Empathy – the secret ingredient in social media engagement

Empathy is one of the core elements to getting your social media content and tone of voice spot on. First off, knowing who your audience is: (it’s not everyone!) – then getting their attention by demonstrating that you know just how they feel. When you design your ideas, empathy is what separates the boring, corporateContinue reading “Empathy – the secret ingredient in social media engagement”

A comms guide to the ‘sorry not sorry’ statement

Is it ever OK to respond to a breaking story about a mistake your organisation has made – with a joke? A BBC story about Cardiff Council I read this week, demonstrates that sometimes, using humour can be a great way to diffuse tension. Somebody at the council found the Christmas tree they had ordered wasContinue reading “A comms guide to the ‘sorry not sorry’ statement”

The public sector has no obligation to be boring: tweets that show the funny side of gov

I’ve been lucky enough to work with people doing some pretty important, serious stuff. Social work, policing, health, public finances, planning, housing, community safety: it’s all critical work. I’ve noticed that lots of people in the most serious jobs are very comfortable expressing a sense of humour.  As my mum often says: “if you didn’t laugh, you’d cry”. LaughingContinue reading “The public sector has no obligation to be boring: tweets that show the funny side of gov”

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”

Public sector comms: how to not be evil

(Or, ‘How social media helped me get my heart back’) I’m going to keep this quite short considering this is post about obedience, public sector managers, the nature of evil and social media. I’m going to argue how findings of a few psychological studies suggest the modern communications person needs to be more in touchContinue reading “Public sector comms: how to not be evil”

Three ways leaders can get more from social media

If you’re a chief exec or a leader, you’ve probably given Twitter, blogging or even Facebook a go. Maybe you love it. But are you getting the most from it? Sometimes people tell me they’re on social media, they’re starting positive conversations about their work but they’re fed up of the same old topics croppingContinue reading “Three ways leaders can get more from social media”

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”

IC Space: three social media ideas for internal communicators

Here’s an article I wrote for the IC Space, sharing three social media tips for internal communicator. You can read the original posting over on the Government Communications Service website. The IC Space is a fantastic place for internal communication professionals across government to learn and network so I was delighted to be asked toContinue reading “IC Space: three social media ideas for internal communicators”

Google Glass could make the world better – is social care going to be revolutionised?

This post will look at five ways Google Glass (and the inevitable other brands’ wearable devices) may change our understanding of how to protect vulnerable people, look after youngsters and improve life for older people. Google Glass, if you don’t know, is a wearable computer with a head-mounted display – it takes voice commands andContinue reading “Google Glass could make the world better – is social care going to be revolutionised?”

Unrestricted staff access to social media – case studies from a local authority

Free use of social media across a whole company – it’s not a concept everybody agrees is productive. But where I work, it’s helping us to achieve some of our organisational values of openness, fairness, teamwork and flexibility. I speak about this very often with people interested in the approach taken where I work, MonmouthshireContinue reading “Unrestricted staff access to social media – case studies from a local authority”

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”

YouTubing a budget consultation and how a great blogger improved our work

Here’s a post about using video to communicate a budget consultation. A bit of experimentation and help from all sorts of people have helped us get better. Hopefully next year we’ll improve again thanks to feedback from this year. [Photo by Rego – d4u.hu]

A message to the secret council officer

I just came across a great piece in the Guardian from an anonymous council officer who talks about how overly cautious social media policies do more harm than good for local government. Here are extracts but it’s worth reading it in full over at the Guardian website. When it comes to communications, local government knowsContinue reading “A message to the secret council officer”

All Wales public services internet and social media survey 2012

ParticipationCymru do great work to achieve better public engagement in Wales and I was fascinated to read the latest results on how public sector organisations here are using social media. There were an impressive 576 respondents of which 50% were from local government, 19% Third sector, 17% Welsh Government and 7% NHS and 6% otherContinue reading “All Wales public services internet and social media survey 2012”

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”

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?”

Finding my voice – why I blog

This month I was honoured to be interviewed for a new book on blogging available now on Kindle. Author of ‘Your Blog Voice‘ the fabulous Philippa Davies asked me questions about my blogging for inclusion in the book and she’s kindly allowed me to reproduce my interview here. For interviews with bloggers of all varietiesContinue reading “Finding my voice – why I blog”

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”

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

[Photo by Andalib.] Here’s a case study from 2011 about how Monmouthshire County Council‘s youth service has used Facebook to revitalise the way it communicates with kids and teenagers. Profile URL: https://www.facebook.com/MonYouth Likes: 1,013 Established: Around April 2010 Moderated by: Dan Davies of Monmouthshire County Council’s youth service   The reason it’s fantastic is because it’s being used notContinue reading “How to do Facebook REALLY well in local government (part one)”

Sometimes we fluff up

Today one of our council twitter accounts made the news for tweeting an inappropriate comment on a serious incident in one of our Monmouthshire towns. http://www.metro.co.uk/tech/871393-council-sorry-for-armed-siege-tourism-tweet We’re all pretty mortified. It was insensitive and the person who tweeted quickly realised it was not on and deleted it (we tend to advise not deleting but inContinue reading “Sometimes we fluff up”

Social media for social care: Monmouthshire foster carers support each other with Yammer

Our foster care team is always looking at ways to give foster carers information to support them and here’s summary of what we’ve done to shake up how foster carers talk to us (Monmouthshire council) and, more importantly, to each other. What we did At the beginning of the year I met the team toContinue reading “Social media for social care: Monmouthshire foster carers support each other with Yammer”

Thoughts on productivity and being boring

In my work as a communicator I’m always looking for examples of good practice and tips on how to be more effective at work. I’ve been thinking recently about what kind of communicator I don’t want to be (not thinking of anyone specific, honest!) to try to keep to the point and stop myself becomingContinue reading “Thoughts on productivity and being boring”

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?”

My waffly first blog about Opentech 2010 & being a PR amid techies

As a public relations officer for a Welsh council my role is about, of course promoting and maintaining the reputation of the authority, but our focus is about true engagement. I’m really interested in opening up channels of communication between ‘us’ and residents, partner organisations and all stakeholders really.   Which is why Opentech 2010Continue reading “My waffly first blog about Opentech 2010 & being a PR amid techies”