Headlines: January 7th, 2013

The use of social media is rapidly increasing, but most councils are failing to exploit its potential to cut comunications budgets.

Some 74% of the population of the United Kingdom use at least one social channel. This includes between 18-24% of those over 55 years old. But a survey by Crowd Control HQ revealed that only 22% of Council officers said that training was available and 82% claimed that they were not too sure that their respective authorities have a clue at all.

Mike Langton, Communications Officer at Barnet Council said; “Social media has allowed our organisation to respond to residents’ questions and concerns efficiently, promoting transparency and openness. As a rule of thumb, we aim to respond to social media questions within the same time frame as media enquiries, demonstrating the importance and belief we have in the medium.

“By expanding our social media presence we have been able to give individual council services control of their own accounts, as they are ultimately the people on the ground carrying out the day-to-day jobs and are therefore better placed to answer resident questions than the corporate communications could ever be.”

Calum Brannan, co-founder of Crowd Control HQ said: As a result of user sharing and rapidly available information exchange; local government announcements about school closures or the gritting of roads this Winter could be ultimately more effective.

Mike continued; “During severe winter weather we have found our accounts come in to their own as we are able to relay instant up to date information to our residents informing them of gritting times and routes as well as which roads to avoid due to closures.”