Video is becoming increasingly used by people to consume media. Blame the smartphone which makes it easy to shoot and watch video. But are people watching content from their council? In Birmingham, yes they are.
by Geoff Coleman
Over the last year or so, the talk at most public sector comms events has been about how video will shape our future. I’m sure you all know the stats about how 70 per cent of the web will be video by 2017.
But do people want to watch videos produced by their local council?
I’d say yes they do and recent experiences at Birmingham City Council have convinced me more than ever that continuing to develop and refine our video work is the way to go.
In May we produced a number of videos covering topics like community events, fly-tipping, cycling, community cohesion and of course the elections. Some of these videos were ‘of the moment’ while others will have a longer shelf-life and we’ve already recorded over 52,000 views. Not bad considering all the work was done on the office iPad and our phones.
Those views came via a number of channels, notably Facebook (over 40,000) and Twitter (around 6,000). One video featuring a community clean-up in the Sparkbrook area of the city was viewed over 25,000 times on Facebook alone.
Now that video took around an hour to shoot and maybe 20 minutes to edit, so I’d say that was a productive use of my time as a local government comms officer.
We’ve been using video for quite a while now and, while we’re not going to win an Oscar anytime soon, I think we are learning from the experience and producing better (shorter) content. Once we have that content we’re making the most of it – using the films across YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Instagram.
Not only that, but we send the finished MP4s to media partners – traditional media or local bloggers – so they can upload to their own platforms and get the hits to keep advertisers happy. That’s fine by us, so long as our content is being used. And if we can produce films that inform the public, promote council services and shine a light on our fantastic partners across the city, I’d say that yes video is a big part of our comms future.
Brilliant #bhampartners work today as residents joined forces to get #Sparkbrook sparkling #CleanerBrum http://twitter.com/BCCNewsRoom/status/729650135395934209/video/1 …— Birmingham Newsroom (@BCCNewsRoom) May 9, 2016
Geoff Coleman is social media communications officer with Birmingham City Council.
Picture credit: YLE / Flickr