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Local by social - engaging the hard-to-engage with social media


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Slides to accompany a session in the Local by social online conference on 9 November.

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Local by social - engaging the hard-to-engage with social media

  1. 1. Reaching the hard-to engage with social media • Michele Ide-Smith, Web Strategy Manager, Cambridgeshire County Council November 2010
  2. 2. A case study covering… 1. Background and aims 2. Approach 3. Solution 4. What we learnt
  3. 3. Background and aims
  4. 4. Challenges in Wisbech Socio-economic, rural deprivation Large migrant worker population Digital exclusion – IT skills and access Hard-to-engage groups (migrant workers, youth, older people, disabled people, time pressured 25-40’s)
  5. 5. And engagement challenges Poor attendance at Neighbourhood Panel meetings Attendees not representative of the wider community No way to record results of engagement activity and make them visible
  6. 6. Project objective Improving community engagement using social media tools Helping improve community cohesion “It’s another tool in our community engagement toolbox” Dan Horn, Fenland District Council
  7. 7. Approach
  8. 8. Strong partnership working
  9. 9. Use existing networks Use existing networks
  10. 10. Do your research Who are your users? What do they want? What social media are they using? How do they behave online?
  11. 11. 8 focus groups, 2 surveys, 3 rounds of user testing
  12. 12. Everyone heard of it and one regular user Only use Facebook for communicating with family Don’t log in so can’t see it being useful Don’t belong to any fan pages or groups Could have an anonymous Facebook for complaining except for topics like school crossings which wouldn’t need to be anonymous. Well used, but not for complaints Use it for everything chat, games, forum Favourite site on the net Nacro Urban 25-40 Older people Perceptions of social media
  13. 13. Get stakeholders on board Use fun, participatory games e.g. the social media game (Wilcox and Kanter) Define clear processes, but be open to regular review and change Enthusiasm can get you a long way!
  14. 14. (Hat-tip to @davidwilcox and the Social Media Game)
  15. 15. Solution
  16. 16. Encourage participation
  17. 17. Top down or bottom up? No existing hyperlocal sites or groups People can be uncomfortable discussing civic issues on social networks like Facebook (preferring anonymity) Co-production and moderation by community centre volunteers Share feeds with hyperlocal sites
  18. 18. Reaching the hard-to-engage Use community networks and volunteers Video can be more accessible when literacy is a problem Tie-in with offline engagement methods Schemes to help build community skills and capacity Auto-translation features on the website
  19. 19. What we learnt (so far)
  20. 20. Lessons learnt Involve Councillors / practitioners early on Use familiar terms e.g. ‘Facebook’ not ‘social network site’ Moderators need CRB checks Unexpected issues will arise after go live Update content frequently Identify a lead partner to respond Keep it simple!
  21. 21. Website links ShapeYourPlace:  Project blog: 
  22. 22. For more information Michele Ide-Smith Web Strategy Manager Cambridgeshire County Council Phone: 01223 699710 Twitter: @micheleidesmith Blog: