The launch event, opened by Jan Britton, Chief Executive of Sandwell Council and IEWM Board Lead for Transformation, was very well attended by communications professionals and social media experts from across the region and beyond. The paper has featured in various regional and national media and so far, the microsite has been accessed over 5,800 times. Below you will be able to find some videos and presentations from the day and read feedback notes from the afternoon unconference discussions around Tactics, Training and Trust.
Welcome from Jan Brittion, Chief Executive of Sandwell Council and IEWM Board Lead for Transformation
Why a White Paper? by Pete Jackson, IEWM
Introduction to the case studies by Dan Slee, comms2point0
Why is the West Midlands ace when it comes to Social Media?
Example best practice case studies from Best by WM
Social media: A broad approach from a communications team by Jon King, former Shropshire Council employee
The benefits of an open access social media policy by Fran Collingham & Alison Hook, Coventry City Council
Improving resident contact through social media by Emma Rodgers, Staffordshire County Council View Emma’s prezi here.
Telford & Wrekin Council and bloggers from Lightmoor Live and Telford Live by Russell Griffin, Telford & Wrekin Council
Using social media on the frontline as a countryside officer by Walsall Council countryside officer, Morgan Bowers
Headline survey results by Darren Caveney, comms2point0
Feedback from discussions
Best by West Midlands launch: A discussion on Trust
During a break-out session at the launch of the BestByWM white paper, I led an open-space style discussion on the theme of of trust. Participants included local government communications officers, a council chief executive, and consultants who, like me, work with the public sector to assist their social media use. I started by quoting the Chief Constable of Leicestershire, Simon Cole, (@CCLeicsPolice) who famously once said:
“I trust my officers with an ASP baton, CS Spray, handcuff and firearms. I should be able to trust them with a smartphone.”
It was similarly felt important that local government and other related organisations show trust in their staff’s use of social media. After all, they are trusted to use the telephone, and often to speak at public meetings, without prior approval of each utterance. They are of course expected to avoid bringing their employer into disrepute, but if a council doesn’t need a stand-alone telephone call policy, then it probably doesn’t need a social media policy either. It’s also important that staff who are new to social media – or who are in organisations new to social media – are offered training and support. They should know who they can ask for advice if they’re not sure how to respond to a query, or, in the worst case, if they’re subject to abuse or harassment. After all staff should not only be trusted, but be able to trust their employer! Most important of all, it’s vital that managers realise that social media won’t fix deeper organisational problems. If staff aren’t trusted in their other roles, or aren’t empowered to act with a degree of autonomy, then the use of social media probably won’t be successful. Trust needs to permeate the workplace, not just its social media.
We also discussed how council can earn the trust of their social media audiences – including their partner organisations, but chiefly their citizens and visitors. Avoiding spin is key; whether the account is corporate or used in the voice of an individual front line worker, the approach should be conversational, and on a human scale. If the employee doesn’t know the answer to a question, a prompt and honest holding response (“I don’t know; but I’ll find out and get back to you in a few days”) is far more reassuring to the enquirer than no response, a bluff, or an invitation to fill in a web form or deflection to some other medium. And of course staff should only speak of what they know and not repeat rumour or hearsay. This is especially
important in times of crisis.
by Andy Mabbett
You can also watch summary feedback given by facilitators, Andy Mabbett, Simon Whitehouse & Dan Slee below.
Dan and Darren about the Paper and working with IEWM
Some examples of how the White Paper and the Best by WM microsite have featured in the media: