On this page you will find information on:
- Content Principles
- Content Creation
- Management and Administration of corporate accounts
- Support and Training
- Analytics and Reporting
- Employee engagement and communications
- Councillor Engagement
The Council launched its first social media accounts 10 years ago, in 2012 and since that time has steadily grown its reach and following. In August 2022, the Councils Twitter account had 19,702 followers and Facebook 21,358 followers.
Social media remains an important digital communications channel. A YouGov Survey in 2022 identified that 86% of the UK population use social media, with a breakdown of the most popular channels as follows:
Facebook 46.1 million users (70% of the population)
Instagram 40 million users (66% of the population)
You Tube 25 million users (38% of the population)
Twitter 20 million users (30% of the population)
LinkedIn 17 million users (26% of the population)
In East Dunbartonshire, Facebook continues to be the Councils best performing social media channel in terms of followers and engagement. Whilst Twitter is declining in popularity at a national level, the Council following, reach and engagement remains strong locally and it continues to be an important channel for messaging and engagement.
In addition to Facebook and Twitter, the Council also operates a YouTube channel, primarily for hosting video content and for streaming Council and Committee meetings and launched a LinkedIn account in 2021 and an Instagram account in 2022. To best connect with the target audiences for each channel, content and messaging is developed and differentiated for each channel audience and content type, rather than the same messaging being issued across all channels simultaneously.
Whilst national trends identify growth in newer social media channels such as SnapChat and TikTok, particularly with the younger demographic, research also suggests that these audiences do not want to see Council content through these channels. National data and emerging channels continue to be reviewed and monitored by the Communications & Engagement Team to inform the Council’s approach to social media use.
With the continuing growth of online audiences, the Council does not simply broadcast information through its social channels, but uses them as a key element of its approach to digital communication to communicate, engage and collaborate with our target audiences:
Communication: Directly communicate important and timely messages, news and information, promote events and improve awareness of services by providing direct digital access to them.
Engagement: Seek opinions, share conversations and better engage with residents. We can help to improve residents’ knowledge and correct misconceptions.
Collaboration: Find more efficient ways of working together and sharing information across strategic partners which can enhance partnership working and demonstrate the effectiveness of working together.
Residents are increasingly using the directing messaging and communication functionality built into social networking sites to contact us with queries and complaints regarding service-related matters. Ofcom research carried out in February 2020 shows that messaging is now increasingly moving onto online messaging services.
Messaging through social media is instant and can be wide reaching. In addition to reaching the registered followers of a social media account, if these followers share messages with their own networks, the reach for messaging can be substantial. It is therefore essential that the Council’s Social Media accounts are well planned, effectively managed, monitored and evaluated.
In addition to defining this Council’s approach to social media management and use, this strategy also includes the following three appendices:
- Appendix 1: Social Media Policy Statement
- Appendix 2: Guidelines for employees
- Appendix 3: Guidelines for Elected Members
The Policy statement will be published on the Council website and a link to it provided from all Council social media channels. The guidance documents for employees and for elected members outline key advice for using social media in both a business and personal capacity.
We currently operate five social media channels through which key information and campaigns are promoted.
In addition, the following accounts are supported by the Council for EDLC Trust:
The Council also manages an East Dunbartonshire Provost Facebook and Instagram account for the Civic Office, launched in 2022:
Knowing the audience for each channel is key to differentiating which kinds of content to promote on which channel.
In 2022, Facebook (including Facebook Messenger) remains the social media site with the highest reach among online adults aged 18+, and the site on which users spend the most time.
It also remains the Council’s most widely followed channel, but with new channels added in recent years, the Communication & Engagement Team continue to grow followers across all channels. Monitoring and evaluation continues across all channels to determine the most effective messaging, engagement and reach and to support channel growth.
New platforms and emerging digital technologies that become available will be considered, and if appropriate, added as a channel for communication and engagement.
This strategy supports the Council’s wider approach to communication, consultation and engagement, and customer services delivery.
Our strategic approach to the use of social media will help us to meet our organisational objectives and help our residents and customers to best access and use our services and to engage effectively with the Council.
In addition to using Social Media channels for day to day publicity and campaigns, this Social Media Strategy 2022-26 defines that social media channels will be used for the following:
- Broadcasting information (Communications & Engagement)
Including Council services, events, project milestones and partnership activity
- Campaigns (Communications & Engagement)
Local, national and relevant campaigns from partners
- Emergency communications (Communications & Engagement)
- Responding to requests and enquiries (Customer Services)
Including private and direct messaging as well as public posts and comments
- Engagement and consultation (Communications & Engagement)
The Social Media Guides for Employees (Appendix 2) and Elected Members (Appendix 3) provide further guidance and advice on social media use.
Key principles in our approach to our content for social media channels are defined in the headings below, defining that we will:
Accessible and approachable
- Be open and honest, human, friendly, helpful, with a balance between being professional and fun (where appropriate)
- Use the most appropriate tools for the intended audience. Consideration will be given as to the platform(s) most suited to the message
- Ensure that our tone of voice is friendly, active and approachable
- Consider how to tailor content to meet the needs and preferences of particular groups
- Make text and visual content accessible, in line with accessibility legislation using subtitles and image descriptions where possible
Clear and consistent
- Ensure that posts across multiple channels are co-ordinated and consistent
- Be clear and concise, using Plain English and avoiding jargon
- Use graphics, pictures and video content to support clear messaging
Relevant and timely
- Ensure information is up to date and communicated regularly
- Strive to provide the right information at the right time
- Be flexible and responsive to unforeseen events or circumstances
- Ensure that all social media activity follows any pre-election period principles
Proportionate and targeted
- Tailor our content to suit each individual platform using current intelligence about social media algorithms to enhance engagement
- Avoid blanket messaging across all platforms, unless it is the most effective use of resources or the urgency of the messaging requires this
- Include relevant hashtags and tags where appropriate
- Use the paid for/ targeted posts where appropriate to ensure people are getting the information they need, always evaluating effectiveness
Social media channels are extremely busy with significant competition to ensure messages reach their target audiences. The most engaging messages are therefore the most effective. The following factors must be considered when deciding if social media is the best way to convey the message:
- Is it relevant?
- Is it interesting or significant?
- Is it in tune with what’s happening in the organisation?
- Is it about people?
- Is it appropriate to share with others?
- Will it inform or educate people?
- Is it likely to change the way people think, feel or act?
These points also apply when sharing messages from the accounts of partner organisations.
Targeted advertising can be used to increase engagement, or promote key events, activities or initiatives to specific audiences. Targeting can be determined by a range of demographic and geographic factors including, gender, age and location.
The Communications & Engagement Team can advise on targeted advertising and boosting social media posts to support promotional and campaign activity. Paid for targeted messaging must be agreed and budget confirmed with the relevant service manager. All paid for messaging is evaluated for effectiveness and to inform future approaches.
A social media management tool is used for the effective administration of the Council’s social media accounts. The management tool brings the Council’s accounts together on one platform, with a dashboard that can readily show current posts both from and to the Council. It facilitates the response to customer service enquiries, both publicly and through direct messaging, and ensures that an audit trail is in place for who posts what and when. It also automatically removes posts with offensive or inappropriate language.
The analysis and metrics element of the tool is essential for the evaluation of social media performance and can measure the reach and engagement of posts and can be set up to analyse individual campaigns as well as overall performance across each of the social media channels.
The Communication & Engagement Team manage the Council’s Social Media channels and are the administrators of the social media management tool. This includes providing access rights to employees in other service areas to communicate through the Council’s social media accounts and supporting them on its use. The Team also support the management of the EDLC Trust social media channels through the management tool.
This approach manages risk and ensures that all those involved in delivering communications and engagement through social media management are aware of appropriate use, know what to do and when and can escalate issues to communications and engagement as required.
As a key requirement for the effective delivery of the Council’s social media accounts, the appropriate procurement process will be adopted to ensure that an appropriate management tool is contracted to meet operational needs. The contract for the current provider, SoCrowd, ends in 2023 and the process for replacement or renewal will begin in Autumn 2022.
The Communications & Engagement Team will continue to provide training and support in order to promote best practice and help maximise engagement though social media.
Training will be provided to all those who will be involved in engaging with and responding to the public through social media and currently includes the Customer Services Team and EDLC Trust employees identified to engage with customers through the EDLC Trust social media channels. Training will include:
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 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. These will be stored in the Council’s social media management tool.
When not to respond
The Council will not respond to spam postings or 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.
The Social Media Management Tool enables reports to be prepared as required, to assess the effectiveness of social media channels in reaching customers. Key data in relation to social media performance and effectiveness is reported each month, through the Communications Monthly Update to CMT and the Council Leadership Team, through the monthly performance reports for Business & Digital Support Services and six-monthly and through HGIOS reporting. Campaigns and themes of particular interest are highlighted.
Social media analysis of individual campaigns will also be carried out and is used to measure and report on the effectiveness of this channel alongside other communications channels, to ensure an appropriate mix of communications across digital and more traditional approaches is used.
Social media can also be used to encourage participation in consultations and surveys and to drive traffic to the Council website. Website statistics will be analysed to determine how much traffic has been generated through social media to determine the effectiveness of our digital approach and inform future activity.
A Guide to Social Media for Employees is attached at Appendix 2. This includes advice and guidelines for those who use the Council’s social media channels and also advice and guidelines for personal use of social media. The guidelines for personal use include important considerations whether or not an employee states that they work for the Council in their personal social media accounts.
To ensure that employees are aware of this updated Social Media Strategy and the new Guide to Social Media for Employees, a Leadership Information Pack will be issued to the Council’s Leadership cohort. This will be followed by an Employee News to advise all employees of the Social Media Guide for Employees which will be published on the Employee Zone of the Council website. Managers and team leaders will be asked to ensure all employees are aware of and have a link to the Guide.
The Strategy will be shared with Trades Union colleagues through our approach to Partnership at Work.
An awareness session on the Council’s approach to Communications and Engagement, including social media, was held for elected members after the local government elections in May 2022.
A Social Media Guide for Elected Members, first produced in 2015 but updated in 2022 after the Scottish local government elections, is included at Appendix 3. It includes information on the relevance and effectiveness of key social media channels for elected member consideration and guidance on social media use. It was distributed directly to elected members by the Improvement Service and remains available on the Improvement Service website.
Elected members seeking further advice on social media should contact the Communications and Engagement Team at: email@example.com
The Communications & Engagement Team can provide further information and support in relation to social media management and use and can be contacted as follows:
Customer, Performance & Communications Manager
Communications & Engagement Team Leader