Tag Archives: Social media

Digital Communication Awards 2013

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It’s been a while.. Since the last time I blogged, a lot has happened. The most significant change being that Tales from the North East moved South- I moved from Newcastle to London, therefore the name of this blog had to be changed slightly!

Another very, very important thing that happened in this time, is that I was shortlisted for a Digital Communication Award for my master thesis,  “Social media in the Public Sector: Hit or Miss? A comparative study on the effectiveness of social media as a PR tool”, which I consider a great honour and true testament that if you love what you do, great things can happen.

Hosted by the Quadriga University of Applied Sciences in Berlin, the Digital Communication Awards are the first awards in European PR and communications that exclusively honour outstanding achievements in online communication. There are 38 award categories that cover all disciplines from social media communications to digital public affairs and explore the full range of the profession, providing a comprehensive look at exemplary best cases. 

In its third year, almost 600 applications from 38 countries were submitted for the Digital Communication Awards, and we all presented our digital communication projects and campaigns to an international jury. Unfortunately, due to a series of unfortunate events, I was unable to showcase my work in the way I would have wanted to.

However, overall it was a great experience and I can’t thank Quadriga University enough for their kind invitation and impeccable hosting. Meeting a “jury of legends” -as they were called in my head- was humbling and thrilling at the same time. A massive thank you should also go to Northumberland & Monmouthshire County Councils, as well as many UK PR professionals who contributed to my research.

The gala ceremony was hosted at Berlin’s Meistersaal. Stars like David Bowie, U2 and Depeche Mode once turned the stunning Meistersaal into a modern legend. The charming presenter Hadnet Tesfai led through the evening, making every winner feel comfortable on stage and the show unforgettable. The event itself was a great opportunity to meet a lot of interesting people within the PR and Communications industry from around the world and talk about their work and their -shortlisted or winning- campaigns.

The experience of joining the Awards this year benefitted me more on an academic level- a few days after the ceremony, I was contacted by a person working on a project in the Energy Sector of US Government, interesting in my research. In my opinion, sharing best practice is one of the best things that one can do, that is why I was not only flattered but truly interested in helping. Digital media strategies in the public -and energy sector- is a very intriguing matter and to see more and more people looking into it is a massive step forward. As an extension to this, I was also invited to speak to a conference in Canada next year, and hopefully I will be able to share some information in the immediate future.

Going back to the event, do I wish I’ve done certain things differently? Every day. Would I do it again? Absolutely. And better.

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For more information on the awards, you can visit http://www.digital-awards.eu/.

You can download the complete list of the winners 2013 here.


Facebook versus Twitter in the public sector

Maria Loupa has created this insightful infographic exploring the use of Facebook and Twitter in the public sector as a means for Councils to connect directly with their audiences. It is based on her experience working in various local authority roles in the UK.

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easel.ly

The infographic was created using easel.ly. Its a neat cloud based service for building online graphics.

About the author
Maria Loupa is a communications intern at Northumberland County Council. She is a highly motivated communications practitioner and advocate of social media as a means of audience engagement. You can connect with her via her blog Tales from the North East, LinkedIn or Twitter @mpfalangi.

*As published in http://wadds.co.uk/2013/03/13/guest-post-facebook-versus-twitter-in-the-public-sector/


Tips on social media for local government

 

In some cases local government and social media don’t mix. Many councils haven’t been actively using Facebook and Twitter and that has to change. It can be a long and complicated process. Here are some tips to get you started.

by Maria Loupa 

Plan ahead

  • It is vital to understand that SM should form part of an overall comms plan

A comms strategy should be already in place and social media will be integrated gradually into it.

You need to comprehend the mentality behind each channel; each organisation is completely different and tools need to be customised to its needs. You need to experiment and see what works; different tools might apply to particular campaigns.

  • You need to consider your social media involvement carefully; once you decide to go for it, you have to go all the way.

As we recently heard from #RUDay ‘You can’t be half pregnant’. If you are not prepared to put the resource and effort behind social media, maybe it’s not for you. Lack of time shouldn’t be an excuse, as social media are gradually becoming part of the press office duties at the very least. Tweetdeck, Sendible and the likes can be used to schedule posts.

Don’t forget that social media channels have to run as a constant campaign, which is occasionally customised to each project’s purposes; messages have to be consistent and coherent and a combination of the tools helps achieve best results.

  • There has to be at least one devoted social media person able to understand how social media work, and you might want to start considering implementing a social media policy or guidelines for the rest of the staff as well.

Tweets and posts can for sure be deleted, but once they go live they can be retweeted and shared, and there’s no recovering them. Also, people respond best to authentic communication; so it’s advisable to use a more personal tone even on official profiles- in moderation-.

Keep in mind that it is best not to have more than 3 accounts in each channel because it will be hard to keep them regularly updated, plus it will confuse people and discourage them from using them

  • Evaluation and measurement

Evaluation is part of the planning procedure; what is the point of implementing a strategy if you can’t measure whether it’s effective or not? The key principles of social media presence are: Listen, Measure Understand and Engage, and you will definitely need an evaluation and measurement tool to follow them. The list is endless, you just have to find which one works for your organisation:  Google analytics, Tweetstats, Backtype, Nearbytweets Netvibes Social Oomph, Radian6, Sprout social, Hoot suite, Google Insights, Social Mention,  Sysomos… even Facebook Insights can get you started!

Most of them can produce reports, conduct comparison with competitors, search conversation history, etc. and give the opportunity to:

i.         check the competition- see how other councils are doing; there is hardly any virgin birth anymore, so why not see what worked best for someone else and give it a try.

  ii.         Monitor conversations about your council; what is your audience and what do they say about you? You could even use Twitter’s much under-estimated Search feature for that.- Understand your audience in order to be able to engage with them effectively.

Practical tips

Facebook:

  1. Works best to promote future events/announcements, as it allows more long-term involvement on thread.
  2. Competitions/surveys are also most effective on Facebook, as it allows for more visual elements; an image is more powerful and will generate much more click-troughs than plain text.
  3. The first few lines are the most important ones; hook your audience, use capitals, slogans & abbreviations if necessary to keep their attention and click through to read more. If you are including a link (esp. to link back to your website or your other social media channels), make sure it’s within these lines.

If the link is too long or confusing use a Bitlly or Tinyurl to shorten links and make them more memorable. Customising links will make evaluation easier too as they can be better used by the relevant tools; by allowing you to access analytics and see how many people are clicking on your links. This is information that you often wouldn’t have access to when posting links on social channels.

4. There is a time and a place for everything. Avoid posting to Facebook after 8 p.m. and before 8 a.m., and on the weekend.

Links posted from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. result in the highest average click through, with the peak time of the week being Wednesday at 3 p.m.

5. Communicate information without spamming; the last thing people want is log on to Facebook to find an endless line of posts from the council on their Timeline; they will most likely either unlike the page or they can now customise their settings to hide updates from your pages.

 For Twitter:

  1. The old KISS rule applies (Keep it short and sweet) – Tweets must be under 140 characters, however try and keep it around 120/125 to allow for re-tweets.
  2. Use abbreviations where possible to avoid wasting characters- use figures and symbols where possible.

Sometimes grammatical sins have to be committed, but due to the nature of the organisation they have to be kept at a minimum- opt for most widely used abbreviations instead of making new ones up!

Twitter works best with real time events/announcements and a more Q & A approach, and can be very effective to start conversations and initiate two-way communication. Since it is by nature much faster paced than Facebook, it is possible for people to skim past tweets and miss them. In order to tackle that and remind to your audience of an event, it is advisable to tweet about it multiple times with slight word variations but in moderation- avoid spamming.

3. Use dedicated hash tags for specific campaigns, or whenever you consider it appropriate, in order to increase the visibility of your tweets

4. Part of Twitter savoir-faire- If you retweet someone, add RT; if you RT  and edit it change the RT to MT

5. The best time to post to Twitter is in the afternoon, early in the week—from 1 to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.The peak traffic times, are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday.

Last but not least, both Facebook and Twitter can be used to drive traffic to the website and as excellent customer service tool.

Any feedback or additional thoughts will not just be welcome but appreciated!

Maria Loupa is comms intern at Northumberland County Council.

*As published in http://twoheads.squarespace.com/comms2point0/2012/12/20/tips-on-social-media-for-local-government.html


Hitting the Headlines – Media Trust Spring Conference

Sometimes a summary of a conference leads to the loss of its immediacy. Therefore, Storify can tell the story of Media Trust’s Spring Conference better than I do, so I will let it do the talking. Follow the narration through tweets and pictures taken on the day and get a taste of what took place at the Museum of London on the 29th of March.

[View the story "Hitting the Headlines - Media Trust Spring Conference" on Storify]


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