police force and the BMC is responsible to maintain law, order and city’s maintenance, its also upon every individual of the nation to do their duties on time and responsibly.
“We should definitely complain when we see them not responsive enough but before that, we should ask ourselves are we contributing to anything good and being responsible. Over the last 4-5 years, this understanding has come among people. Sometimes in comments we see people defending the department and we revel in the kind of beautiful relationship we have built with them,” she added.
Brewing Platform-Specific Content
Pandey pointed out that to communicate better we should use the platform in a way that suits it. For instance, on Twitter its all about real-time conversations while Instagram is primarily used for campaign awareness with n interactivity.
Talking about storytelling on social media, Pandey opined that whichever story touches your heart is always the one that works better. “The departments have tried to be very humble in their content representation, never showed their popularity or power. Whenever the story is real it always works wonders. And they have also accepted their mistakes,” she exclaimed.
Pandey strongly feels that content creation should be about just keeping it real with real stories and achievements and being relatable.