By Kristy Gogolka – LGAQ Social Media and Corporate Communications Officer
What’s the right content? What’s the right channel? What do my followers want to see? Will I post too much? Will I post not enough? Do I post to all the channels and someone please explain to me what on earth TikTok is?
In my role I get asked these types of questions all the time. As a newly elected member, it’s now your perfect opportunity to be exposed to the benefits of social media and how you can take advantage of it to build your personal brand and connect to you community.
I can talk to you all day about why you should be on social media - but I wanted to show you an example of how someone has taken advantage of the platforms.
Meet @CrNancySommeerfield - a councillor at Toowoomba Regional Council. For those who don’t know Nancy, she is innovative, candid and real on social media; the top three qualities for a social media presence.
Nancy has been active on social media since 2012. She jumped on the platform when she was elected - to create, meet and talk to her community. Nancy posts about the meetings she attends, what she's reading and learning, and her activities in the community.
The life of a councillor is varied, busy and often complex, that’s why social media is a great platform to educate, update and connect with your community. In fact, Nancy told me about the fires that happened up at Peachey (near Toowoomba). Nancy drove there after a function to find the roads were blocked so; she posted a video about this and received an overwhelming response about how valuable this update was for her community.
Nancy is what I like to call ‘active’ in the world of social media. Nancy will regularly update and post on her platform. This is critical in maintaining an online presence. People don’t want to follow an account unless there’s something in it for them. We all carefully choose who to follow whether it’s because of their personality, the content they post or because we know the person. These days people value transparency online. Nancy is a great example of sharing real content to her community and her followers really appreciate it.
Nancy uses each channel differently; she thinks about her followers and why they might be following her. Nancy uses Instagram to post aesthetically pleasing images and videos, she uses LinkedIn for business purposes, Twitter for quick alerts and sometimes tweets during a council meeting and uses Facebook for functions she attends. We live in a society so focused on #livingyourbestlife however, if you show your community the real you, that’s so much more powerful than you think.
Central to Nancy’s approach – was to firstly identify what she stood for and zone in on that. Think about your speciality within local government and talk about that. You know your job better than anyone else and will be the best person to talk about this with your community as a trusted thought leader.
If you’re still not sold about having an active profile, then consider how your community gets their news or community updates. If you team up with your Council and focus on educating the community you live in about what you’re wanting to do for the town then, your community will really appreciate being updated. With a new term under your belt, now is the perfect time to set up a profile for these platforms.
Remember, be innovative, be real and be candid. The top three qualities for a successful online presence.
So, happy posting everyone and welcome to local government!