Funny tweets from nonprofit brands

People don’t expect funny tweets from nonprofit brands. They think serious, solemn communications is all that’s appropriate when our mission is for social good. But as I wrote a few weeks back, humour should be part of your social media strategy, no mater what you are promoting. Bold, funny content is everywhere! It seems like […]

Building comms confidence

Building comms confidence is as important as developing skills, if you really want to get maximum impact. I can often be found researching and testing ways to build confidence in comms professionals, as part of my work delivering social media training. At a CommsHero event a few years ago, I heard that the brand Innocent […]

Why humour on social media should be part of your strategy

People tell me that they can’t do humour on social media, or any fun content, because their comms is for an organisation that does important work. “It’s very serious indeed, the tone would be way off if we were to get all jokey” “We can’t be light-hearted when our work helps people going through dark […]

Council fun and empathy is content of the week

We admire cool stuff from brands of all sorts. We’ve noticed: local government has been nailing it lately! So content of the week goes to THREE different local authorities doing COVID comms. But it’s not your ordinary safe stuff, this week, we can look at some fun and engaging social media – just because it’s […]

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue’s Burger King spoof is content of the week

This week we’re celebrating a cheeky and fun Facebook post from South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR)! If it seems familiar, but you can’t put your finger on it, it’s a parody of the Burger King tweet that went viral a few weeks ago. The Burger King tweet caught people’s attention because it was encouraging their […]

Council’s social media illustration is content of the week

I want to talk about social media illustration and cartoons in your comms. It seems relatively rare! We see so many social media graphics that are kind of like mini-posters. Designed in something like Canva, or as requested of your fab graphic design team if you’re lucky enough to have expert designers on your team. […]

The ‘commsplanation’: duff advice from the non comms colleague

Commsplanation: office scene shows man saying "we should use Snapchat and Yammer for this campaign' and the woman says 'thanks for the advice on my own area of expertise'.

I made up a word: “commsplanation’. Have you ever been commsplained? It’s where someone who is less qualified than you, or less experienced, explains something to you. They get hold of the tiniest amount of knowledge, and suddenly they’re giving you opinions so misinformed, so utterly clueless that you want to boot them up the […]

Cameo celebrities: endorsement not-for-profit brands can afford

Getting a celebrity to promote your brand has long been a desirable but costly way to get your audience’s attention. Some charities could rely on a patron who believed in their cause, but often celebrities have wanted tens of thousands of pounds for an endorsement. But for most not-for-profit brands, it’s been not just out […]

Creative thinking for comms pros: brand metaphors

Creative thinking is not just something we do at work when we’re designing campaigns. We can apply creative thinking to all parts of life and work. I encourage our students in comms teams to spend ten minutes every now and then practicing creative thinking, to make your day-to-day comms a little fresher and more interesting […]

Ten phrases social media managers hate

You might imagine that the phrases social media managers hate to hear would be “we’re out of coffee”, or “there’s nowhere to charge your phone”. But there are phrases that strike even more fear into social media managers. To celebrate National Social Media Managers Day, we’re chuffed to have a guest blog post from an […]

Creative social media during the coronavirus crisis – 5 tips

This is a practical guide to maintaining creative social media during the coronavirus crisis.  Actually, all of the advice here is relevant at any time, but it’s pretty vital now. There’s loads more I want to tell you, but I’ve brutally edited it down to 5 areas that I think will be most useful for […]

How to give your brand an engaging social media tone of voice

Developing an interesting and engaging social media tone of voice is a hot topic for lots of us who look after social media for brands. It’s all very well saying we should be less corporate and more human – but what kind of human do we want to be? Because some humans are awful! Here’s […]

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 and […]

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 have […]

Let’s play comms bingo

Do you want to cry when someone asks if they can have an app? Do you shout for mercy when a colleague tells you to make their boring story go viral? Now you can enjoy these excruciating moments, with Comms Facepalm Bingo! Gamify that pain. (If you like my scrawls, I have more of this […]

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 figures […]

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 does […]

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 qualities […]

The social media election in nine tweets

It’s getting a bit of a cliché to describe it as a ‘social media election’ but things have changed drastically since 2010. In 2010 adults spent 14.2 hours per month on the web, but, thanks to widespread use of mobile devices, our total use of media and communications averaged over 11 hours every day in 2014. And 34% of […]

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”. Laughing […]

My five favourite 2014 tweets with pictures

My top two most read blog posts this year were: number 1: a ‘how to’ flow chart, and number 2. a look at how social media can help public servants be less evil. Both are quite visual: they each include charts that make a point with more impact than lots of words. I had a look back […]

Seven tips for using Facebook if you work in the public sector

Facebook can be a hard place for brands. It’s a lot like a wedding: friends and family gather to have fun, catch up and talk to each other. Brands need to be careful on Facebook that they don’t come across as a salesperson or a work bore at the party. Moreover, as Facebook increasingly favours […]

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 social […]

Public sector comms: how to not be evil

Being obedient does not equal leader or awesome

(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 touch […]

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 cropping […]

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 be […]

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 to […]

Five lessons social media managers can learn from the police

As a bit of a public sector social media obsessive, I’ve picked up lots of examples of police use of social media from twitter and the news. Police forces have done some fascinating work using social media that all PR and social media people can learn from.  So here are five principles we can consider […]

Isn’t it time ALL employees were encouraged to use social media?

I’ve been banging this drum for years now – organisations should be encouraging all employees to use social media. At a conference I spoke at yesterday, two PR legends, Professor Anne Gregory and Jørn Madslien referred in their presentations to the Edelman Trust Barometer and what some of the fascinating insights in the report mean […]

Three ways to get cool stuff done quickly at work

Paul Taylor was kind enough to let me blog on his great site last week – he’s been a real inspiration so I’m chuffed he let me post there. He was very kind in his intro as well – what a gent! Anyway, hope you find it useful or interesting. This post is about turning […]

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 and […]

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, Monmouthshire […]

Seven Twitter mistakes we all have to make

The brilliant Comms2point0 guys let me post on their site earlier this week about messing up on Twitter. I’ve republished here but if you get a minute take a look at the amazing resource they have on their website for communications people. Of all experiences we have when using Twitter for our work, blunders, cock-up […]

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 residents […]

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 knows […]

Seven social media headlines of 2012 and what they teach us

Last week when the awesome Nick Atkin of Halton Housing and I talked to some clued-up housing sector professionals* we looked at social media in 2012 and what’s in store for next year. Here are just some of the social media stories from 2012 we looked at and what they teach us for 2013. 1. […]

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% other […]

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 at […]

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 page […]

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 share […]

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 think […]

Influence, not ROI, matters for local government social media

by Ribbit Voice

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. […]

Making mistakes and giving staff access to social media

by elycefeliz

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 that […]

Beginners’ tips for the new public sector tweeter

by rikulu

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 takes […]

ROI of social media in public service

by russelldavies

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. Here […]