The conventional advent calendar with a chocolate behind the door? So last year. Many organisations have taken a Christmas route to delivering seasonal messages.
by Zara Bishop
It may not have chocolate inside but our #MertonAdvent calendar is going down a treat on social media.
The inspiration for the countdown to the festivities came from Christmases past – our Merton Memories photographic archive, which charts the history of the borough during the last 150 years. More than 15,000 images have been scanned in as part of this major Heritage Lottery Funded project. People love old photographs of the local area and we have found that digital black and white pictures from the collection have trended on our social media channels when we have previously used them to illustrate stories.
As well as celebrating Merton’s heritage, each daily post highlights a council service with a seasonal twist and a link to the relevant website page – all in 140 characters or less.
The purpose of the #MertonAdvent calendar is to showcase a range of council services which make a difference to people’s lives and to celebrate the hard work of our dedicated employees who provide them in diverse communities across the borough.
Our #MertonAdvent calendar is a great opportunity to get our partners involved in sharing the posts relevant to our joint initiatives. We have also successfully used it to engage with the council’s local and regional partners on social media as well as local government trade press.
Meanwhile, inside Merton Civic Centre, we are using the #MertonAdvent calendar as an internal communications project, encouraging staff to get involved by liking and sharing the posts on their personal social media accounts.
Merton Council’s Twitter and Facebook and Instagram pages are key channels to get our messages out to people who live and work in the London borough, raising awareness of all the exciting initiatives in the area and the council’s role in making them happen.
We aim to significantly increase the reach of our social media accounts during the present Christmas season through the #MertonAdvent calendar by using the black and white photographs from bygone eras to attract more followers to spread the word and get involved in helping us to develop plans for Future Merton.
We hope you enjoy our #MertonAdvent calendar and would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas.
Zara Bishop, senior communications officer, London Borough of Merton.