A new white paper, called 'Best by West Midlands', which highlights best practice use of social media across local government in the West Midlands, is being launched today.
We’re a smidge biased but we happen to think that West Midlands’ local authorities are pretty hot when it comes to their use of social media.
So when those nice people at Improvement and Efficiency West Midlands gave us the opportunity to back that statement up with a white paper on best practice we leapt at the chance.
Improvement & Efficiency West Midlands (IEWM), who support local government, commissioned comms2point0 to: carry out a survey of the local authorities across the region; to capture great examples of their innovative use of social media; and then to write a bespoke white paper in order to share that knowledge with the region, and beyond, for free. What’s not to like?
31 local authorities completed the survey and the resultant white paper is supported by a free online resource featuring over 30 case studies.
There is much to admire across the case study examples and the survey has highlighted a genuine culture of innovation all aimed at improving services for residents.
But, as always, there are still issues and areas for further work. Barriers do still exist in some places and trust and training emerged as clear issues.
Headline survey results at a glance…
- All West Midlands councils have at least one Twitter and one Facebook account
- 85% of respondents said that is very important that their councils uses social media
- 92.5% said it is very important to use social media in their roles
- Yet only 37.5% claimed their council’s usage was high
- And only 25% claimed that their council’s use of social media was effective
- 47.5% of communications people said that their personal use was high
- Training and trust are the biggest barriers to greater use of social media today
- Only 15% of respondents said that there were no barriers
- 85% of councils have members who use social media
- The figure for senior managers who use social media is less than half this, at 32.5%
- 42.5% of councils do not have an up-to-date social media policy or guidance
- 97.5% of responding councils expect their use of social media to increase
- The most mentioned examples of good practice came from Police forces across the West Midlands,Walsall Council’s use of social media, #WMGrit and Coventry City Council’s Facebook page
We believe this case study, and the supporting website, will help both the seasoned professional and the uncertain senior officer.
Thanks to everyone who played a part in pulling together Best by West Midlands.
And because of their belief in the opportunities for innovation offered up through social media, IEWM has created a ‘New Ideas’ fund which local authorities in the West Midlands can bid for. All it takes to warrant a bid is a bright idea which can improve services for residents. In these tough economic times it’s genuinely brilliant that this funding has been made available for local authorities.
Let’s hope other organisations around the UK follow IEWM’s pioneering lead.
Darren Caveney is co-creator of comms2point0 and vice chair of LGcomms