One thing that has surprised me about social media is the sheer speed that it has been adopted by consumers and taken off as a vital corporate tool.
Although I’ve used it for a good few years professionally I was pretty sceptical about how much value it would add for local councils communicating directly with residents.
Thankfully I was interested enough in it as an experiment (for the wrong reasons as it turned out) to push hard for the council to use and invest in social media over a number of years.
I was also lucky to have a fantastic web team who really bought into this early on and who continue to innovate and drive it forward.
From having no social media at all in 2009 when I started at Northumberland, it’s now become increasingly important and popular with people using it for all sorts of service information from tourism to school closures.
Social media is now a key communications channel in the way we engage and talk to all our stakeholders and is no longer special interest or niche – it’s totally mainstream even in our small, rural corner of the world.
It goes direct to our residents and customers but also has a huge influence on the traditional print and broadcast media as well.
One thing that I’ve found really helpful in developing the channels and highlighting the benefits they bring is by keeping everyone up to date with how we use them.
Working for a local authority people love figures and statistics so here’s a snapshot of the type of thing I produce for managers here in Northumberland each month:
Currently, Northumberland County Council has more than 32,505 followers and friends on sites including Twitter, Facebook, Linked in, Pinterest and Google+.
This month 1,695 residents directly interacted with the council on Facebook and the information posted there reached 85,097 people.
In the past 90 days council information was mentioned or recommended to other users (‘retweeted’) 3,918 times
Which social media are people using for NCC?