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 darkContinue reading “Why humour on social media should be part of your strategy”

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 anContinue reading “Ten phrases social media managers hate”

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”

The top 10 of UK public sector tweets of 2017

Yes, public sector tweets can be exciting and interesting! In the public sector, we often have small, or no, budgets for social media. But our organisations do amazing work and our communications teams have bags of talent. I salute communications professionals in public services and government, and I want to say thanks for keeping usContinue reading “The top 10 of UK public sector tweets of 2017”

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”

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% ofContinue reading “The social media election in nine tweets”

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”

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 backContinue reading “My five favourite 2014 tweets with pictures”

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”

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”

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 considerContinue reading “Five lessons social media managers can learn from the police”

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 meanContinue reading “Isn’t it time ALL employees were encouraged to use social media?”

Your organisation doesn’t need a social media expert, it needs its experts on social media

[Photo by Pete Prodoehl] I learned the other day that Homebase don’t refer to their employees as ‘staff members’ or ‘colleagues’. They call them experts. I love this: it shows that they’ve hired people to be good at their roles – it boldly acknowledges the skills and know-how each person there brings. Here are fiveContinue reading “Your organisation doesn’t need a social media expert, it needs its experts on social media”

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”

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”

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-upContinue reading “Seven Twitter mistakes we all have to make”

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”

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.Continue reading “Seven social media headlines of 2012 and what they teach us”

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”

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”

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”

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 care recruiting using social media – how a council recruited a senior leader using YouTube

Today’s the deadline for social care professionals interested in the vacant post of Head of Children’s Services to apply for the post – hopefully those who go for job have a good idea about what to expect after watching potential colleagues and the previous Head of Children’s Services on YouTube. What did we do? SimonContinue reading “Social care recruiting using social media – how a council recruited a senior leader using YouTube”

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”