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Social media and UK local councils
Social media and UK local councils
Social media and UK local councils
Social media and UK local councils
Social media and UK local councils
Social media and UK local councils
Social media and UK local councils
Social media and UK local councils
Social media and UK local councils
Social media and UK local councils
Social media and UK local councils
Social media and UK local councils
Social media and UK local councils
Social media and UK local councils
Social media and UK local councils
Social media and UK local councils
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Social media and UK local councils

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This online research is based on the answers of a sample of UK local councils and was completed in June 2011. It explores how councils use and understand Social Media. It was previously published by …

This online research is based on the answers of a sample of UK local councils and was completed in June 2011. It explores how councils use and understand Social Media. It was previously published by LGCommunications.

Published in: Business, Technology
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  • 1. Local Councils’usage and understanding of Social Media
  • 2. Findings in brief.This exploratory online survey was taken in June 2011 on sample of UK localcouncils.Many local councils have established Facebook and Twitter presences. YouTubechannels are also popular. Councils see social media channels as primarily agood way to communicate with residents, while Twitter is consideredappropriate for communicating with the Media and LinkedIn is the main venuefor reaching other government employees.Most councils have an established social media presence but they aren’t usingit to its full potential. This can be linked to employees’ reluctance to engage insocial media dialogue, to lack of resources and to resistance from seniormanagement.Despite these obstacles, local councils are aware of the benefits of social mediaas channels for easily disseminating information, engaging younger audiencesand generally making local councils more accessible.
  • 3. Findings in brief.Most councils have between 2 and 5 people manning their social mediapresence and all of them expect these numbers to rise in the near future.Responsibility for social media usually sits in the marketing and PR/Mediadepartments. The biggest threats of social media as seen by council employeesare negative feedback from the public and losing control of data and messages.Traditionally, press and television were the main channels that needed to bemanaged in a crisis situation. The scenery changed dramatically in the last yearsand local councils are aware of it. They perceive social media as being equallyimportant as broadcast media. In a crisis situation.Despite this correct understanding, not many councils have in-house groundrules and social media crisis management plans.
  • 4. Have councils adopted social media?The simple answer is ‘Yes’. Social media adoption is well on its way and there’s nothingthat can stop it. In June 2011, 80% of responding Councils already had a Facebook account and 20% were planning to start one in the next 12 months. 88% responding Councils had a Twitter account and the rest were planning to start one in the next year. 70% of responding councils had their own YouTube channel and the rest were planning to start one in the next 12 months.
  • 5. Engaging with stakeholders.Councils have a clear idea about which are the best channels for engaging with their variousstakeholders. Over 90% of respondents consider Facebook and YouTube to be the best place to reachlocal residents. 87% of respondents see Twitter as being equally efficient for both residents andMedia. LinkedIn is unanimously agreed to be the best place for reaching colleagues and othergovernmental employees.
  • 6. Experts or just doodling?While 37% of respondents evaluate themselves as ‘just getting started’, most councils have anestablished social media presence but aren’t exceedingly active and don’t have high levels ofengagement. 54% perceive their organisations’ social media stage as ‘established but not setting theworld on fire’. Only 9% are ‘social media pioneers’ with many fans and high levels of engagement. 54% 37%
  • 7. Dialogue vs broadcasting.Using social media just as a channel to broadcast messages defeats the object of socialmedia “engagement”. Success in social media is mainly attributed to how much anorganisation interacts and engages with its fans and followers. The percentage ofcouncils that don’t ‘set the world on fire’ with their social media is closely linked to howready they are for dialogue: 81.8% of respondents consider they are ready only to issuea set number of one-way messages and 75.0% consider they don’t have the resources toengage in open dialogue through social media .
  • 8. Understanding the value of social media.As the top 100 brands have proven, in the business world two-way social mediaengagement translates to financial success*. For local government institutions, propersocial media engagement can mean an improvement in service delivery and costreductions coming from switching to this more cost-effective channel rather thantraditional media such as newsletters or printed materials. Social media engagement alsohas a positive impact on an organisations image, as it means better transparency as wellas accessing the new generation of digital natives.Our survey shows that local councils are very much aware of these facts: sharinginformation across multiple channels and providing better service delivery is the mainbenefit of using social media according to 79.3% of respondents. More open andaccessible government at grass roots and reaching a new generation of digital nativeswere the other two main benefits indicated by 50% of respondents .*http://www.slideshare.net/PingElizabeth/engagementdb-social-media-engagement-study-of-the-top-100-global-brands
  • 9. Greatest obstacles in social media implementation.For Local Councils, the three greatest obstacles faced when planning for social media are:competing priorities (lack of time / budget) - 58.3%; lack of understanding from uppermanagement - 45.8% and concerns raised by the IT departments - 33% . When thesurvey was taken, legal issues represented an obstacle for only 8% of respondents.Based on trends of the business world, both resistance of IT departments and legalconcerns tend to increase as social media usage increases.
  • 10. Who’s responsible?For 71% of the surveyed organisations the existing social media accounts are managed by 2-5administrators. 17% have large teams of 10-20 administrators. All respondents expected thesenumbers to grow in the next 6 months. This growth is also a potential reason for future legalconcerns, as coordinating and managing social media accounts can quickly spiral out of control.
  • 11. Who’s responsible?For most organisations, responsibility for social media is split between the marketingdepartment and the Media/PR department. Only a small number of councils have aspecialised social media team (4.3%). Surprisingly, few IT teams get involved in socialmedia (13%). This can lead to potential tensions between the PR employees managingcontent and IT departments in charge of internet safety. 70% 40%
  • 12. Top risks of Social Media.The biggest threats of social media perceived by council employees are negative feedback from thepublic (33.3%) and losing control of data and messages (25.0%). This seems to be linked to the factthat most respondents don’t feel equipped for dialogue in social media. Beyond perception, socialmedia is a great channel for receiving feed-back and it shouldn’t be feared. Examples from thebusiness world show that prompt response to negative feed-back can turn a potential crisissituation to the organisation’s favour*. A much deeper threat which wasn’t perceived byrespondents is the lack of clear objectives and strategy, which can lead to social media chaos andloss of control over data and messages. 33.3% 25.0%* http://www.slideshare.net/elishatan/social-media-crisis-management-three-case-studies
  • 13. Social Media crisis management plan.In a crisis situation, social media can be a steep slope. While traditional broadcast media iscomplied by strict regulations, in social media negative comments and feedback spread andmultiply from one channel to the other without much verification. A simple rumour whichisn’t dealt with in time can snowball with alarming speed and hit an organisation at fullforce. 38% of respondents to our survey see social media as posing the greatest risk totheir organisation in a crisis situation. An equal percentage of respondents perceivetraditional broadcast media as presenting the biggest risk in a time of crisis.Again, despite this perception, only 21% of the councils had clearly designed crisismanagement plans. For most of the others, there was no plan set in place; arising issueswere reported to line managers on an ad-hoc basis.
  • 14. Conclusions.Local Councils have a clear understanding of Social Media and its benefits but they stillhave a long way to go before true social media engagement is adopted. Their SocialMedia involvement is well under way, but at this point the process is slowed down bytwo factors:• Internal concerns and obstacles rising from lack of coordination and strategy regarding social media communications.• Employees’ lack of confidence in their ability to engage in meaningful two-way communications on social media.If these issues aren’t addressed by proper training and clear policies and plans, they willonly escalate as the number of social media administrators will rise and the use of socialmedia increases across the organisation.COORDINATION, CONTROL and EXPRETISE are the key words for the future of LocalCouncils’ social Media Engagement.
  • 15. This research was compiled byCrowdcControlHQFor more information, get in touch!

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