How often is your team asked to create new social media accounts? And how often do you say no?
by Lauren Kelly
You may recognise the scenario: Exciting new project team comes to the communications department to tell you that “we’ve set up our twitter account”, @MissingAllElementsOfYourCouncilbrand, and now we’ll be spending a sizable budget that the corporate comms team can only dream of, promoting our project messages.
I call them ‘tick box Twitter accounts’ – accounts which arise from certain projects or campaigns
Now there are a number of problems with these tick box twitter accounts…
- They have a set timescale which means they will become dormant
- They have a project team running them, which is similar to the above, but with the addition that energy and enthusiasm can run out as day jobs take away the required attention
- Password owners often leave before the corporate team get hold of them, meaning they become dormant, unmonitored and at risk
- They often have a budget that could build the corporate account very effectively and reach a whole new community of people
- These sizable project budgets, are sometimes spent on external digital agencies as corporate teams have their workloads, or can’t meet the needs of the project, meaning the expertise and knowledge is not developed and nurtured in-house
Why does any of this matter?
In a time where budgets really matter, return on investment is crucial. Knowing what works and doesn’t can help you in reaching as many people as possible organically.
When you set up new tick box twitter accounts, you dilute your corporate account, taking what could be valuable and engaging content away, and attracting new followers to a separate account at a time when you could be building up your corporate one.
When the Tour of Britain came to Cheshire East I dug my heels in, armed with my tick box twitter account speech, I fended off a separate, shiny new twitter account. Why? Because the content was for seven months and, after the event, we would have had an account that would be dormant until a political decision made to bring the tour back again.
By ensuring that the content went through the corporate account, not only did we grow it in terms of followers, we also increased both the engagement and reach of our non-Tour of Britain related content. Maintaining control allowed us to track success, monitor and be involved in conversations. We also managed to calculate the ROI effectively. Plus, it was great content that corporately we should be using and learning from.
Avoiding tick box twitter accounts
We have developed a business case for all new twitter accounts to go through, allowing a critical friend challenge to all projects as to whether they do need a new account.
If they don’t, it helps to start a conversation about the best way to integrate the content into the corporate account.
So far it’s been very positive. We’ve challenged four new account requests –instead feeding what is corporate messaging through the main @CheshireEast account – and allowed a new one with service commitment to be set up.
The new business case itself has been well received by services and project teams and helps us to move forward with a digital strategy that aims to grow the corporate channels, audiences and reach more of our residents.
Sometimes, saying no can deliver better results than saying yes.
Lauren Kelly is marketing and social media officer at Cheshire East Council
image via Thomas Hawk