Social media manager gives tips for councils

Helen Reynolds, who works as digital and social media manager at Monmouthshire Council, recently spoke to the Guardian, where she said that she keeps up with technology via Twitter and podcasts, and is obsessed with Google Glass which she believes “could revolutionise the way that we function, particularly as a council, because it might well allow us to provide training in people’s homes rather than having to send them to courses.”

Her job includes helping the council come up with good content for its new website and she has also used an online tool called Yammer, an Enterprise Social Network, to help foster carers who complained of being isolated and uninformed.

According to her, social media can also help with recruitment: “Our children’s services team were looking for a new head. We wanted to get across the kind of organisation we are, so we used YouTube to interview members of staff and talk about the realities of the job.”

She says budget constraints might not necessarily be a bad thing for her job: ”Budget cuts mean that we have to use free tools, and often they’re the most effective ones.”

Her advice to those who handle their council’s social media channels is simple: remember that you are a resident as well. “You need to be a human being, and talk like a normal person.”

Moreover, councils need to keep in mind that “A website isn’t the online equivalent of the brochure that you used to have – it’s a completely different thing. And social media is not marketing. You can’t just tell people things and talk at them; you have to expect people to talk back and get involved in conversations.”


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