SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY

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1 SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY October

2 Contents 1. Background 2. Channels 3. Use 4. Management and Administration 5. Analytics and Reporting 6. Communication and Employee Engagement 7. Timeline Appendices Appendix 1 Social Media Policy Statement Appendix 2 Guidelines for employees Administrators of the Council s Social Media accounts Appendix 3 Guidelines for employees Personal use of Social Media 2

3 1. Background The Council s first Social Media Strategy was approved in August 2011 and led to the establishment of a Council Twitter account in late 2011 and a Facebook page, established in Spring Messaging through social media is instant and can be wide reaching. In addition to the registered followers of a social media account, if these followers share it with their own networks, the reach for messaging can be substantial. It is therefore essential that the Council s Social Media accounts are effectively managed, monitored and administered. In the first Social Media Strategy 2011, the decision was taken to use social media channels to broadcast information but not respond to followers. A policy statement to this effect was published on the Council website and on each social media account. Followers are regularly reminded that to report issues or seek further information, they should customer services or phone on Social Media is an ever evolving communications tool that can be effectively used for publicity alongside traditional media releases and promotional campaigns and is being incorporated into communications plans for projects and campaigns. However, Social Media is effective for more than just publicity and promotion and through the right channels and with the right management, can effectively be used for engagement and two way communications. Now that the Council s Twitter and Facebook corporate accounts have been well established, the timing is right to start engaging with our customers through these channels, developing two way communications and responding to comments, enquiries and requests. In addition, the roll out of the ICT Strategy approved towards the end of 2012, will allow all Council employees to have access to social media accounts from their Council computers. The inclusion in this strategy of updated guidelines for employees on the use of social media is therefore timely. The Council received a four star award from SOCITM this year for its website and one of the on-going recommendations of SOCITM is for councils to continue to develop their social media presence and to integrate and effectively promote their social media accounts on the corporate website. This strategy addresses this. Hosted software exists to support the effective management and administration of the Corporate Social Media accounts and the roles of various services are clearly defined in this strategy. This strategy outlines: Social Media channels to use How those channels will be used Management and administration arrangements Analysis and reporting Employee engagement and communications Timeline for implementation 3

4 This strategy includes: Social Media Policy Statement (Appendix 1) Guidelines for employees Administrators of the Council s Social Media accounts (Appendix 2) Guidelines for employees Personal use of Social Media(Appendix 3) 2. Channels The Council currently operates two social media accounts, through Twitter and Facebook, following the approval of the first Social Media Strategy in August These channels enable the Council to distribute written messages and information to the customers who sign up to engage with us through these channels. With the overall aim of ensuring the Council makes best use of social media, council accounts for the following will be established, to enable customers to engage through social media that covers the written word, video, photo and audio. The channels that will be adopted are: Twitter (current) Written word, messaging restricted to 140 characters Facebook (current) Written word You Tube (new) Video (including film footage, animation, powerpoint etc) Flikr (new) Photo sharing and storage Audio Boo (new) Audio channel for messaging 3. Use Having now established a social media presence, and seen a steady growth of people signing up to these accounts, the time is right for the Council to use the broader features of social media, and establish two way communication and engagement with those who choose to communicate with the Council in this way. This enhances the opportunity to engage with the Council through the Click aspect of the Customer Service Strategy as customers can communicate in a meaningful way, expecting the same customer service standards of response as they can through making contact through the website or by . In addition to using Social Media channels for day to day publicity and campaigns, this Social Media Strategy 2013/15 defines that social media channels will also be used for the following: Broadcasting information Emergency communications Responding to requests Engagement and consultation 4

5 4. Management and Administration of corporate accounts Software is available to effectively manage social media activity, including posts, comments and feedback and the wider reach of messaging through followers sharing Council information with their own groups of followers. Of the tools available, Crowd Control is the most widely used by local government, fulfilling the social media site management, administration and analysis requirements. In order to effectively use social media channels to respond to customers, a wide range of employees require different levels of access to the sites. Crowd Control effectively manages this and enables the administrators to carry out different functions within the social media sites and is also able to generate comprehensive reports on the effectiveness and reach of communications and engagement. Corporate Communications will continue to manage the Council s Social Media channels, including password management and using the channels to provide information to followers on key issues, campaigns and in emergency situations. Customer Services will be trained in the use of Twitter and Facebook, and will monitor these written word sites for customer enquiries, comments and requests, responding to these in the way that they would in responding to similar customer enquiries, comments and requests by or by telephone. As Customer Services is a 24/7 service, this means that enquiries, comments and requests can be responded to within 24 hours improving customer service delivery and ensuring that those who contact the Council through social media are responded to in acceptable timescales. 5. Analytics and Reporting Appropriate software will be acquired that will enable the social media account managers to prepare regular reports, as required, to assess the effectiveness of social media channels in reaching customers. Analysis will be able to be undertaken to assess individual campaigns as well as the drive to encourage more customers to sign up to receive information through social media. Comparisons will be made over time to analyse how customers engage with the Council, either through traditional communication channels or through social media channels, and findings will be used to inform future strategies. Social Media will also be included as an element of future customer satisfaction surveys for communications. 6. Employee engagement and communications To ensure that employees are aware of the new Social Media Strategy, an engagement and communication plan will be delivered. The plan will take account of the need to communicate to all employee groups in line with the key aspects of the Employee Guidelines. 5

6 The Strategy has been shared with Trades Union colleagues through our approach to Partnership at Work. Ongoing discussions will take place with the Trades Unions at key stages of roll out and ongoing developments in Social Media. A Leadership Information pack will be available on the Council s Leadership Quick Place site and will be cascaded to all managers and team leaders, for onward communication to their teams. An Employee News will also be issued to All EDC users and printed and distributed to those without access, with the Employee Guidance attached. A training programme for those involved in the administration of the Council s social media accounts will be implemented as outlined in the Social Media Policy (Appendix 1) and the Guidelines for Employees Administrators of the Council s Social Media Accounts (Appendix 2). Guidelines for all employees on the personal use of social media have also been produced (Appendix 3). 7 Timeline June & July Liaison with Trade Unions on Social Media Strategy 31 October Social Media Strategy submitted to Council November/December New social media accounts established November/December Appropriate software purchased and training undertaken November/December Training programme developed January Training of Customer Service team February Elected Member Workshop February Roll out of internet (including social media) access to employees February Launch new approach to Social Media February Communications campaign advising customers of new approach 6

7 Appendix 1 Social Media Policy Statement 2013/15 The following Social Media Policy statement defines how the Council will manage its social media presence and will be published on the Council website and a link to this page provided on all Council Social Media accounts. 1. Social Media Accounts East Dunbartonshire Council will operate the following social media accounts: Channel Twitter Facebook YouTube Flikr Audio Boo Type Written word, restricted to 140 characters Written word, can also post photos/video Video, including film, animation, power point Photo sharing Spoken word messaging 2. Content 2.1 Written Word The Council will issue written word messages through Twitter and Facebook both instantly during the working day and also by scheduling messages through social media management software outwith these times. Emergency information will be issued 24/7 as required. Content will also be generated from RSS feeds from the Council website Those who register to receive information from the Council s Twitter and Facebook accounts can expect to receive the following: Direct and scheduled massages on key issues and campaigns Information on Council activities and events Information on road closures and traffic disruptions Emergency information on all issues including service disruptions, school closures, adverse weather etc RSS feeds (direct feeds from published content) from news content published to the Council website Invitations to provide feedback on specific issues on which we are consulting Occasional live coverage of events (e.g. election counts) Shared information from other organisations that the Council feels is relevant to its customers 2.2 Video Video content will be produced to promote key issues and support key Council campaigns and policies through the YouTube account. Visualisation of messages through video can increase customer understanding and enhances messages issued through other communications channels. Video content can also be used through the television monitors in Council reception areas and in the Community Hubs. 7

8 2.3 Photo Photos will be published to flikr around key themes and key campaigns which the council is delivering. Flikr enables followers to post their photos too, and there is an opportunity for the Council to engage with residents, and increase awareness of issues and campaigns through flikr, enhancing the other communication channels used. 2.4 Audio Audio messages can be used to complement information being communicated through other channels. By providing audio messages, the Council is increasing the accessibility of information and meeting the requirements of the Accesible Information Policy, and the Council s commitment to equalities. 3. Engagement with other organisations through social media The Council will follow or like the social media accounts of other relevant organisations, including but not exclusive to: Scottish Government COSLA Community planning partners, Other councils Partner organisation Media organisations Organisations relevant to key initiatives and campaigns Organisations or individuals who follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook, will not automatically be followed or liked back. This is to: Enable those who administer the Council s social media accounts to prioritise who is responded to and when Avoid wasting resources on spam handling Manage the content of the Council s accounts in terms of what will automatically be displayed Being followed or liked by the Council does not imply endorsement of any kind. 4. Administration and Availability The Council s Social Media accounts will be managed by Corporate Communications and will be available to customers 24 hours a day. Corporate Communications and Customer Services will have access to the administration of the accounts, and access will be managed through hosted social media management software. Information will be issued through the social media accounts by Corporate Communications both directly during office hours and 24/7 using message schedule tools. Emergency information will be issued 24/7 as required. 8

9 Customer Services will monitor customer comments and feedback and respond accordingly 24/7. 5. Feedback, Reporting, Complaints and Comments In line with the Council s priority to promote the click, call, come in approach to customer services, social media channels provide an additional communication channel for customers to provide feedback to the Council, report issues or make comments and complaints. Customer Services will monitor the social media accounts for reports, comments and complaints and deal with these in line with existing customer service standards. Replies to customers will be provided in line with approved guidelines, detailed in section 6 of this policy. 6. Replies to Customers Guidelines for employees who manage and administer the Council s social media accounts have been produced (Social Media Strategy Guidelines for Employees who administer the Council s accounts). Template responses have been prepared to respond to customer feedback and enquiries and training will be provided to all those who respond to customers through social media, to ensure consistency in language, tone, content and timing of responses. Training will also include guidance on when issues need to be escalated through the appropriate channels. Replies to customers will be made within a target of 24 hours and where appropriate, customers will be advised that further engagement will continue through other communications channels such as and telephone to ensure the protection of personal information and details. 7. Access to Social Media by Council Employees In line with the Council s ICT Strategy, all Council employees with access to the Council s ICT systems will be able to access social media from September Guidelines on the personal use of Social Media have been produced (see Appendix 3 of the Social Media Strategy). These include: Being aware of content people may post to their social media accounts (directly and indirectly through other associations) Who they accept as friends of their accounts Awareness that people may know they work for the Council even if they do not include this information on their account A Leadership Information pack on Social Media will be issued to the Council s Leadership Forum members for dissemination through their teams. All employees will also be provided with copies of the Guidance for Employees on the Personal Use of Social Media directly through Employee News. 9

10 Employees involved in the administration and management of the Council s social media accounts must also follow the relevant ICT and information security policies and the Employee Guidance for administering and managing the Council s social media accounts. Employees who do not comply with the guidelines set out for managing and administrating the Council s social media accounts may be referred through the Council s Discipline at Work and Code of Conduct Policy and Procedures. Any breaches of the social media guidance for personal use will also be dealt with through the Council s usual Discipline at Work Policy and Procedures and Grievance Policy and Procedures (as detailed in the Personal Use Guidelines). 10

11 Appendix 2 Social Media Guidelines for Employees Administrators and users of the Council s Social Media Accounts 1. Introduction The Council s Social Media Strategy sets out how the Council will use Social Media to engage with customers and identifies the social media platforms where Council accounts will be established. These are: Facebook Twitter You Tube Flikr Audio Boo Whilst social media increases the range of communications channels which the Council can use to engage with residents and customers, there are also risks attached. The onward distribution of material cannot be controlled, and once posted to an initial target audience, material can be posted anywhere through the networks of each individual in that audience and beyond. For this reason it is essential that the Council has a clear strategy for social media use and these guidelines, which form part of that strategy, have been developed to ensure appropriate use of social media in the workplace and through personal use. 2. Overview These guidelines have been developed to protect the reputation of the Council and provide guidance to employees on the effective and safe use of the Council s social media accounts for their own protection. These guidelines apply to all those who are involved in the management and administration of the Council s social media accounts. These employees are based in the Council s Corporate Communications and Customer Services teams. 3. Management of Council Social Media accounts The Council s corporate profiles on social media channels will be established and managed by the Corporate Communications Team. Council employees considering the use of, or wishing to use, social media as a channel for a Council project or campaign should refer to the Social Media Strategy. In most instances, it will be appropriate for a Council campaign or project to be delivered through the Council s corporate account. Where a project specific campaign is established on a social media channel, this must be developed in discussion with the Corporate Communications team, be required for a 11

12 specific and defined period of time, comply with the Council s logo and brand guidelines and have clearly established management and monitoring procedures in place. 4. Engaging with customers through Council Social Media accounts Council employees with administration responsibilities for the Council s social media accounts, and who reply directly to customer enquiries, comments and requests, will be based in the Corporate Communications and Customer Service Teams. They should all observe the following: Do not use their personal social media identities for this purpose. Log-in to the accounts should be: o Directly to the account by Corporate Communications o Through the appropriate software purchased to manage the accounts Be aware that an organisation may be held responsible for something an employee has written or said if it is on behalf of the organisation or on organisation-sanctioned space Check the validity and appropriateness of statements from other websites or social media channels that are being re-tweeted, re-posted or linked to the Council s corporate accounts Be aware of when to escalate an issue that has been notified through social media, through usual escalation channels Never request or disclose personal information or details through social media channels Be aware of when to advise customers to communicate through more secure channels such as and telephone Access to the Council s social media accounts and permission to respond to customers through these channels will only be provided once the relevant training has been undertaken. 5. Training Training will be provided to all those who will be involved in engaging with and responding to the public through social media. Training will include: Overview An overview of social media and the social media accounts that the Council operates. Language and Tone A guide to the language and tone to be used in Council responses will be provided. Social media traditionally uses less formal language than some written communications and guidance on this whilst meeting Council standards and customer expectations will be provided. Template Responses Template responses will be provided to enable standard responses to common enquiries to be issued. The bank of template responses will be continually reviewed and added to in line with the nature of enquiries and requests received through social media. 12

13 When not to respond The Council will not respond to spam postings, abusive postings and guidance will be provided on whether to respond or not, and where to seek further guidance if in doubt. Inappropriate or abusive social media accounts can be blocked from posting to the Council s account. Escalation of issues The usual escalation channels when dealing with customers will apply, and those responding to customers through social media will be reminded of this. Security and Data Protection The nature of social media requires extra vigilance in the avoidance of disclosure of personal details and confidential information. 6. Complying with Guidelines Employees involved in the administration and management of the Council s social media accounts must also follow the relevant ICT and information security policies. Any employee who does not comply with the guidelines set out for managing and administrating the Council s social media accounts may be referred through the Council s Discipline at Work and Code of Conduct Policy and Procedures. Any breaches of the social media guidance for personal use will also be dealt with through the Council s usual Discipline at Work Policy and Procedures and Grievance Policy and Procedures (as detailed in the Personal Use Guidelines.) 13

14 Appendix 3 Social Media Guidelines for Employees Personal use of Social Media 1. Introduction The Council s Social Media Strategy sets out how the Council will use Social Media to engage with customers and identifies the social media platforms where Council accounts will be established. These are: Facebook Twitter You Tube Flikr Audio Boo Whilst social media increases the range of communications channels which the Council can use to engage with residents and customers, there are also risks attached. The distribution of material cannot be controlled, and once posted to an initial target audience, material can be posted anywhere through the networks of each individual in that audience and beyond. For this reason it is essential that the Council has a clear strategy for social media use and these guidelines, which form part of that strategy, have been developed to ensure appropriate use of social media in the workplace and through personal use. 2. Overview These guidelines have been developed to protect the reputation of the Council and provide guidance to employees on the effective and safe use of social media for their own protection. These guidelines apply to all Council service areas, all employees engaged on Council business (including those working with partners), and personal use of social media where it could be deemed to have an impact on the Council s reputation. 3. Council accounts on Social Media channels The Council s social media accounts will be established and managed by the Corporate Communications Team. Council employees considering the use of, or wishing to use social media as a channel for a Council project or campaign should discuss their requirements with Corporate Communications. In most instances it will be appropriate for the campaign or project to be delivered through the Council s corporate account. Where a project specific campaign is established on a social media channel, this must be developed in discussion with the Corporate Communications team, comply with the Council s logo and brand guidelines and have clearly established management and 14

15 monitoring procedures in place. 4. Personal use of social media channels It is important that employees are aware that posting information about the Council cannot be isolated from their working life. Any information published through social media can be accessed around the world within seconds and will be publicly available for all to see. The Council s ICT Strategy will allow employees to access social media channels from their work computers. This strategy will be rolled out from September These guidelines apply whether you access and comment through your social media accounts from a Council computer or your own device. If you already make reference to your employment in the Council on a personal social media site, or you intend to create such a site, you should follow the advice below: Be aware of the Council s Social Media Strategy, Policy Statement and guidelines for using social media Having identified yourself as a Council employee, do not engage in activities through social media channels that might bring the Council into disrepute Never reveal information which is confidential to the Council and never include contact details or photographs of service users or employees without their permission. Consult your manager if you are unsure Where possible, do not accept service users or ex-service users as friends on your site or engage with them There are specific safeguarding issues that employees who work closely with children or vulnerable adults need to be aware of. It is recommended that any employee with concerns regarding these service users should seek further advice from their line manager, both for the protection of their service user(s) and themselves Under no circumstance should offensive comments be made about the Council, Members, service users or colleagues Be mindful of the time of day you make comments or posts through your social media accounts and the perceptions others may make from this Consider setting up separate role specific social media accounts to represent your views for any particular role you carry out/represent, rather than use a generic personal account In using a social media site for personal use, you should also be aware of the following: Even if you do not identify that you work for the Council on your social media accounts, people who know you or know of you may be aware of this and associate any comments you make with the Council. Be aware of the potential risk of accepting friends to your account. The comments of friends or friends of friends may be visible through your social media account and you may therefore be associated with these comments. Be mindful of the security of your social media account. Ensure you use a secure password, never share your password with anyone and if you believe your password has been compromised, ensure that you change it. 15

16 Although you may not directly copy the Council in, the Council s social media monitoring software will flag up any reference you may make to East Dunbartonshire (the area or the Council) Use of social media, and the roll out of internet access through Council computers will be incorporated into the Council s ICT acceptable use policy and employees will be asked to sign up to that. This is current practice on joining the Council. Any breaches of the social media guidance will be dealt with through the Council s usual Discipline at Work Policy and Procedures and Grievance Policy and Procedures. 16

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