As social media becomes mainstream there is a debate about how best an organisation can do it. Wiltshire Council have a dedicated officer and this is her story.
I’ve been working for Wiltshire Council for four years and out of uni for six. Since I signed up to MySpace and Facebook back in 2005 I’ve been intrigued by the power and potential of social networking.
When I joined the communications team seven months ago as ‘social media officer’ I quickly noticed how few of ‘us’ there are in local government and how many councils are working hard to fit social media into their PR/Comms roles.
Here’s an outline of my day to day work and a few of the things we’ve been able to achieve having a dedicated social media officer:
I manage Wiltshire’s main social feeds daily; tweeting, re-tweeting, networking, sharing, posting. Our Twitter & Facebook following has increased three-fold since January and I’m also supporting the 2012 events feeds with colleagues.
I’m always trying to spread the message that our social presence isn’t just there to ‘push out press releases’ it’s an opportunity to share everything the council does in the community, and, to talk to those communities. This sees me continually building relationships and networking with colleagues & teams across the council.
I’m the main contact for anyone thinking about using social media in their work, providing focused advice and guidance. For me, it’s important to meet everyone in their work environment and understand what they do as a team. I love encouraging ideas and creativeness, and I love to ask ‘what would you do if you could?’ this often leads to fantastic outcomes.
I’ve set up a working group for colleagues to come together and share stories, ideas and questions between each other. I’m hoping this will keep the enthusiasm and potential of social media in our council growing.
Many of my colleagues have come to me to say ‘I know we have potential to use this well, but I don’t even use Facebook at home!’ so I do a lot of one to one training on how to use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other sites.
We’re working side by side with customer services – a great group of customer service officers help monitor and respond to queries on our facebook and twitter feeds. We meet regularly to share ideas, look at what’s changed and feedback about what we can do to improve. They’re wholly trusted with managing the responses they send on the council’s behalf and it adds another string to their bow.
Alongside all of that it’s important I find time to keep up to date with all the changes to the different sites and that I keep an eye on what’s on the horizon; looking for new possibilities.
This is a new post and it’s evolving as the months go by but we continue to achieve ‘firsts for Wiltshire Council’ as we start to open up to the possibilities social media offers. Most importantly; we’re dedicating time to connecting and communicating with people.
Natalie Luckham is social media officer with Wiltshire Council.
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