The power of social media
By Rachel Afflick - Burdekin Shire Council media and communications officer
The growth of social media has had a huge impact on the way councils communicate and creates new opportunities to engage more closely with our communities than ever before.
Only five years ago I was working as a newspaper journalist when our publication hired its first dedicated social media editor. Talk about a brave new world. Just a few short years later this has become the norm and many companies are deploying staff and resources into this area because they recognise the value of social media as a communication tool.
Since commencing as the Media and Communications Officer at Burdekin Shire Council, working with social media has been an essential part of my role.
As part of a smaller, rural council I am the sole Media and Communications Officer on staff and one of my greatest challenges has been juggling the social media needs of my organisation with all the other day-to-day media and communications activities required. In saying this, I believe that taking the time to grow our social media capacity has been well worth the effort and I have been fortune to have received great support to do so.
Social media allows councils to engage with their communities in new ways. It presents new opportunities to promote our shires and cities as vibrant places to live and provides a platform for active discussion and the exchange of ideas.
Councils are understandably keen to take advantage of everything that social media has to offer and are taking fantastic strides in this field.
In my own experience of using social media professionally, I have found it to be a constant journey of discovery. The ways we use social media platforms are evolving all the time. There is always something new to learn, be it keeping up with the latest trends, trialling new technologies and expanding into new platforms.
People use social media to connect with others – their friends, their neighbours, their communities. Time and time again, I have found our council’s most successful social media posts are those that put people at their centre. Our customers want to see photos and videos featuring people they know and they want to be able to interact and engage with that content.
My other advice is just to be creative and have fun. Unlike traditional communication channels which tend to be more formal, social media is a great opportunity to inject some humour, connect emotionally, or build rapport. Posting content with an emphasis on strong photos and powerful storytelling is a great foundation for achieving this.
Local Government Association of Queensland
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