Social media trends in local government

Published: 6th November 2020

By Mel Kettle

Social media for government can be a game changer. We’ve seen how people are glued to Twitter each day for the commentary around Victorian Premier Dan Andrews daily media conference (and, to a lesser extent, the Queensland Premier’s frequent announcements).  

It’s events like COVID when social media channels such as Twitter come into their own. It provides an opportunity for people to find out what’s happening and to empathise with each other about the bad bits!  

Richard Branson says, “Embracing social media isn’t just a bit of fun, it’s a vital way to communicate, keep your ear to the ground and improve your business”. 

One of the biggest advantages of social media is how it helps build and strengthen relationships. It's a great tool for building awareness, earning trust, finding out issues within your community and for reaching people during a crisis. Engaging with people over social media is an incredibly easy way to make them feel valued and important. 

What do we need to consider when it comes to social media in the future?  

How can we make sure we stay on top of the latest trends?  

And what should we be thinking about as we head towards 2021?  

social media


1. Have a communication mindset 

Everything we say or do communicates something to someone somewhere. How you communicate is determined by your mindset. Organisations – and leaders – with a communication mindset consider how, what, when and where they communicate for each activity undertaken. Communication is at the centre of all they do. As so much communication is now in real time thanks to social and digital media, having a communication mindset is even more critical.  

2. Encourage your leaders to have a strong digital presence  

CEOs, directors, and elected officials with an active social media presence are seen as more influential. What does this mean? It means you become more known. And when you’re more known, more people want to work with you, buy from you, give you things and do things for you. Leaders with a strong digital presence (internally and externally) also:  

  • have greater influence and are more trusted 
  • have greater stakeholder reach 
  • have a better reputation and increased revenue 
  • have better employee communications  
  • are seen as more open, honest, respectful, friendly, spontaneous and personal  
  • are considered to be better listeners  
  • are perceived to be more forward-thinking.

3. Video will continue to dominate 

Video content is the most popular form of content consumed and is continuing to grow rapidly. According to research by Cisco, 82% of all online content will be video content by 2022. Video should be a core part of your communication mix, whether short-form such as TikTok or Stories, or longer form on Facebook, LinkedIn or YouTube. Video can be used for storytelling; live and interactive streaming with stakeholders; showing how and what different people and roles in Council do; demonstrate social proof; educate people.  

In particular, ephemeral video content that is only accessible for a brief period, such as on Instagram and Facebook stories, is a great strategy to generate FOMO (fear of missing out) as it is designed to extract an immediate response from the user. 

4. Leveraging user-generated content  

User-generated content is content created by a brand’s user and can include social media posts, reviews, testimonials, comments, images, videos, podcasts and more. It can be awesome, awful or average. Think about how you can leverage the awesome:  

  • Create a hashtag campaign 
  • Take the positive reviews and add them to your website  
  • Ask questions on your social media posts 
  • Use user-generated content on your social media posts – check out Tourism Queensland @queensland on Instagram – it’s all user-generated (with permission of the creator of course!) 

How are you using social media? Are you taking advantage of these opportunities?  

About the author 

Mel Kettle is an expert at communication that builds trust. She understands how to create strategies that have immediate, meaningful impact. With more than two decades of experience in strategic communication and leadership and a unique educational combination of a Master of Business (Marketing) and a Master of Public Health, Mel is a valuable asset to leaders and teams that want to achieve real connection and sustained engagement.