Pets: the secret weapon of housing associations on Facebook

Housing associations on Facebook often have a tough time engaging residents. We work with comms pros who manage Facebook pages that are either: • A negative space where people moan about the organisation’s shortcomings • An absolute ghost town, where you struggle to get a single like or comment off anyone, not even a colleague AsContinue reading “Pets: the secret weapon of housing associations on Facebook”

2018 survey: Comms in the UK housing sector

Busy UK housing communications professionals rarely get time to meet other comms teams to compare teams and work experiences. So in early 2018, I asked PR and comms practitioners in the sector to take a short survey, where they could honestly answer how work is for them right now. Some patterns have emerged, and IContinue reading “2018 survey: Comms in the UK housing sector”

Dealing with negative social media comments – dos and don’ts

The subject of dealing with negative social media comments crops up in almost every social media training course I run, so I thought I’d share my simple dos and don’ts to make things easier. So, this is how to handle unfavourable posts people might tweet your organisation, leave on their Facebook page, or any socialContinue reading “Dealing with negative social media comments – dos and don’ts”

Posting text and video bilingually to Facebook and YouTube

Posting text and video bilingually to social media sites is possible, but not simple! This is a practical post on posting to social media for audiences that speak more than one language. I work with many organisations in Wales that post bilingually, and I thought this may be helpful. It’s just tips from my own trial andContinue reading “Posting text and video bilingually to Facebook and YouTube”

Is your fear stopping your social media comms from saying anything?

Communicators often confide in me that they don’t really like using Facebook (and other social media) for their organisations because people will probably post snarky things in the comments section of each post. Especially if they’re communicating potentially controversial work. The general gist of what I hear is this: ‘If we talk about this, we’ll haveContinue reading “Is your fear stopping your social media comms from saying anything?”

The most important social media measure? The ‘ex-haters’ number.

I’ve been developing a course on social media evaluation, and one metric stands out to me as most important. I call it the ‘ex-haters story’: the number of people you’ve won-around. In this post I outline: What the ex-hater metric is; Why it’s one of the most important measures; and how to make your ex-hater figuresContinue reading “The most important social media measure? The ‘ex-haters’ number.”

Standing up for the skills of the expert communicator

Have you ever wandered over to your head of finance and told them how they should interpret the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill of 2014-15? No? Funny how comms people often find colleagues from other professional disciplines advise us about comms subjects of which they have little knowledge or experience. Knowing how to tweet doesContinue reading “Standing up for the skills of the expert communicator”

Just how social is your social media?

Most are not serial killers – in fact psychopaths are more likely to find their way into politics, boardrooms or media organisations than be jailed for murder.” Will Black In this post, I want to show how some of the behaviours that have become standard or accepted in the world of social media communications, share qualitiesContinue reading “Just how social is your social media?”

Council social media: forget about the price tag

A great report from business advisory and accountancy firm BDO, Direct Message, has been released this week, showing results of councils reported use of social media. According to localgov.co.uk: “Two-thirds of councils are now using social media, with 77% saying it can lead to savings if used correctly, according to a new report. …[It] found that responsibility for socialContinue reading “Council social media: forget about the price tag”

Livestreaming council meetings on YouTube

Broadcasting meetings to residents live on the Internet needn’t cost the earth, as Monmouthshire County Council has demonstrated in recent weeks. The council has bypassed expensive monthly fees from livestreaming services by directly streaming meetings, from the council chamber in Usk, to YouTube. Joanna Goodwin, my old mucker from my time at Monmouthshire, works onContinue reading “Livestreaming council meetings on YouTube”

Social media flow chart for comms pros

* 09/01/21 Social media flow chart – updated for 2021! When I first posted this chart 7 years ago (and more than 52,000 downloads ago!), I had no idea how popular it would be. People have sent me tweets showing photos of it pinned on office walls, and still people regularly tell me it’s beContinue reading “Social media flow chart for comms pros”

How to respond when rumours start to spread on Facebook

‘Rumour Cascades‘, a  joint study from Stanford University and Facebook, provides some fascinating insights that can serve as advice for public bodies on halting the spread of misinformation. This was first published on the Guardian website in mid May. A new study, jointly conducted by Facebook and Stanford University, has shed new light on how rumours spread on theContinue reading “How to respond when rumours start to spread on Facebook”

Five interesting ways councils are using infographics

This article was first published in the Guardian, you can read the original on their website here. We are in an era where we get our news and entertainment in increasingly brief chunks and on smaller, mobile screens. Councils, like other organisations,  are in the race for people’s attention. Whether interactive, beautifully designed or creativelyContinue reading “Five interesting ways councils are using infographics”

Police in Granada have Twitter handles on their uniforms – three reasons why it’s a great idea

I noticed on Twitter last week that in Granada* the police officers have the force Twitter handle sewn into their uniforms and it’s also on police cars. Police in Granada have Twitter handles on their uniform pic.twitter.com/xwH2AX8sp4 via @gordonmacmillan #gov20 #ace — Helen Reynolds (@HelReynolds) June 25, 2013 It’s a simple and effective way toContinue reading “Police in Granada have Twitter handles on their uniforms – three reasons why it’s a great idea”

Interview: six social media ‘dos and don’ts’ and the role of the social media manager

Digital agency Coup Media asked to interview me this month for their blog – they’re doing very cool things so I was honoured to chat about how I work with digital communications. They’ve let me re-post it here – in this chat I talk a bit about my job and give six social media ‘dosContinue reading “Interview: six social media ‘dos and don’ts’ and the role of the social media manager”

Twitter and Facebook to the rescue during heavy snow

Lots of councils experience just how important social media is when the weather gets extreme. A week or so ago, Monmouthshire people received and shared timely, useful information, chat and photos during a snowy period. I’ve been really impressed by how effective and helpful the network of Monmouthshire people – council employees, businesses and residentsContinue reading “Twitter and Facebook to the rescue during heavy snow”

Five things that good bloggers do

Blogging can sometimes be a bit of a daunting task. Sometimes it’s helpful to think of some the things good bloggers do so our posts are read a bit more or just to inspire us to write when we’re out of ideas. This blog post is based on a presentation I gave last night atContinue reading “Five things that good bloggers do”

Organisations need to learn how to party: why digital engagement needs to be more social

I work in digital communications. In the public sector. If there’s one obsession both disciplines share, it’s the quest for ‘engagement’. It’s often said about digital engagement that ‘we’ (organisations) need to go where people go. What that actually means to me isn’t ‘the people use Facebook so we’ll use Facebook and build a pageContinue reading “Organisations need to learn how to party: why digital engagement needs to be more social”

Lessons in democracy and social media from 112 fifteen-year-olds

This month, our elections team in Monmouthshire Council asked me along to Chepstow Comprehensive to talk to students about how people can get involved in community life using social media. This is a post about what this group of young people told me about how they use social media. A day of democracy in theContinue reading “Lessons in democracy and social media from 112 fifteen-year-olds”

How to do Facebook REALLY well in local government (part two)

A year ago in 2011, I blogged about an inspiring guy I work with, 20 year-old youth worker Dan Davies, and how he uses Facebook for young people in Monmouthshire. I had a catch up with him this week and found out about more cool ways of engaging young people using Facebook and thought I shareContinue reading “How to do Facebook REALLY well in local government (part two)”

The future of Klout: how can we use online influence scorers like Klout and Kred?

I’m just going to come straight out with it: I’m pretty interested in online influence scoring tools like Klout and Peerindex. I think they might be useful to organisations and particularly the public sector in years to come. I understand and agree with lots of the points people make about these tools: people who thinkContinue reading “The future of Klout: how can we use online influence scorers like Klout and Kred?”

Influence, not ROI, matters for local government social media

On the whole, UK councils are doing a nice job of using social media – possibly we caught on early because we’re used to making the most of tools that don’t cost much.  ‘Fair play ‘ as we say here in Wales, we’re doing getting better at engaging. But there’s loads of room to improve.Continue reading “Influence, not ROI, matters for local government social media”

Making mistakes and giving staff access to social media

Some very clever people I’ve learned lots from over the past few years have let me publish guest posts on their blogs. They are all about social media and based on my experiences so I thought I’d group them here. They all touch on the following subjects: giving staff access to social media what thatContinue reading “Making mistakes and giving staff access to social media”

Beginners’ tips for the new public sector tweeter

For public sector types starting to tweet, it can be a bit daunting making a start. So here are some basic tips for getting started – these are just a few that I have found worked for me. [Photo by rikulu] Finding people to follow Finding people to follow is a good start but takesContinue reading “Beginners’ tips for the new public sector tweeter”

ROI of social media in public service

I’ve noticed a bit of Twitter debate on what the return on investment (ROI) is for social media in the public sector. Unfortunately this isn’t a post with tips on measurement, I’m still learning good ways to evaluate and improve our work in social media and I’d love to hear what other organisations do. HereContinue reading “ROI of social media in public service”

Twitter: more than talking about your breakfast

There are still a load of people out there who dismiss social media sites like Twitter as being where young people LOL and ROFL and talk about their breakfast.   Janet Street Porter was taking pop at Twitter on a TV show last week and repeated lots of the same arguments we’ve probably all heardContinue reading “Twitter: more than talking about your breakfast”

Public sector people – do you want a place to talk social media?

Anyone who works in PR has probably come across unflattering assumptions that our job is to cover up bad stuff and pump out good news. We know though that we want to inform and engage, particularly in public sector PR. We work using our personal ethics, a commitment to be non-political, the CIPR code ofContinue reading “Public sector people – do you want a place to talk social media?”

Live Q&As – getting people talking to their council on Twitter

Here’s a summary of how/why we do our live Q&A Twitter session with cabinet members.  I would love any suggestions on how we can improve or comments of any kind really, the beauty of social media is being able to learn from you all. Councillor Twitter Q&As   The idea began last September when ourContinue reading “Live Q&As – getting people talking to their council on Twitter”

To follow or not to follow on Twitter? Are you part of a community or are you aloof?

One of the hundreds of things that are great about using social media is the capacity to build communities – it’s one of the useful elements I’ve found while managing a twitter account for a local authority.   An organisation has an opportunity to find out what people think about what it does, what interestsContinue reading “To follow or not to follow on Twitter? Are you part of a community or are you aloof?”

‘Go away’ and social media

I’m aware this might make me sound like a very grumpy woman, but is there any need for anyone to tell someone to ‘go away’?    I heard somebody saying it to a man who politely asked for some spare change outside Starbucks in Cardiff today.  I was embarrassed.  It’s not really about an old notionContinue reading “‘Go away’ and social media”