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Best practice developing communication policies

  1. 1. OEMC 2012 - Communications Presented By: Shannon Hunter, AMCT, Dipl.M.M, CAO Township of North Kawartha P.O. Box 550 280 Burleigh Street Apsley, ON K0L 1A0 705-656-4445 Ext.236 Like Us on Facebook - Follow Us on Twitter - Follow Us on Pinterest -
  2. 2. Location North Kawartha is a four season destination that is located within the north eastern quadrant of Peterborough County and easily accessible by Highway 28. There are approximately 765 square kilometres of area comprised mainly of forest, lakes, creeks and rivers which provide for an abundance of wildlife, scenic views and recreational activities for all age groups.
  3. 3. Demographics Permanent Population – 2342 Households – 3,433 Seasonal Population Approx – 8582 (based on average household with 2.5 persons) Population Density per Square Kilometre – 3.1 Between the Ages of 0 – 49 = 1115 Between the Ages of 50 – 85+ = 1225
  4. 4. Strategic Directions  Provide for Effective Township/Resident Communications - Investigate opportunities to improve Township customer services - Continue to use a variety of direct communication methods to inform our residents - Use technology to improve public communications by updating, expanding and creating a more “user-friendly” website. - Continue to provide a variety of options for our ratepayers to provide feedback.
  5. 5. Standard Communication Methods  Email  Phone  Front Counter  Radio  Posters/Bulletin Boards  Electronic Sign  Local Publications  Newsletters  Website
  6. 6. New Communication Methods  Due to the fact that a majority of residents are seasonal, a financially sustainable, alternative means needed to be implemented in order to effectively communicate and reach our target audience  Statistics Canada show that 81% of Ontarians are using the internet from any location  Enhanced communications through electronic newsletters/emails, social media (facebook, twitter & pinterest) and website
  7. 7. Steps Taken to Improve Communication  Had a clear objective  Provided a Risk Analysis  Implemented an Action Plan  Implemented a social media policy and reviewed/updated current policies involving communications, employment and technology  Monitored Return on Investment
  8. 8. Objective To positively improve communication with a majority of residents (permanent and seasonal) while maintaining a professional image.
  9. 9. Risk Analysis Two surveys were conducted and responses received by various levels of staff from13 municipalities, 2 cities, 1 county, 2 ministries and ratepayers. The two most common risks identified by staff in regards to implementing social media were lack of professionalism and strain on staffing resources. Although the number of responses received was very poor from the ratepayer survey in regards to moving from a traditional newsletter to a variety of low cost communication methods, the most common risk identified was the loss of the traditional newsletter and lack of computer/internet(affordability & availability).
  10. 10. Risk Mitigation o Lack of Professionalism - continued with professional communication methods already in place - continued training on enhanced customer service and understanding tools available for dealing with difficult individuals - updated policies that included acceptable forms of communication - provided staff with clear understanding on acceptable formats when communicating with the public (short forms to be avoided)
  11. 11. Strain on Staffing Resources - Implemented changes in small steps so that we could monitor time commitments - implemented policies and procedures so that workload was shared amongst management - clearly communicated with staff the expectations - provided expectations to Council - measured and monitored
  12. 12.  Loss of traditional newsletter & lack of computer/internet (affordability & availability) - providing a “Welcome Package” with detailed information about Township services to new residents - providing bi-annual updates on current information by utilizing various methods including direct mailing upon individual request - providing ratepayers with continued information on free computer/internet services at libraries - supporting broadband initiatives through the County
  13. 13. Action Plan  Created and updated current policies (i.e. social media, conflict of interest, employment policies, code of technology)  Implemented Township of North Kawartha branding - utilized the same logo and name for all media platforms to provide a visual identification  Received Council’s Endorsement  Started small and did things well
  14. 14. Action Plan  Promoted through various channels such as Social Media, Associations, Current Email Contacts, Ratepayer Groups, Radio  Emphasized accuracy - in order to build an audience the source of the information needs to be trustworthy  Emphasized importance of current information
  15. 15. Action Plan  Emphasized customer service - Wanted everyone to have a positive experience and to come back - Determined that business was not to be conducted on social media platforms however people could be directed to the appropriate individual or place to assist  Utilized the Township of North Kawartha Website as the main communication platform  Provided Training - Ensured staff understood what was being implemented and the importance  Encouraged two way communication
  16. 16. Social Media Policy  Identify responsibilities  Identify objective  Provide detailed guidelines - who can post, what can be posted, format, identification, privacy and confidentiality, factual, accurate, respect, honesty, use of short forms, ethical standards and copyrights
  17. 17. Social Media Policy  Personal utilization of social media - discourage reference to the Corporation while using social media in a personal capacity  Branding  Controversial Issues  Enforcement
  18. 18. Return on Investment Tools have been implemented to not only monitor what has been put in place but also to provide us with information on what the publics interests are and what they are looking for. o Google Analytics o Facebook Insights o Number of Users o Comments Received o Increased Involvement
  19. 19. Return on Investment Prior to going social, it was determined that our main platform of communication would be our website, which was revised in March, 2009. The Township of North Kawartha started actively promoting various methods of communication in February, 2012.
  20. 20. Return on Investment  Website Statistics - February – August 20,267 Visits 47.10% New Visits - 9,546 9,950 Visits – Google 5,272 Visits – Direct 1,038 Visits – Bing 782 Visits – Facebook 471 Visits – Twitter
  21. 21. Return on Investment  Facebook - 82 Likes 16, 922 Friends of Fans  Twitter - 162 Followers
  22. 22. Lessons Learned  Preparation very important  Understand objectives  After initial setup, not time consuming  Do not conduct business on social media platforms or provide responses to inquiries after hours  Internal identification important in order to track source of information  Negative comments have not been an issue, people are just looking for information
  23. 23. Lessons Learned  Ratepayers are viewing social media platforms however concerned with joining in case the Township is viewing their personal information  Value the importance of all communication methods and listen to what people want  One size does not fit all  Have key staff in place to overview
  24. 24. Lessons Learned  Make sure information is accurate to promote trust  Ensure staff are fully trained on all policies, procedures and expectations.  Reply in a timely manner.  Be open to change!
  25. 25. Thank You! Shannon Hunter, AMCT, Dipl.M.M, CAO Township of North Kawartha P.O. Box 550 280 Burleigh Street Apsley, ON K0L 1A0 705-656-4445 Ext.236 Like Us on Facebook - Follow Us on Twitter - Follow Us on Pinterest -