Blog article /4 MIN READ

How social media archiving fits into local government digital transformation

While many councils are going through digital transformation, social media is the often neglected poor second cousin of the records world.

Local Government in Victoria is having a challenging  year in 2020. We’re seeing key thinkers in the area of digital transformation agree that the challenges come hand in hand with opportunities and solutions that will ultimately benefit councils and the people they serve.

Not only are councils navigating the newly introduced Local Government Act (2020), ‘The most ambitious and comprehensive reform of local government in Victoria for 30 years’, but they’re doing it in an election year, and with Covid-19 in play as well.

In a September 2020 media release, the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) acknowledged the work that councils are already doing in the area of digital transformation, noting that “the pandemic hit at a time of digital innovation and fast-moving technological development is one small mercy.”

Supporting this observation, at Brolly we’ve seen a consistent increase in social media usage by local government during the pandemic. While in most cases, there was a peak of activity in March and April that has since evened out, usage is at higher levels now than it was prior to Covid-19. And for Victoria, with so many councils facing additional lockdown and movement restrictions, councils continue to rely heavily on social media and other forms of digital communication to stay up and running.

A PWC report titled ‘Where next for accelerated digitalisation and data resilience’ provides a clear-cut assessment of our changing digital landscape, and of the permanent change in our expectations as customers and citizens. Not only “digitalisation is desperately needed – at scale – to help heal the nation’s financial wounds” but also “rapid digitalisation has changed consumer expectations forever. From telecommuting as the new normal, to online service delivery for medical care, Australians now want – in fact, expect –digital solutions.”

Which brings us to social media, and how Brolly can help.

Why social media?

The sudden acceleration of digital communication, and the fire and health emergencies that drove it had councils reaching for the communication and engagement tools already in their toolkits. It’s no surprise that usage of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube increased. Mayors spoke to citizens via weekly YouTube live streams. Lockdown restrictions and roadmaps were posted on Facebook and Twitter, support groups were formed and moderated using Facebook groups, and local library story times were offered via Facebook streaming. 

We saw quick adoption by those councils that weren’t already connected, and rapid scaling by those who were. 

The tools are free to use. They are also easy to use, and they are everywhere. People carry Facebook and Twitter with them in mobile devices, as well as on computers and even voice activated tools like Siri. People access social media wherever they are, including while doing other things like watching television or travelling. For fast effective communication, that’s likely to reach the people you need to talk to, social media was a ready-made channel that was already working and was purpose built for connection and engagement. 

Consider your social media conversations in your organisation’s digital transformation plans

The other side of the coin is not so straightforward. When a local council has a social media conversation related to the business of running a council, that conversation is a digital record, and that means recordkeeping.

Recordkeeping involves capturing, preserving and being able to access the record if required, while knowing that it’s secure and compliant with privacy regulations.

While many councils are going through digital transformation right now, and either well along their journey or just taking the first steps, social media is the often neglected poor second cousin of the records world. Records and information managers may understand the need to manage the records created during Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn conversations with council customers and ratepayers, but the tricky part is knowing how – particularly as those accounts are managed by the social media team.

A social media archiving tool like Brolly is actually the perfect solution. It’s secure, 100% Australian owned and operated and provides archives that are compliant to the requirements of Australian bodies such as the National Archives of Australia (NAA) and the Public Records Office of Victoria (PROV). It doesn’t require technical implementation or integration with your other systems so can be kept separate from other digital transformation decision making, and then integrated at a later date. Web-based, easy to access and providing valuable data-driven insights into your social media activity, you will also find that while Brolly gives you recordkeeping compliance it also adds value to the communications team, with insights, alerts, tagging and exports that support the work they do.

How is your council managing social media in their digital transformation project?  If you’d like to find out how Brolly can help simplify this part of the puzzle, contact us for a chat, or sign up for a free trial to see for yourself.