Nathan Watson is the Communications Manager at the City of Albany Council in Western Australia. He’s friendly, forward thinking and passionate about using technology to benefit the City of Albany community. Watson has provided an important user case for Brolly, as an early adopter and experienced communicator, his team has been using the system for the last 8 months. We asked him about why social media is important for the City of Albany and discussed some of the challenges local government faces when recording their social media engagement.
Brolly: How do you use your social media channels and what challenges do you face?
Watson: We use our channels primarily for community engagement. We also have an obligation to communicate with the public about who we are, what we do and why we do it.
It’s also the best way to keep everyone aware and up to date about the latest news in the city. Our posts usually promote events and partners. We also use social media as a destination marketing tool.
It can be challenging because it is such a public space, we have to monitor pages that are owned by other people, as the public will jump on there and air their grievances about a road closure. It’s important that we can be part of these conversations and when we do need to get involved, it’s generally a better experience for the community.
Brolly: What requirements do you need to meet?
Watson: We understand the importance of our social media conversations and how they fit into the larger context of our organisation. Anything that we generate within the community and any content we publish in the public realm is a record and should be captured as a record.
It’s an important part of history and it’s also a record of what we’ve done. It could also be important evidence of conversations or actions we took, should it ever be required.
Out there in the social media space if someone is having a general conversation about the City of Albany we aren’t required to capture it as a record, but if we engage with it, we do need to. Brolly has been great for capturing these conversations on the City of Albany’s social media pages. It’s easy to search for and pull up interactions within the system and having everything in one feed allows you to see what is happening across all your platforms at the same time.
How did the City of Albany record their social media content prior to using Brolly?
Watson: We didn’t systematically record our social content, occasionally if there was an issue that received a lot of attention or if we’d had a conversation that needed recording – or any negative feedback – we would just screenshot it and then upload it to our ERDMS (Synergy Soft).
This meant we were recording on an ad-hoc basis, it wasn’t a huge challenge to manage it but it did take valuable time and resources to capture and record. As a large council with a small communications team, it wasn’t viable long term to allocate a resource to capture all of the City of Albany’s social media activity.
We have six Facebook accounts as well as Instagram and Twitter pages that we need to manage and we found that trying to search for records Facebook pages was time-consuming and not always effective.
Brolly: What has been an unexpected benefit of using Brolly?
Watson: At the City of Albany we need to complete a number of grant acquittals that require us to showcase the media that the city has been able to generate for that particular event or project.
Some grants have specific requirements around social posts and we’ve been able to capture them and utilise them for this purpose.
We use Brolly to search content from social media, including conversations. It’s quick and easy to call up social media record history within the system and gives us confidence that the records are captured. We’re far more compliant than we were before and it’s great to be able to search through and use the records.
The best benefit of using the system is the confidence we can call on all our records easily and quickly at any time, knowing it’s running in the background and saving the data from all our pages.
It’s been an interesting year for the City of Albany, who have engaged more on social media, than ever before.
If you would like to find out more about managing your social media records or would like to try Brolly, get in contact today.