The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) in the USA is an excellent example. I challenge organisations to respond as quickly, thoroughly and extensively as them. In the case of H1N1 they didn't have a vast amount of planning time, though I suspect they had some contingency plans in place, to come up with a range of social media / social marketing tools. So the first point to note is these were available almost instantly. No waiting 2 - 3 months for a communications and marketing department to negotiate with an IT department following the meetings of the Change program division etc.... in order to get something done.
Secondly the CDC appreciates and understands the value of social media in getting messages out and helping them to spread, hopefully quicker than the virus they are focusing on. Their H1N1 swine flu social media page has:
- widgets; a whole variety to suits your own needs
- mobile information
- online videos
- rss feeds
- twitter link
- image sharing
- as for social networks you can find them on Facebook, mySpace, DailyStrength
Using social media is not the only way to communicate. However, well done CDC for showing the way, probably breaking some rules in the process, and demonstrating to laggardly public sector organisations and departments how social media can be of value and no great sweat to implement.