Council social media strategies tend to focus on the basics – a Facebook and Twitter page. But, Damian Beaumont, eCommunications Manager at Cheshire West and Chester Council, explains that by effectively using the social media engagement and news analysis company Meltwater, residents have never seen such fast response and engagement.
According to Beaumont, “we monitor local conversations and respond to residents immediately, so the team can focus on helping and fixing issues instead of spending time researching.”
Council Social Media Helps Make the Olympic Torch Event a Success
Residents have already seen the benefit of these innovative council social media strategies. Before the 2012 London Olympics, the “torch” toured various UK destinations to share the excitement across the country. Chester was one of the chosen cities, which created buzz and boosted tourism throughout the borough. Such a huge event brings with it potential for local issues for the Council. However, by using Meltwater, the Council was able to immediately address concerns.
As an example, when attendees were arriving in Chester, the Council social media efforts alerted the team to a number of twitter comments and pictures posted by residents revealing large queues at one of the Park & Rides.
Taking action straight away, the Council was able to speak directly to the Tweeters and provide reassurance that additional buses were on their way. Reverting to an alternative plan, the council social media advised any future attendees to re-consider their route and go via an alternative Park & Ride. Equally, the Council was able to share up-to-date information about timings and inform the bus team to provide extra support. In all, the Council social media strategy resolved potential issues before they escalated which in turn meant residents were happier and the event a resounding success.
Cheshire West and Chester Council Monitor the Local Conversation to Stay Engaged
Many local authorities use social media to monitor their name using handles and hash-tags. But the Cheshire West and Chester Council social media strategy goes one step further. By using Meltwater to track keywords and observe local conversations, from comments about waste recycling collection and local hospitals, to updates on specific events (none of which even mention the Councils’ name) they are able to provide timely responses and a sense of comfort to residents on any questions they have.
“We circulate surveys to our residents to attain feedback. Traditionally, this is a large document, filled in by hand. Some people want to have their say in 140 characters and those voices are often left out of the debate. Our job is to ensure that every resident has a voice that is heard. Meltwater is one of the tools that allows us to accomplish this.” Damian Beaumont, eCommunications Manager, Cheshire West and Chester Council
The council’s priorities in 2012 are to put the customer first, deliver value for money and achieve best practice. Increasing the conversation with the community using social media marketing delivers on each of these priorities.
About Cheshire West & Chester Council
Cheshire West and Chester is a borough in North West England covering 350 square miles with a population of 329,500. The local area includes the historic city of Chester and a number of industrial and market towns.
The Council employees over 8,000 employees and was set up in 2009. They have been a Meltwater Group customer since 2008 and currently use the Meltwater News and Meltwater Buzz products.
Cheshire West and Chester Council prides itself on being an innovative organisation with a focus on improving engagement with customers, individuals, communities and partners and deliver the highest quality of services to all stakeholders.