Social media can be highly organised by campaigns people... but let's not forget that this is also about making the most of things that crop up unexpectedly.
by Rob Simmonds
Social media isn’t just about carefully planned campaigns, with scheduled posts and key messages. It’s also about seizing opportunities as and when they arise, without worrying about getting corporate sign-off or managerial clearance.
If you want easy social media content just get out there and as soon as you see a Council branded vehicle or a bloke picking litter, take a picture and tweet it.
Boom, job done!
By happy chance I spotted one of our Parks & Open Spaces vehicles clearing some scrub, so I stopped and grabbed a quick snap on the iPhone.
Trouble was I made the mistake of referring to it as a digger rather than a tractor.
Of course, someone instantly replied to correct me. So, rather than opting for the standard Local Govt po-faced apology ‘we are very sorry for our misidentification of the vehicle in question’ I decided to throw it over to the Twittersphere to decide what it was - RT for tractor and Favourite for digger.
What ensued was a most entertaining exchange with a whole bunch of Twitter users about the difference between a tractor and a digger. Happily one of our councillors (@CllrPaul4Cowick) made a Storify of the whole thing so you can see for yourself how it went.
The lesson here is that even if your social media posts don’t get the response you were expecting, be prepared to take advantage and have a bit of fun. It might not be deeply important information about a Council service - although that’s sort of what I started out trying to do - but it puts a human face on your account and that’s good, hard currency in social media land.
Go on, have a laugh with your residents, even if you don’t know your tractor from your elbow.
Rob Simmonds is consultation officer at Exeter City Council.
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