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A lovely story in this weekend’s Scotsman newspaper, Sir Chris Hoy and his wife Sarra celebrating their baby son coming home from hospital. It had all the right elements a nice photo, gratitude from both parents for the care received from hospital staff, and thanks to
I’ve been involved in the social media management of incidents many times, mostly flooding on behalf of the Environment Agency but also fires, and a major power cut too.
Yesterday was my first experience from the other side, as a resident and also as one of the admins for social media accounts in my local area.
I woke up to this tweet from Solihull Police
The A452 Kenilworth Road is currently closed between Alder Lane and Meer End Road due to an ongoing police incident. Avoid the area.
— Solihull Police (@SolihullPolice) June 27, 2016
The location is about half a mile away from my house and so I retweeted the information on my own and the @balsallcom Twitter accounts. I assumed it was a traffic accident and didn’t think too much more about it, until I saw some posts in a closed Facebook group of school mums indicating it was something very different. Shortly after that there were local news reports about the situation that I shared on both Twitter and Facebook.
The incident was resolved around lunch time, and later in the day I was able to share confirmation that the road was open and the mother and child were no longer on the roof.
Experiencing this as a resident, there were three key things that I think it highlighted:
1. Hyperlocal social media channels are really important to communicate in an incident
They are the best way to engage with those that need to know what is happening. The road in question is a busy one in and out of Balsall Common; the social media accounts for the village reach large numbers of local people who were then able to make alternative plans for their commute, school run, and other journeys. The Facebook post alerting people to the incident reached nearly 6000 people. From Facebook insights I can see that people reached and engaged this week live largely within a few miles of Balsall Common.
2. Don’t trust the wider media to pass on information correctly
The Daily Mirror got the geographical information horribly wrong. But even ITV Central had the wrong location on their map. Presumably they’d googled Kenilworth Road, Balsall Common and then uploaded the result to their website. Unfortunately they did this without realising the road is a few miles long and the pin was at least half a mile out of place. The true location was off the bottom of the screen shot they’d taken – not helpful for drivers and others needing to navigate around the incident. Also worrying for people living near the pin.
3. Organisations need to tell people when an incident is over
From a practical point of view drivers and others need to know whether the road is open or not for their journey home. There was also huge concern for the woman and her child locally. Fellow mums and other residents were anxiously waiting to find out whether the situation had been resolved. Informally some of us found out from nearby residents but it was a while before we had official confirmation from a trusted source. Thanks to West Midlands Fire Service for letting us know via Facebook. Solihull Police sent a great initial tweet alerting people to the situation with precise road closure information, but more than 24 hours later that is still the most recent tweet they’ve sent.
A dramatic day and one that I hope isn’t repeated any time soon. Another local resident, summed up the thoughts of us all perfectly.
— Norman McKeown (@normanmckeown) June 27, 2016
I attended a fascinating event today organised by Facebook to help businesses get more out of both Facebook and Instagram. The key messages were make sure your content and your business or organisation is mobile friendly and video is crucial to success – but soon you’ll need think about virtual reality and augmented reality too.
I’ll write up more of what I learned and share ideas you can try, but in the meantime here are 10 quick stats that were shared today.
1. 3 million advertisers use Facebook
2. Yet there is still huge potential, only 10% of all sales go through the internet
3. Smart watches are twice as fast as 1980s computers
4. There are more smart phones in the world than there are people on the planet
5. 63% of UK web browsing is done on a mobile
6. 45% of video views globally are on a mobile device
7. There are 30 million Facebook users in the UK; 93% of them only use it on a mobile
8. 6 of the top 10 apps downloaded worldwide are messaging apps
9. In 2015 more pictures were taken and shared than in the whole of the last 100 years; Instagram users alone share 80 million pictures a day
10. Facebook is very much about friends and family and two way relationships, on Instagram 54% of following is non-reciprocal.
Twitter hours are a fantastic way to network with other local organisations and businesses. They are an hour of the week where you can guarantee other people will be on Twitter, looking at your tweets, and tweeting interesting things for you to read and share. All you have to do is tweet at the allocated time and include the hashtag in every one of your tweets during the hour. Sounds simple but they are often very busy so can be a bit daunting if you haven’t joined in before so here are my top tips to get involved.
1 Watch and Listen
Before you dive in, search Twitter for #solihullhour, see what comes up, who gets involved, which tweets catch your eye and why?
What do you want to say? Can you explain who you are in one tweet? The limit is 140 characters but by the time you’ve added the hashtag, an image and a website link, you’re down to around 75. Can you condense your crucial information to one sentence?
3 Use a laptop or desktop
While you get to grips with Twitter networking it is much easier if you use a computer rather than phone or tablet. A bigger screen makes it easier to follow the action and keep track of who is saying what and how your tweets are being received.
4 Try Tweetdeck
Tweetdeck is a great Twitter tool that allows you to have separate columns for notifications, searches, and anything else you choose. It can be really useful to help you to manage your twitter activity particularly during networking hours. You don’t need anything other than a Twitter account to get started.
5 Be social
Social media is supposed to be social, so reply to other tweets, ask questions of your audience, and retweet other people’s messages. If you want other people to help to share your news and information it is polite to share theirs too. You wouldn’t go to an in-person networking event and only talk about yourself – would you?
And finally, always say thank you!
#SolihullHour takes place from 7-8pm every Tuesday evening
Other local Twitter hours to try are:
#Kenbizhour 11-noon on Tuesday mornings
#LeamingtonHour 4-5pm on Wednesday afternoons
#KenilworthHr (note the Hr not Hour at the end) 7-8pm on Thursday evenings
#CovHour 8-9pm on Thursday evenings
#BrumHour 8-9pm on Sunday evenings
Who do we trust? Not Facebook itself, that’s for sure. Another round of sharing of this status recently shows how suspicious we are of Facebook’s motives.
It’s interesting that we have such a low opinion of Facebook itself, ready to believe the latest story of how they’re going to make money from us or invade our privacy.
On the other side it also highlights how much we do trust what our friends post on Facebook. One of the main reasons people cut and paste the information is because they trust their friends who first posted it.
As a business or organisation if we can tap into this trust, build a reputation via Facebook, and have our supporters share our information it can have huge benefits.
A couple of weeks ago I needed a plumber as there was a leak under our kitchen sink. To find a plumber I asked the school mums Facebook group I am a member of. On a Thursday evening, within five minutes, I had four people reply, three of them recommending the same plumber. By Friday lunch time he’d assessed the problem, and by Monday lunch time he’d fixed it.
Unfortunately he doesn’t have a Facebook page or website but I did manage to find some contact details in an online directory. I’d love to be able to tell people how fabulous he was and leave him a 5* review but am sadly unable to.
Stacey’s business, Make up by SPR, does have a Facebook page, filled with great recommendations, lovely photos and easily accessible contact details. When a request went into a Solihull Mums and Dads Facebook group for a make up artist, Stacey was recommended by a number of people and they were able to link to her Facebook page, making it really easy for the person to get in touch with her. Stacey was booked, and this is the way a lot of people find her and her business. She is listed by Facebook as being very responsive to messages so potential customers have confidence that she will be in touch with them quickly.
Personal recommendations have always been vital to any business or organisation but today people look to Facebook and other social media channels for those recommendations, a good digital and social media presence can really enhance your reputation and allow customers to quickly and easily show their support for and recommend you and let other people know who they trust.
For more social media news and views you can like my Facebook page.