Draft Online Communications Strategy

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Within a few short years, online communications–and social media in particular–have revolutionised communications and information-sharing worldwide, creating what some experts call the most significant shift in world culture since:

• • •

the Industrial Revolution the automobile the aeroplane • television.

Traditional methods of communication are still important but social media—conversation supported by online tools—has fundamentally changed the way our citizens discover, consume and share information and it has enabled millions of people and organisations worldwide to connect and communicate in new and innovative ways. “How can you squander even one more day not taking advantage of one of the greatest shifts of our generation?” Seth Godin, social media expert and best-selling author

Making the Shift
Social media is changing the world and changing stakeholder expectations for how they will receive information from, and engage in a dialogue with, businesses and governments worldwide. This fundamental change in how our world communicates is forcing organisations like the Council to rethink communications and marketing strategies and to learn to navigate this new online landscape —or risk being left behind. Currently, the Council focuses the vast majority of its resources and efforts on communicating with its stakeholders through traditional forms of communications and marketing such as print, radio and television. While the Council has begun to do some initial work in online communications, to date that work has been done ad hoc and without any strategy, prioritisation or corresponding shift in resources. The Council’s website, www.whakatane.govt.nz will remain its primary tool for sharing information online for the foreseeable future. However, in today’s connected world a single website is simply not enough. The Council is not taking full advantage of a number of online communications technologies that could assist in reaching its stakeholders—including a number of groups which have traditionally been found to be difficult to reach and engage, such as youth, new New Zealanders, and potential visitors and investors far beyond Whakatane’s borders. The Online Communications Strategy (OCS) positions the Council for the present, as well as the future, by beginning to make a critical shift in communications resources and strategy towards a more balanced approach to the use of traditional and online communication methods. It is important to note that this strategy is about better balancing and integrating all of the communications tools used by the Council for maximum benefit and results. It is not about getting rid of traditional forms of communications, many of which have benefits and reach audiences where online communications do not. A more balanced approach to the Council’s communications will ensure it is reaching more people, engaging more stakeholders and operating in a more open and transparent manner.

Online Communications Strategy ver1.0

26/07/10

Page 1 of 46

“When it comes to the balance between online communications and using social media channels, and whether or not to use your traditional, tried and true communications methods, social media isn’t an ‘instead-of.’ It’s an ‘in addition to.’” Mitch Joel, author, Six Pixels of Separation, April 2010

The Need for Change
By embracing the world of social media through the development of a comprehensive OCS, the Council will join online discussions that are already happening today. In combination with traditional communications, the Council will leverage these highly effective online channels to inspire, enable, nurture and facilitate more relevant, more authentic and more effective stakeholder communications and engagement. The use of social media will also help to:

• • • • • •

enhance and increase the ways the Council listens and reaches out to stakeholders improve information flow and transparency create a more informed and engaged community engage stakeholders traditionally difficult to reach enhance the Council’s customer service efforts by providing online channels for inquiries and requests enable better monitoring, tracking and evaluation of all the Council’s communications efforts.

Strategy Development
The OCS represents the culmination of more than eight months of information collection and research analysis by the Communications Manager, including peer review and input from the Information Services Manager and the Recordkeeping Team Leader. Recommendations in the strategy are based on research and analysis of more than 40 relevant topics and tools. Additionally, research and analysis was conducted into how other New Zealand councils are using social media and developing formal social media strategies and policies. Email exchanges were conducted with ten councils: eight in New Zealand, one from the United Kingdom (City of London) and one from Canada (City of Edmonton, a leader in the use of social media for information-sharing and engagement). Research identified several best practices which have informed the strategy’s recommendations in areas such as:


• • •

effective web-writing keeping web content current online graphic design online recruitment search engine optimisation.

Strategy recommendations were developed based on this research.

Online Communications Strategy ver1.0

26/07/10

Page 2 of 46

Supporting Council Strategies
Successfully implementing the OCS will enable the Council to improve information-sharing; engage more residents and be more open and transparent; while at the same time supporting a number of other existing strategies or policies including:


the Long-term Council Community Plan and Annual Plan Town Vision Community Engagement Strategy.
Consider this… Years to reach 50 million users: Radio TV Internet iPods 38 years 13 years 4 years 3 years

Strategy Outcomes
Where once organisations believed that the web and social media, and how they were used, could have a direct negative impact on their reputation, research shows that not using these tools will have far more of a negative impact on an organisation’s reputation and on its policy decisions.

Research demonstrates that more and more, people have come Facebook added one million to expect that they will be able to find and connect with users in nine months. organisations like their local government online, through realtime social media platforms. Being a part of social media will enable the Council to build relationships, trust and credibility with stakeholders, engage them in online conversation, and listen to them, in ways that were never before possible. In an age where the best and brightest talent expects to find employers of choice recruiting through social media tools; where residents want to use, and are using, Facebook to request and receive customer service; and where bloggers and their followers routinely discuss Council projects, business and decisions, the Council cannot sit on the sidelines any longer. The research conducted during the development of the OCS leads to a conclusion on the best approach to begin to shift the Council’s communications resources and strategy to a balanced approach by increasing online communications. That approach can be summed up as follows: 1.

2.
3. 4.

Start small. Do a few things well. Grow from there. Centralise responsibility for maintenance of Council social media accounts. Dedicate resources to manage and monitor content. Support staff with policy, guidelines and training.

Tools Recommended for Council Use
After research into a wide range of social media tools, the Strategy recommends the creation of Council accounts for several online tools. These recommendations are based on a number of factors, including volume of users of a particular tool, the number of WDC-based users, popularity with the general public and ease of use. The online tools recommended for use by the Council are: • • • • • Facebook Twitter YouTube Flickr LinkedIn RSS feeds (in Council into current website redesign)
26/07/10 Page 3 of 46

Online Communications Strategy ver1.0

Email signatures

Tools for Future Consideration
The OCS takes the approach of starting small, doing a few things well and then growing later. As a result, the strategy recommends that some online communications tools including blogs, podcasting and wikis, not be pursued at this time but be considered again in the future.

Tools Not Recommended
Some of the online communications tools that were examined as part of this strategy were determined to be cost-prohibitive or ineffective for the Council’s purposes and they are not being recommended for Council use at this time. These tools include: • • • Craigslist MySpace Digg Yahoo ads • YouTube ads

Measuring and Monitoring Effectiveness
Measuring and monitoring the effectiveness of the social media efforts will ensure the Council is using the right online tools, the right way—and that we are staying on top of new tools and emerging trends. It will also ensure staff time and other resources are effectively used in sharing information with stakeholders. Because social media is still so new to local governments, no specific standards for measuring the effectiveness of each tool have been developed, though best practices do exist and will be implemented. Specific effectiveness measures have been developed for each online tool recommended in the strategy. Communications will prepare an annual report to evaluate the effectiveness and use of the online communications tools which will explore any additional opportunities that may emerge, or recommend discontinuing the use of tools shown to be ineffective.

Staff Resources
In order to ensure that online and social media presence is effectively monitored and maintained, the strategy recommends that the Communications Unit serves as a centralised resource for the oversight of content creation, monitoring and evaluation of online communications tools. A single Council account will be established for each recommended social media tool from which information from across the organisation will be disseminated. Implementing the strategy and increasing the use of online communications will be supported through using existing content editors to create and monitor social media. Additionally, a formal social media training program will be developed and offered to all staff to ensure consistency in, education about, and awareness of Council social media efforts, best practices and policy.

Protection of Privacy and Personal Information
In recent months increased attention has been paid to issues of the protection of privacy and personal information online, and especially through social media networks. The strategy takes a proactive approach to addressing these issues by:
Online Communications Strategy ver1.0 26/07/10 Page 4 of 46

Council Social Media Policy Research and interviews with other New Zealand councils indicates that Whakatane District Council’s new Social Media Principles and Guidelines are amongst the first in this area.0 26/07/10 Page 5 of 46 . and social media in particular. Online Communications Strategy ver1. It does so within existing resources and through a well-thought-out and planned approach aimed at maximising the benefits to the Council and its stakeholders. consume and share information. such as • • • • • how to establish and monitor council social media sites and tools the determining of criteria for inappropriate content. but to do this on lunch hours or breaks only Also ensured is the Council’s ability to continue to meet its responsibilities for protection of privacy and personal information and for records management and retention. privacy and protection of personal information • developing and communicating Social Media Principles and Guidelines • developing and implementing social media training for staff • developing a disclaimer to be included on the Council’s Facebook page explaining criteria for inappropriate comments and reminding fans that their personal information is being managed and stored by a third party. The disclaimer also reminds users to ensure that their privacy settings are set appropriately • training staff to ensure consistent and timely maintenance and monitoring of online social media tools. These principles and guidelines cover topics related to the implementation of the strategy. The Council’s OCS responds to this fundamental shift in society by beginning to transform the way the Council communicates with its stakeholders towards a balanced approach between traditional and online tools.• developing and communicating a comprehensive Council Social Media Policy which includes specific direction about inappropriate content. Conclusion Online communications. have radically changed the way people discover. which will be removed the protocol for response to sensitive or negative posts ensuring that timely and accurate information and responses are provided allowing staff to monitor online conversations about council projects and business on work time • not allowing staff to view or update personal social media sites on work time. Expectations as to how local and central government share information and engage the the public in decisions have been changed.

That the Communications Unit reviews and revises its mandate and list of services provided to its customers to reflect the addition of social media and other online communications tools before the end of 2010. That the Communications Unit serves as a centralised resource for the oversight and use of social media sites by the Council as well as the monitoring and management of content on those sites. 5. Tools will be selected in collaboration with clients. Ongoing Review of Online Communications: 8. including measuring their effectiveness. budget and key messages of each individual plan. 2. scope. Accountability.Recommendations Council Policy and Staff Guidelines: 1.0 . Resourcing: 3. That the Communications Unit develops and delivers a social media training programme which is available to all Council staff and includes. objectives. the following information: • • • • • • an introduction to online communications and social media purpose. Responsibility. which are deemed appropriate to the specific target audiences. New and existing online social media tools will be evaluated and selected for use in conjunction with other traditional communications methods. That the attached guidelines for effective web-writing (Appendix D) be endorsed for use by all Council staff writing online content for the Council’s websites and social media pages. 6. 4. in the same way that traditional methods of communications are chosen for projects and initiatives—based on the size. That the Communications Unit develops a centralised system available to all Council staff to submit information for consideration and potential posting on social media sites. benefits and risks of using online communications Social Media Policy Social Media Guidelines for Council Staff (including netiquette) Effective Web-Writing Guidelines how to access and take advantage of the Council’s social media tools. Training: 7. That the standard templates used for all communications and project plans be revised to include specific consideration for the use of online communications tools. That the attached Council Social Media Policy (Appendix B) and Social Media Guidelines for Staff (Appendix C) be approved and communicated to Council staff. objectives and target audiences of the project. but is not limited to. 26/07/10 Page 6 of 46 Online Communications Strategy ver1.

0 . and a formal procedure for ensuring photo waiver forms are completed and filed. Twitter 12. 13. and photo credits are provided to those individuals when used by the Council. to make residents and other stakeholders aware of the Council’s use of these social media sites and to encourage them to stay informed about the Council through those networks. the Council creates a single. as well as engage them in conversation about Council business. That the Council develops and implements a communications plan focused on encouraging staff. That the Council use LinkedIn’s job boards for online recruitment purposes when deemed appropriate for the position being advertised. Ongoing Measuring. and which is used to inform and educate residents and other stakeholders. or whether changes are required. That the Council creates a pilot Council YouTube channel for posting all videos showcasing WDC. Monitoring & Evaluating: 19. That the Communications Unit engages its customers in the development of specific measurements for all online communications tools used by the Council and 26/07/10 Page 7 of 46 Online Communications Strategy ver1. Flickr 16. citizens and other stakeholders to create and submit video material for posting on the Council’s YouTube channel. That the Council provides a single. Facebook 10. That an online communications plan be developed and implemented. the Council develops and implements a detailed process to obtain photographs from other Flickr account holders. That the Council creates a Flickr account as a method of gathering photographs taken by citizens and other stakeholders for use by the Council. That. by the end of 2010. 15. identifiable individual: the Communications Manager That a review of the effectiveness of a Council Twitter feed be conducted one year from its initiation. managed by the Communications Unit and that content be published only at the sole discretion of the Council. to determine whether or not to continue the use of this tool. That the Council endorses the use of Facebook advertisements for reaching specific target audiences and demographics and to achieve the goals and objectives identified within supporting communications and marketing plans. 11. LinkedIn 18.Recommended Online Tools 9. Council Twitter feed that is maintained by a single. comprehensive Council Facebook ‘fan page’ that is monitored and maintained by delegated staff on a daily basis. by the end of 2010. 17. YouTube 14. on a one-year pilot. That.

That the addition of any online communications tools or social media sites.0 . is approved by the Chief Executive Officer on the advice of the Communications Unit prior to their implementation. That the Council not pursue the use of podcasting as a means of further examination is conducted into: • potential specific uses legal and technical concerns staff resources required to establish and produce podcasts. • • 25. 21. • • 27. but consider its use as an internal communications tool for possible consideration in the redesign of the Intranet. That the following social media tools not be pursued any further as primary tools for Council use: • • • • Craigslist MySpace Digg Yahoo advertising Google advertising YouTube advertising 26. That the Council not pursue the use of wikis as a method for communicating with the general public any further. That the Council not pursue the use of a Council blog for communicating with citizens and other stakeholders until such time as there are adequate staff and organisational appetite for use of this tool. That the Communications Unit conducts an annual review of the effectiveness of online tools being used by the Council as well as any emerging technologies or social media sites identified for potential future use. 24. That the Council use the following social media tools for online employee recruitment: • • • • • Facebook Marketplace. to be managed by Human Resources staff 26/07/10 Page 8 of 46 Online Communications Strategy ver1. Tools Not Recommended For Use By The Council: 23. for use by the Council. 20.that those measurements are focused on measuring the effectiveness and cost/benefit of each tool. That the Council’s measurements for the effectiveness of online communications be added to the annual business planning process and the collection of key performance indicators. to be managed by Communications staff Facebook employment link on Council fan book page Twitter status update. to be managed by Communications staff LinkedIn job board. 22. and • the number of citizens and demographic profile of who would use a Council podcast. including identifying the staff resource who might write. to be managed by Human Resources staff Facebook status updates on Council fan page. maintain and monitor the Council blog.

Online Communications Strategy ver1.• LinkedIn group page job boards. to be managed by Human Resources staff.0 26/07/10 Page 9 of 46 .

or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others through two-way communication.0 26/07/10 Page 10 of 46 . social networking. and forcing organisations such as the Council to rethink communications and marketing strategies while learning to navigate this new online landscape—or be left behind. The Council’s Perspective Sharing information with the public is critical to fulfilling the Council’s commitment to accountability and transparency. the Council can capitalise on an unprecedented opportunity to inspire. Online Communications refers to the communication of information through the use of the Internet for any purpose (ie. newspaper platforms enable millions of people worldwide to connect advertisements) and television or and communicate in new and innovative ways—to be radio. Popular methods include Facebook and Twitter. interviews). engagement). to enhance and increase the ways they reach and engage stakeholders. and social media in particular. Every day. the Council openly communicates with residents and stakeholders. Traditional Communications refers to the sharing of information for any Social media tools such as Facebook. posters. print monologues into engaging dialogues. There are several different general categories of online communications. For the first time in history. social media (brochures. providing relevant and timely information about the programmes. Social Media focuses on building online communities of people who share interests and/or activities. content creators. authentic and effective communications with residents and other community stakeholders. but not limited to social media. statements. enable. marketing. By embracing the world of social media and developing an approach to it. information-sharing. social media expert and best-selling author The Opportunity Within a few short years. Transforming online releases. services and decisions that affect them. and share information. online advertising and email marketing.ONLINE COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY SUMMARY “How can you squander even one more day not taking advantage of one of the greatest shifts of our generation?” Seth Godin. in combination with traditional communications. Online Communications Strategy ver1. critics. nurture and facilitate relevant. Unprecedented Opportunity Smart organisations are joining the online discussion and leveraging these emerging channels. creating what some experts call the most significant and fundamental shift in world culture since the Industrial Revolution. Social media is changing the world. the automobile and television. technology has reached a point where everyone has a voice—where content is everything and everything is content. reviewers and filmmakers. which ultimately creates an informed and engaged community. and where the conversation is everywhere. have revolutionised communications and information-sharing worldwide. Twitter and purpose via commonly used traditional YouTube are rapidly changing the way we discover tools such as media relations (media consume. online communications. including.

podcasts. through gathering information and insights into how the public perceives the organisation and its work. including on the Council’s website. Many residents are using social media tools. the Council can improve the sharing of information with the general public. blogs and RSS feeds. are indicative of what is happening right here in Whakatane. YouTube. print and television. tracking. including Facebook. the use of social media tools and everchanging online demographics. and via social media tools like Facebook and Twitter. an online communications strategy will: • support the general public’s expectation for enhanced access to online information as online engagement opportunities become available • improve the Council’s ability to effectively get information to its stakeholders. researching and evaluation of online communications tools. the time and resources the Council spends on marketing and communications are used effectively • enhance the Council’s ability to listen to citizens and other stakeholders. or topics that are of relevance and interest to target audiences • increase openness and transparency of information and provide more accessible customer service through increasing the Council’s ability to respond to questions. WDC is Connected Research and the results of community surveys and consultations show that the trends that we see happening globally. be open and transparent and support a number of other existing strategies. requests and inaccurate information online in real-time • ensure the continuous monitoring. through a combination of traditional and online communications. including radio. The Benefits This strategy positions the Council for the future. enabling it to begin to make the critical shift toward a balanced approach on the use of traditional and online communications methods to reach and engage residents and stakeholders. and learn and improve from their insights. though the Council has not actively advertised this option. including: • The Long-Term Council Community Plan and Annual Plan • Economic Development Strategy (Town Vision. including increased Internet use. trends and best practices. through a balanced approach. engage residents. including diverse audiences. etc) • • Youth Strategy District Plan • Community Engagement Strategy • Customer Service Charter (under development) Additionally.0 26/07/10 Page 11 of 46 . leading to continuous improvement and the potential use of new tools in the future. Through the implementation of the OCS. today stakeholders have come to expect information to be available in more convenient online formats. More than 800 residents and stakeholders are already receiving the Council newsletter via our website. and use of existing resources • ensure that. Online Communications Strategy ver1.But where once the Council primarily communicated important information through traditional communications methods.

Six Pixels of Separation. This strategy responds to the feedback specific to online communications from the perception survey. The City of Edmonton. the strategy is built on extensive community engagement. nearly 20 local and five international councils which are using social media to engage residents were contacted and asked to share information about their social media best practices.“When it comes to the balance between online communications and using social media channels. Initially. including the results of recent community surveys and consultations. Community Engagement The Council is committed to openly providing information to citizens and encouraging their involvement in key decisions and projects that affect them. and whether or not to use your traditional. seniors and volunteers • trends toward online communications: academic rationale and psychological reasons for the shift • general advantages and disadvantages of online communications and traditional communications Online Communications Strategy ver1. tried and true communications methods. a desktop research was conducted into how other New Zealand councils are using social media. Strategy Scope The development of the Council’s OCS involved extensive information collection and research analysis on topics including: Demographics • • • Background study of general Internet use—New Zealand demographic study of social networking use—statistics online communications ability to target youth. policies and strategies. as well as additional feedback from various groups. Additionally. outlined below in the strategy scope section. author. a leader in the use of social media for community information-sharing and engagement purposes was used as a case study.’ It’s an ‘in addition to. Residents have expressed a strong desire to have more access to Council information. and their own work to develop social media strategies and policies. their successes and challenges. April 2010 Strategy Development The OCS represents the culmination of at least eight months of information gathering and analysis on a wide variety of relevant topics. social media isn’t an ‘instead-of. Discussions were eventually conducted with tem of those: eight from New Zealand and one from the UK and one from Canada.0 26/07/10 Page 12 of 46 . Under the Local Government Act 2002 the Council is required and expected to consult and engage with its communities of interest: To that end.’” Mitch Joel.

The Council’s website is a primary tool used to share information with its stakeholders online. However. such as RSS feeds.Current Communications Tools & Trends • • • Other effectiveness of current communications tools production analysis for current tools full analysis of communication tool survey results • • • • • • • • • • • • • integration between online and traditional communications impact of increased online communications on traditional media relations comparison/benchmarking with other councils and competitive facilities required council policies (new and any changes to existing) social media principles and guidelines for staff general online communications etiquette effective copywriting for an online audience guidelines for appropriate online posts best practices for keeping content relevant and up-to-date measuring the effectiveness of online communications priorities for future staff training in online communications and social networking search engine optimisation glossary of terms Social Media/Online Tools • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Wikipedia MySpace Blogs Digg YouTube Podcasting Google advertising Yahoo advertising Craigslist Flickr RSS feeds E-newsletters • Synergies with the Council’s Website While there will undoubtedly be synergies between the development and implementation of the OCS and enhancement of the Council’s website.0 26/07/10 Page 13 of 46 . that can also be used to effectively share information with stakeholders online. in addition to the Council’s traditional website there are a number of new and emerging technologies and services. Online Communications Strategy ver1. the website was not included within the scope of this project.

to ensure ease of communications of the basic tenets of the policy to staff. have also been developed and will be communicated to staff. and by whom how the tools will be used. based on extensive research. which will help staff improve the quality of content and online interactions. when. Other initiatives that were not considered during the development of this strategy include: • • the addition of any new websites for the Council or affiliated websites communication tools intended to target a solely internal audience. Social Media Principles Guidelines have been developed. and by whom how the tools will be monitored and evaluated inappropriate content Very few councils in New Zealand currently have comprehensive policies in place and several are awaiting outcome of our process to leverage the development of their own strategies and policies. share or comment on Council business. Accompanying Policies and Guidelines Additionally. Recommendations: 1. 2. when being used to discuss. That the attached guidelines for effective web-writing (Appendix D) be endorsed for use by all Council staff writing online content for the Council’s websites and social media pages. The guidelines are a handy quick-reference which covers basic tips and employee expectations for personal use of social media tools to discuss. when. Accompanying guidelines for effective web-writing and proper netiquette. The strategy supports that shift with recommendations. it was recognised that while developing a comprehensive approach to social media that supports the Council’s current strategies and communication goals and objectives is important. and for how it can do so using existing staff resources.0 26/07/10 Page 14 of 46 . this strategy will complement enhancements being made to the Council’s new website. for how the Council can and should enhance its communications through the use of appropriate social media tools. Strategy Approach The Council’s comprehensive OCS recommends a shift toward a more balanced approach between the use of online and traditional communications. Additionally. That the attached Council Social Media Policy (Appendix B) and Social Media Guidelines for Staff (Appendix C) be approved and communicated to Council staff. during the strategy’s development. equally as important is the establishment of parameters for issues including: • • • • • what social media tools the Council will use how new tools and accounts will be created.With the redevelopment of the website complete as the strategy was being researched and developed. Online Communications Strategy ver1.

A single account enables the Council to provide information to stakeholders in yet another way that is becoming increasingly expected. Twitter and YouTube. including measuring their effectiveness. so that social media tools can be updated with timely.0 26/07/10 Page 15 of 46 . which are deemed appropriate to the specific target audiences. budget and key messages of each individual plan. That the Communications Unit serves as a centralised resource for the oversight and use of social media sites by the Council as well as the monitoring and management of content on those sites. there is a need to centralise the oversight of social media tools. initiatives. messaging and monitoring of Council social media tools. the strategy recommends the establishment of a single official Council account for social media tools including Facebook.Responsibility. To ensure the best approach to the consistent use. However. That the Communications Unit develops a centralised system available to all Council staff to submit information for consideration and potential posting on social media sites. and to establish a single Council account for recommended social media tools. Recommendations: 3. Single Council Account Based on best practices research and the experience of other councils in New Zealand currently using social media. 4. Online Communications Strategy ver1. Accountability. objectives. if the Council is to be successful with the use of social media tools to reach out to residents and stakeholders. services. That the Communications Unit reviews and revises its mandate and list of services provided to its customers to reflect the addition of social media and other online communications tools before the end of 2010. traditional or online • information for updates on projects and initiatives Council-wide is co-ordinated in a centralised location. 5. it cannot be ad hoc. Resourcing Research has shown that beginning with a few of the most popular and effective social media tools —and those which best meet the Council’s communications objectives—will enable the Council to establish a presence in the world of social media that can be easily monitored and maintained with existing staff resources. as fans and followers expect • use of social media tools for engagement and information-sharing purposes is part of the communications and marketing plans for all key Council projects and initiatives. The following recommendations address these specific needs. projects and decisions can be disseminated. That the standard templates used for all communications and project plans be revised to include specific consideration for the use of online communications tools. their use needs to be carefully co-ordinated. to ensure that: • information communicated to the public through social media tools is consistent with messaging that has been or will be communicated through all channels. accurate information a number of times each day. 6. from which information about all council programmes.

0 26/07/10 Page 16 of 46 . a single Council account within each tool. The following recommendation recognises that with the Social Media Policy and the various staff guidelines.Additionally. but is not limited to. or at home. Online Communications Strategy ver1. Staff may or may not be official spokespersons for the Council online. and to provide timely response or follow up when required • that effort and advertising dollars needed to build followers are required only once • consistency of Council information presented through each tool • a one-stop-shop for the public. Recommendation: 7. but many use personal websites. Council Training: The use of social media tools often blurs the lines between the personal and the professional for employees. benefits and risks of using online communications Social Media Policy Social Media Guidelines for Council Staff (including netiquette) Effective Web-Writing Guidelines how to access and take advantage of the Council’s social media tools. greater ability to monitor and evaluate successes and challenges. share or comment on Council business. in-house staff have gained invaluable insight and expertise in the appropriate use of social media tools and the Council documents which guide their use. consolidation of all Council information in a few key locations where the public would expect to find it. it is important that Council staff learn about the Council’s approach to social media. the following information: • • • • • • an introduction to online communications and social media purpose. For this reason. as opposed to several accounts for various projects and departments. That the Communications Unit develops and delivers a social media training programme which is available to all Council staff and includes. and about the policies and guidelines which are in place to support them when they use social media tools at work. will ensure: • • existing staff resources can be used to effectively use and monitor the tools consolidation of Council’s base of followers under a few accounts. blogs and other social media tools where they may discuss.

In reality. However. They have been so activities while on the Internet. with the advent of the World Wide Web. everyone on the Internet has equal opportunity to have a voice.SITUATIONAL ANALYSIS Current Situation Currently. took a giant leap forward earlier behaviour of users. Mass media such as television. However. Some of the psychological reasons include: • The shift away from traditional mass media to a focus on “from many to many” which eliminates the need for a few centralised organisations to compile and disseminate information to us about others. Why are people making the shift towards online communications? There is not one main reason. Twitter and YouTube. radio. 15% less than adults 18 years or older. the Council focuses the vast majority of its resources and efforts on communicating with its stakeholders through traditional forms of communications and marketing such as print. and their reasons for delving into cyberspace. everyone’s presence online. • The rise of the individual—the opportunity to know what others are thinking and to share our own thoughts far and wide holds great appeal for many. social media is becoming as mainstream as websites and conference calls. powerful in transforming the way the world communicates that New Zealand Internet Project. it does not currently take full advantage of new and than 45 hours per week emerging online communications and social networking consuming traditional media and technologies that could assist in effectively sharing information engaging in live entertainment with its stakeholders in ways that they have come to expect will activities. between Internet users and nonusers in total time spent using these traditional media or The Council has recently begun to explore the benefits and attending entertainment events. with little research. are just as unique as they are. kiwi tend to use media simultaneously—three of Collectively these and similar new services which continue to four kiwi say they engage in other evolve.0 26/07/10 Page 17 of 46 . and the popularity of The greatest change is in the broadband Internet service. use of other online forms of communications. There is no difference be available. Additionally. Youth (12-17) use traditional expertise or knowledge in the most effective and efficient ways media 40 hours per week—about to communicate online. became known as social media. radio and television. studies indicate that there are both psychological and practical reasons behind the shift. this decade when several new services appeared online. newspaper and Trends Towards Online Communications books remain popular sources of information consumption with all The transition in organisational communications that began demographic audiences. including Facebook. Online + Traditional = A New Zealand Trend While the Council has done some work with online communications and engagement. More and more. most notably through its Kiwi spend an average of more website. the use of these tools to date has been ad hoc. many web experts describe their impact as more significant 2007 than the advent of radio or television. Online Communications Strategy ver1. In the world of business and government too.

Social media provides the opportunity to have conversations and provide feedback or comments. Interactivity—with print content. • How the Internet and social media enable people to portray themselves plays a significant role in the shift. • Reading habits—most people don’t have a lot of time for reading. Niche content is readily available online. without forethought or preparation. • • Portability—with online content from mobile devices. they don’t have to look for it. • Niche content—in a world that is trending more and more towards specialization. they do it in short stints while on a break or when they’re checking their email. With these reading habits. These platforms not only enable people to express their tastes. change everything about themselves or even remain completely anonymous. attitudes and beliefs publicly. anywhere. People trust their peers’ online reviews and comments more than they trust an organisation’s advertising. Studies generally show that people perceive greater transparency of information online because: 78% of Internet users will trust a peer review— even if they don’t know the reviewer—over an organisation’s advertising message. information tailored to their own needs and interests finds them. Selection—users have the opportunity to select which online media they want to receive information from.• Companionship and authenticity—people find fulfilling online relationships through connections to those in communities of shared interests and. • Speed and convenience—it can take months to see something in print in a magazine while it’s possible to read and comment on the news almost as it happens today online. short online content that is easily accessible better meets readers’ needs today. people feel they can be more authentic online than they are able to be with peers in real life. Six online information is supplied by many and not always Pixels of Separation the typical news media o people trust people and organisations they know. assume new identities. Mitch Joel. often in real-time. people want to know about what they want to know about right now. • • Instant information-sharing opportunities—faster and more convenient than traditional communication methods like the newspaper or even television. or can get to know o their peers are there. o traditional media is not trusted by the masses. but they mean that people can hide.0 26/07/10 Page 18 of 46 . readers rarely have the opportunity to contact the author to share their thoughts or to connect with others who may have comments about the article. in some cases. people can read content anytime. Online Communications Strategy ver1. According to Clay Shirky. author. some of the more practical reasons for the shift toward online communications include: • Trust—underpinning all of the rationale as to why so many people are gravitating toward online communication channels is trust. author of the book “Here Comes Everybody—the Power of Organising without Organisations”.

Tools are often specific to one particular audience (ie. there is virtually no information available as to the best way to accomplish this. Can reach out to mass audiences (ie. Media releases are not always picked up. television. Can be directed to a local audience. print). What’s the difference? The biggest difference between traditional media (newspapers. Both traditional and online communications have advantages and disadvantages. It can change with time and be edited instantly by the author and. etc. and the introduction of wide-reaching social media tools including Facebook. Advertising on these tools is generally expensive (radio. television can be expensive. both those with experience online and those who do not have access to a computer or who do not use social media sites. The Council believes in taking a well-researched. Integration of Traditional and Online Communications Methods While web experts agree that it is important to integrate online and traditional communications. Some residents view print materials as “junk mail” and discard them. radio) Online Communications Strategy ver1. Long lead-times to produce printed materials. Print ads—forced to compete against clutter of other ads in print—less effective. Twitter and YouTube. the community. Disadvantages Residents expect to find information in certain locations (ie. radio. It lends itself to being archived. books. indexed by search engines. People can pass on to others information they like with a click of the mouse. radio stations).0 26/07/10 Page 19 of 46 . Likewise. Radio. Sometimes advertising needs to be done in many different locations which dramatically increases the cost of campaigns. including print. Private and public sector organisations that are currently embracing the shift toward the use of more social media tend to be doing so through experimentation to determine what tools work best for their business and communications objectives and goals. in some cases. It will also ensure that residents will receive information from the Council in a variety of ways that they are familiar with and that they find convenient and expect the information to be available in. A balanced approach will enable the Council to reach as many stakeholders as possible. balanced approach between the ongoing use of traditional and proven methods of communications. television. newspaper. newspaper) and they look there for it. Distribution of printed materials to a Council-wide audience has negative environmental impacts. In-house printing services enable the Council to realize more cost-effective printing.) and social media is the dynamic and flexible nature of social media. television and radio. many of which are outlined below: Advantages Traditional Communications Reaches residents who do not have access to a computer. the audience can interact with and republish social media. and shared by users in many ways.• Shareability—online content is easily shareable with others. Radio provides flexibility—residents can listen to it anywhere. television. anytime.

should not be removed. youth. Residents may feel they are overloaded with all of the information they receive online. Many people still do not understand social media— not everyone who is on the Internet buys into or uses social media tools. Additionally. Online Communications Strategy ver1. Council information may get lost among all of the other information residents receive online. Predominantly text-based which may be challenging for some. New and existing online social media tools will be evaluated and selected for use in conjunction with other traditional communications methods.0 26/07/10 Page 20 of 46 .Advantages Online Communications Quick and easy to update An engaged following—people choose to follow the organisation. Recommendation: 8. Disadvantages Not all residents have access to a computer. these audiences will increasingly become the focus of more targeted communication efforts by the Council. seniors and persons with disabilities. Postings can draw negative feedback that is shown publicly to anyone viewing the site or page and. including new residents. the Council’s communications and community engagement efforts have focused on reaching a broad segment of the community through a wide range of traditional tools. Enables the Council to develop community over time—build relationships and trust. anytime. Recognising that a broad-based approach is not always most effective in reaching key diverse audiences. Typically. in the same way that traditional methods of communications are chosen for projects and initiatives—based on the size. Reaching Diverse Audiences The strategy identifies the need to proactively communicate with all residents as a key component of providing efficient and effective governance. and have a voice with residents online. answer questions instantly. scope. To help ensure that a balanced approach to the integration of traditional and online communications continues to be taken in the future. more recently combined with some online efforts. objectives and target audiences of the project. it prioritises the goals of reaching as many residents as possible and making it as simple as possible for anyone to participate in community consultations. New levels of engagement/customer service— not only provide information. Tools will be selected in collaboration with clients. the following is recommended. but also can receive feedback. The use of social media tools to reach diverse audiences—and a more balanced approach between traditional and online communications methods overall—will help to ensure that diverse populations are being engaged and represented in important consultations and community decisions. because of best practices. Flexibility and portability of the Internet—people can receive updates anywhere. Cost efficient—use of tools is free unless advertising.

64% of New Zealanders 65 and over say that they go online every day. radio and television advertising) which typically aren’t as popular with new residents and teens • the Council is reaching out to diverse audiences through the most effective online forums and communities and in ways in which members will be comfortable sharing their thoughts • the Council continues to embrace an attitude of “continuous improvement” in terms of increasing input into key decisions from diverse communities.) 26/07/10 May not feel comfortable. Provides yet another cost-effective. accessible locations used. assistive devices available. easy. Diverse Audience Current Methods of Communication Benefits of Online Communications New residents If Whakatane District were a village of 100 people.Other benefits include ensuring that: • communications efforts go beyond traditional broad-based efforts on large-scale projects (including local newspaper. simple way to reach them. seven would be born outside of New Zealand and three would speak a language other than English at home (Census 2006). Online provides another method of outreach that is convenient. socializing and experiencing new forms of interaction. 45% of that age group is currently online.0 . Page 21 of 46 Online Communications Strategy ver1. the biggest increase in Internet use since 2005 can be seen in the 70-75 year-old age group. Persons with Disabilities By 2020. Greypower) Via service clubs Via broad-based community consultation Via ensuring components of broad-based consultations are as accessible as possible to all residents (ie. and potentially increasing voter turnout from these demographics. While just over 26% of 70-75 year olds were online in 2005. Youth Social media has transformed the online experience for younger Internet users—going online is about exploring. Seniors New Zealand ranks number one in the world for Internet usage and engagement of people over 60. and can be more comfortable for them to express their thoughts and opinions. Many seniors are engaging in new and emerging activities including social networking and photo-sharing. Via specific focus groups Via targeted workshops Via broad-based community consultations New residents may not feel comfortable providing feedback to the government or attending public meetings or workshops with the larger community. Provides another way to reach them which is familiar. and can be more comfortable for people to express their thoughts and opinions. Internet and social networking are extremely popular among youth: 96% of New Zealand youth aged 12-17 use the Internet. 84% of youth are using social networks. Online provides another method of outreach that is convenient. combined with the traditional communication methods they count on. it is anticipated that 20% of New Zealand’s population will be have a disability Via specific focus groups Via the Youth Council Via engaging local high school Via broad-based community consultations Via seniors clubs and associations (eg. where they are most comfortable. or find it easy to attend public meetings and/or workshops. easy. According to Statistics New Zealand.

still prefer and rely on traditional methods over online methods. • Most believe that a large part of their audience. through their Communications Unit • combining the use of social media with support from the Council’s website • putting guidelines/policies in place for use of social media for Council/business purposes. North Shore. known to be using social media tools. A few—most notably Auckland. if not the majority. as well as two internationally. Case Study: City of Edmonton Because of its extensive use of social media tools and its success with building social media into everyday communications with residents. YouTube and RSS feeds. a review was conducted to find out what other Councils in New Zealand were doing towards taking a more balanced approach to the use of traditional and online communications methods. Review results from New Zealand councils about their experiences with social media today indicated that most are at the beginning stages of utilising social media and developing a balanced approach between its use and the use of traditional methods of communicating with residents.0 26/07/10 Page 22 of 46 . Twitter. • Most councils which are using social media tools have one Council account for their social media. • • None of the councils have made a complete switch to online communications. • Oshawa anticipates the need for less media releases in the future because of the increasing popularity of Twitter and RSS feeds. its successes and challenges provided a wealth of knowledge that was helpful in the development of this strategy. the review indicates that WDC would be prudent to adopt a similar approach to its social media presence. the use of other online social media forums for information-sharing and/or marketing purposes is still in its infancy for most councils. Additionally. For example.What are Other Councils Doing? Through the development of the strategy. Online Communications Strategy ver1. an extensive review was conducted on the City of Edmonton. • All continue to use traditional methods including brochures. Edmonton and London— are delving more heavily into the use of social media tools including Facebook. most have one Facebook account through which information from all Council departments is communicated. Northland Regional Council. and requests for new sites. including: • Starting small. • A few cities (especially Edmonton) report that they are beginning to develop social media policies that put guidelines in place for the Council use of social media. were contacted. Some councils initially hired a consultant to assist with planning their strategy for becoming involved in social media. researching which social media tools are most popular among citizens and building them into communications efforts • valuing consistency of messaging and subsequently monitoring and maintaining sites. While online communications and engagement with residents via Council websites is popular. This city’s approach in the uses of social media tools. • London reported using print advertising and inserts far less now that they are encouraging people to access information online. More than ten councils across New Zealand. print advertising and media releases as their main methods for information-sharing with residents.

promotions or information-sharing. ie. page than the search engine. community Online Communications Strategy ver1. Users can Social networking website also create and join interest groups and "like pages" (known as Facebook capped a year of "fan pages" until 19 April 2010). popularity with the general public and ease of use. often two or three times per day. Facebook and the Council The Council has no presence on Facebook. reaching scored more visits on its home 400 million by February 2010. the strategy recommends that a single Council account or channel be established for use of the following social media tools: • • • • • Facebook Twitter YouTube Flickr LinkedIn The use of these particular tools is recommended based on several factors including sheer volume of users. by staff to inform page fans about upcoming Council events. by the end of 2010. including businesses and government. it is important to note that the Council use of social media tools is only as effective as its ability to establish and grow a fan-base for each tool. some of which are maintained by phenomenal growth by overtaking Google’s popularity organisations. to make residents and other stakeholders aware of the Council’s use of these social media sites and to encourage them to stay informed about the Council through those networks. according to the Nielsen Company research firm. and create profiles for themselves with photos. Facebook is a website that essentially represents the digital mapping of a person’s real-world connections. Facebook’s membership has more than doubled. Over the past industry data showing it has year. Internet research firm.Recommended Online Tools After extensive research into a wide range of social media tools. Internet users worldwide spent more than five-and-a-half hours a Hitwise. Facebook Founded in February 2004.0 26/07/10 Page 23 of 46 . Communicating with sociable friends and other users can be done through private or public messages (called status updates) or a chat feature. decisions. month on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter in March 2010 December 2009. lists of personal Web becomes more interests. as a means among US internet users. Users can connect with friends. the Council Facebook page where interested residents can choose to follow daily status updates that share information and/or photographs of events. family and co-workers. contact and other information. with of advertising. The Council will also use its traditional communication tools to build an online base of followers. A Facebook page would require updates to be created and posted. Specific recommendations for each tool are included in the appropriate section. That an online communications plan be developed and implemented. project statuses. Additionally. Recommendation: 9. an 82 per cent increase over the previous year. projects and decisions of the Council.

A clear criteria—a complete Facebook Disclaimer (Appendix F)—which identifies what constitutes inappropriate content is has been developed and must be posted on the Council’s Facebook page. will consider and potentially recommend Facebook advertising for individual projects or future events. The Council could experiment with recruitment advertising in the future.17 per impression. Advertising on Facebook Research was also completed into the potential for the Council to use Facebook advertising. Others include: • the quality of the conversation the page is generating—the number of “likes”. low risk and relative ease of use. an online version of word-of-mouth which often generates even more interest. interests. Measuring the Success of Facebook Measuring the success of social media tools like Facebook requires a new way of thinking.28 to $0. Staff would be expected to monitor the page at least every two hours daily to ensure that no inappropriate content is posted. Because of its low cost. It is envisaged that a Facebook page will be a positive addition to the Council’s communication tools. Communications in collaboration with other units. or any combination of these elements. The status updates would be created from information collected from across the Council. job opportunities. education. location. Aside from that. scope. Research indicates that the true value and effectiveness of Facebook advertising is variable depending on what is being advertised. The general public would be welcome and encouraged to add comments to the Council’s page. organisations continue to experiment with it. the quality of the conversation and whether fan insights later led to change or action Online Communications Strategy ver1.36 Pay-per-click is a pricing per click and $0. Based on experience of other councils. keywords. based on project type. audience and goals and objectives. Additionally. counted each time a specific page within a Advertising rates are relatively inexpensive. size. the number of comments generated. ads can be set up easily and number of times an they begin to appear on the pages of targeted users almost advertisement is clicked immediately. owing to model that is based on the the limited format for advertising. gender. Where once the effectiveness of the tool may have been judged solely by the number of fans it attracted. When followers engage in any of these activities. road closures. etc. they take the time to add a comment or they ask questions which need prompt answers.12 to $0. today that is not the only important measurement. Advertisers choose to website is viewed. providing a quick. Incredible opportunities exist to target very specific demographics in terms of birth date. Experience of other councils indicates that inappropriate content has been only very minimal and instances where it did occur advertised a link to a site with sexually explicit content or promoting adult toys. pay-per-click or per impression with costs as low as $0. on. workplace. followers “like” the Council’s status updates. that information is shared with their network of friends.0 26/07/10 Page 24 of 46 . A page impression is language and new friends.consultations. cost-effective way to provide information to community stakeholders in a way they have identified that they want to receive it. relationship.

research indicates that Twitter. Twitter feeds. Not true. In April 2010. It attempts to tell people what they care about as it is happening in the world. 11. they’ve evolved. comprehensive Council Facebook ‘fan page’ that is monitored and maintained by delegated staff on a daily basis.0 26/07/10 Page 25 of 46 . True evolution only comes from people using your information and engaging in conversation with you. Six Pixels of Separation. is a free social networking/microblogging service that enables people to communicate in a short and simple way that can be broadcast to the world. as well as engage them in conversation about Council business. commenting on it. and other social media outlets like Facebook. (Monitored through page insights reports. You only evolve by what people do with it—reading it.) Facebook Recommendations: 10. also known as followers. Twitter recorded 1382% growth in users. event tracking to learn where patrons heard about the event) • the growing and changing demographics—monitoring who the page is attracting and potentially targeting messaging to those groups or targeting efforts to recruit underrepresented groups. created in 2006. “Companies believe that because they’re on Facebook or Twitter. Online Communications Strategy ver1. there were more than 106 million users registered worldwide. The platform enables its users to send and read messages known as “tweets”—text-based messages of up to 140 characters displayed on the author’s profile page and delivered to the author’s subscribers. April 2010 Twitter Twitter. is overtaking traditional media outlets as a source the public turns to for breaking news. That the Council endorses the use of Facebook advertisements for reaching specific target audiences and demographics and to achieve the goals and objectives identified within supporting communications and marketing plans. One of the most significant benefits of the Council use of Twitter is that it provides an easy way to share information with engaged followers who have selected the WDC as a source of information they value. In fact. etc—monitored through Google Alerts. Between 2008 and 2009. author. sharing it. social media expert.” Mitch Joel. and which is used to inform and educate residents and other stakeholders.• the momentum effect—people telling others resulting in either new followers or mentions on other outposts (blogs. Twitter. That the Council provides a single.

IBM and Ford Motor Company. 2. empower their staff to use Twitter and. Just as important is the quality of the engagement—the number of conversations and responses generated from status updates and the number of “retweets” and “hashtags” (people who pass on your information) generated. projects and decisions can be shared. Develop a Council Twitter feed that uses the Council logo or crest in place of a photograph and where “tweets” are sent out anonymously on behalf of the Council. the Mayor could start tweeting regularly on behalf of the Council. the Council could take one of two approaches to its Twitter feed. Locally. A single Council account will enable the Council to provide information to stakeholders in yet another way that is becoming increasingly popular among residents. While most of the researched Councils which have chosen to use Twitter anonymously have been effective in developing a significant Twitter following through advertising and encouraging new followers to join them. simple and cost-effective way to communicate with engaged followers who have selected the Council as a source of information they value • updates can be synchronized with the Council’s Facebook page.The benefits of using Twitter include: • • • it can break news faster than other sources it can augment customer service efforts it is a quick. as a result. Research demonstrates that quality engagement with community stakeholders is more likely to occur when followers can relate to and engage in dialogue with an identifiable. initiatives. Based on the research. this strategy recommends the establishment of a single official Twitter account from which information about all Council programmes. and similar to the recommended approach to Facebook. as well as Dell. Online Communications Strategy ver1. they enjoy significant presences there. the number of followers they enjoy is not necessarily the most important measurement of success. While it is impossible to know how many WDC-based Twitter users there are. Research into what most other New Zealand councils are currently doing on Twitter demonstrates that this is the approach many have taken. Twitter and the Council Based on the experience of other councils currently using Twitter. real person than it is with an anonymous Council brand viewed as only pushing information out. services. with the exponential growth of the platform worldwide. rather than an anonymous Council entity. Develop a Council Twitter feed that is managed by a real person. identified by photograph and position that “tweets” on behalf of the Council. because specific demographic information is not yet available. it is reasonable to expect that it is also used by a significant segment of the district’s population. 1. Research indicates that people follow people—they prefer to deal with a real person. Many councils.0 26/07/10 Page 26 of 46 . How does Twitter work? Research indicates that the most effective use of Twitter by organisations is to have real people “tweeting” about their business.

event tracking to learn where patrons heard about the event) • the number of hashtags used—hashtags are a form of passing on information. Additionally. and because it will centralise the responsibility for Twitter and ensure consistent Council messaging. the Twitter feed will be reviewed to determine its effectiveness in communicating to and engaging with residents and other community stakeholders. identifiable individual. such as links within a PDF document. August 2009 Advertising on Twitter Advertising on Twitter is currently in its infancy. while another 47% of users are 18-34.5% of users joined Twitter in 2009 65% of Twitter users are under 25. The tag enables others to click on it and jump immediately to the conversation.org tracks the frequency that a hashtag is used on Twitter and provides details about the hashtag. etc—monitored through the Twitter feed. the OCS recommends that once the strategy has been approved the Council establish a one-year pilot Twitter feed that is maintained by a single. It can track visitors from all referrers. Twitter Demographics While there is significant data available about Twitter usage overall. the median age of Twitter users is 31 53% of Twitter users are female. Hashtags. pay-per-click networks. Measures of effectiveness and success will include: • the momentum effect/the number of “retweets”—people telling others resulting in either new followers or mentions on other outposts (blogs. Twitter.6% American most Twitter activity happens between 11 am and 3 pm. Measuring the Success of Twitter Measuring the success of the one-year pilot of a single Council Twitter account will require an approach similar to that of measuring the success of Facebook. The average Twitter account holder visits 14 times per month. Sysomos study. People may use hashtags (#WDC) when talking about a Council Twitter post. In fact. However one of the interesting highlights of the demographic data is that Twitter is popular among the 18-34 age group. a rapidly growing portion of Twitter’s audience is the 35-49 demographic which comprises nearly 42% of the entire audience. the scope of the research for this strategy did not include advertising on Twitter because there were previously no advertising opportunities available. including search engines.For this reason. Hashtags are a form of passing on information.3% of Twitter users are Canadian.0 26/07/10 Page 27 of 46 . email marketing and digital collateral. unlike Facebook demographics. Twitter is beginning to introduce advertising features which will be explored in greater depth in future iterations of the strategy. General Twitter demographic also shows that: Google Analytics is a free service offered by Google that generates detailed statistics about the visitors to a website. • • • • • • • • • 80% of Twitter usage is via mobile devices 74% of users have no children at home 72. People may use hashtags (like #Council) when talking about a Council Twitter post Online Communications Strategy ver1. compared with 60. 47% male 35% of users live in urban areas there are more than 4 million visits to Twitter monthly 4. display advertising. After one year. there is very little Whakatane-specific data available currently from Twitter.

is a website where users can upload.000 films each the rest of the world are beginning to take advantage of its many week. It has grown to become the second largest search engine in the world—today. YouTube YouTube.• the tag enables others to click on it and jump immediately to the conversation. including local residents. replies. benefits which include: • • • cost-effectiveness—registering for a YouTube channel is free innovative new way to inform and engage an audience that has sought us out interactivity—video viewers can comment on videos or even record and post a video response • RSS feeds—users can subscribe to a Council RSS feed that automatically downloads videos in categories which interest them • content accessibility—users can view video on web pages outside of the site and on mobile phones • unlimited content can be uploaded. the Council creates a single. it features more than 100 million videos posted by the general public. queries and the overall quality of the conversation. organisations. identifiable individual: the Communications Manager That a review of the effectiveness of a Council Twitter feed be conducted one year from its initiation. including councils across Australia and release 60. The City of Calgary has a YouTube channel which features more than 100 uploads about council events and programmes. the ease of use and its cost-effectiveness. there would be enough material to exponentially. If YouTube was With the popularity of YouTube and online video-sharing growing Hollywood. (Trackable through Google Analytics) Twitter Recommendations: 12. YouTube is recommended for further Council use. Council Twitter feed that is maintained by a single. watch and share videos. created in 2005. Because of factors including the sheer volume of people using the platform. councils which are working with YouTube include the City of Edmonton which has had its own YouTube channel since the spring of 2009. YouTube and the Council The Council currently has no presence on the YouTube channel. Online Communications Strategy ver1. Internationally.0 26/07/10 Page 28 of 46 .org or via Google Analytics) • the number of followers attracted • the quality of the conversation the Twitter feeds are generating—the number of comments. (Hashtags are trackable through hashtags. or whether changes are required. That. currently featuring 57 videos. to determine whether or not to continue the use of this tool. 13. (Monitored through records management practices) • clicks on links the Council has posted in its feeds. on a one-year pilot.

behind Google. including movie clips. Australia – see video You wouldn’t.As a starting point. as well as amateur content such as video blogging and short original videos. the cost is prohibitive. YouTube Demographics • YouTube is ranked the fourth most visited website on the Internet. Potential uses could include broadcasting special events. and sharing videos related to the Council’s business including art exhibitions. How does YouTube work? YouTube uses Adobe Flash video technology to display a wide variety of user-generated video content. In the future. An example is the campaign by the City of Port Philip. the Council would look to create videos more proactively. and music videos.0 26/07/10 Page 29 of 46 . Additionally. while registered users are permitted to upload an unlimited number of videos. Measuring the Success of YouTube YouTube provides excellent analytics on a variety of aspects of individual videos. the Council would establish a YouTube channel to aggregate any videos created by Council staff. the Council can create a significant presence for itself online for free through establishing a Council-specific channel. Yahoo and Facebook. Unregistered users can watch the videos. • YouTube users: o o o o o 18% are under 18 20% are 18-34 19% are 35-44 21% are 45-54 21% are 55+ Advertising on YouTube During research. TV clips. However. advertising on YouTube was also examined for its potential use by the Council. Measuring the success of the effectiveness of the Council’s YouTube channel will include an analysis of the following statistics: • • • • • video views video ratings video comments number of times favourite links to the video number of times the video was embedded on another website or blog • Online Communications Strategy ver1. promoting Council programmes. highlighting new developments and projects. citizenship ceremonies and other community events.

central database that can be used to host. Flickr is also an online community—a social networking site—whose members create their own profiles. HitWise’s data shows that this has clearly lead to the increased and continued adoption of Flickr by new users. It was also explored for its potential to be used as a source of photography from external sources (citizens) who can be contacted in order to gain permission to use photographs of the Council that they have posted.0 26/07/10 Page 30 of 46 . Flickr and the Council The Council specifically looked at Flickr for its potential to act as an external.YouTube Recommendations: 14. 15. and explore digital photos. Flickr offers its users a website where they can create free accounts that let them store. and enabling photo and video organisation in new ways. and download content • it provides cost-effective (free) access to photographs from multiple external sources that can. Flickr can also improve search engine results for the Council. Flickr has two main goals: helping people make their content available to the people that matter the most to them. is one of the most popular image. view. with permission. Flickr. Additionally. the platform is widely used by bloggers to host images that they embed into blogs and other social media.and video-hosting websites and online communities in the world. Flickr’s recent integration within Yahoo! Image Search also means that Flickr pictures are displayed when anyone uses Yahoo to search for images on specific topics. be used by the Council on its website and/or in publications • it is easy to use—photographs are easily uploaded to the site. catalogue and track images for use primarily on the Council’s website and in its publications. The use of Flickr provides many benefits. citizens and other stakeholders to create and submit video material for posting on the Council’s YouTube channel. Online Communications Strategy ver1. such as historic photos • it allows the audience to easily browse. owned by Yahoo. share and discuss photography. Flickr Launched in 2004. off-site image bank it raises awareness of the Council’s current activities using photos or video it engages an audience in discussion about Council content it enhances information about existing collections of visual content. share. That the Council creates a pilot Council YouTube channel for posting all videos showcasing WDC. managed by the Communications Unit and that content be published only at the sole discretion of the Council. including: • • • • it creates a centralised. photographers with photos the Council wants to use can be contacted for permission • the use of tagging and keywords related to photos enables “Council” photos to be found more easily • Creative Commons Licensing provides a flexible range of protections and freedoms for photographers. organised. and enjoy mutual interests. That the Council develops and implements a communications plan focused on encouraging staff.

as long as they follow the license restrictions. for their projects. All of these sources direct visitors to individual photo pages and each of them can be funnelled to the Council’s website. Flickr was the seventh most visited social networking website. and keep the long-term impact and goals in mind. Once an account has been established. Joining relevant groups will increase exposure of the Council’s presence and content on Flickr. it is important to think broadly. Quantcast. Flickr also enables users to choose the level of licensing on their photos.0 26/07/10 Page 31 of 46 .1 % of people online worldwide are uploading photos. The free account shows the 200 most recently uploaded photos. Additional measures of success will include: • The number of photos acquired from external sources • The number of photos shared with external sources/requests to use Council photos • photo views • comments on photo content Online Communications Strategy ver1. 2008 • Measuring Flickr’s Success As with all social media tools. generating awareness of the Council’s services. 2009 Universal McCann Social Media Tracker. and allows for limited organisation of content. Flickr provides statistics about view counts and referrers to users with “pro” accounts. including daily aggregate views on accounts and 28-day tracking. and developing a deeper understanding of the audience. as well as greater control over organisation and statistics on the account. or user groups. Flickr enables users to upload and organise their photos. Similarly. Actively using Flickr can yield powerful rewards that may be difficult to measure. 38% of uses are 18-34 (largest age group demographic). the Council may locate individual users. Creative Commons Licensing enables others to potentially use the Council’s photos. and a “pro” service for $35. Flickr asks members to organise their images using tags or keywords that enable them to be more easily categorized and searched by others. Registration for a Flickr account is simple and free. websites and blogs which pull in and display public Flickr pictures via RSS. How does Flickr work? Flickr provides a limited version of its service for free.Flickr’s photos are also listed in Google’s search results as well as various other portals. 55. that will allow the use of their photos on the Council’s website and/or in publications. The platform also enables the creation of groups of photographers with similar interests or who specialize in photographing specific places. The “pro” account offers unlimited uploads and storage. when choosing how to evaluate the Council’s use of Flickr and defining success. such as creating goodwill. with appropriate permissions. Flickr Demographics • • • • Flickr currently hosts more than four billion images and more than 23 million users. Flickr users are 53% male and 47% female. In 2009. limits the photo upload size. Additionally.64 per year. 2010 Mashable.

the network is recognised as a promising source for new talent for the Council. That the Council creates a Flickr account as a method of gathering photographs taken by citizens and other stakeholders for use by the Council. LinkedIn features paid accounts that enable users to use more advanced tools to locate connections. recommended job candidates. Through their personal networks. service providers. Essentially. Benefits to the Council’s use of LinkedIn include: • • • • • access to a wider range of talented professionals in a cost-effective manner the potential to target specific candidates and/or industry streams ads can be published almost immediately: no design or publication period required. LinkedIn reported more than 65 million users around the world. by the end of 2010. That. increased traffic on the Council’s website. Reportedly growing by a new member every second. the Council develops and implements a detailed process to obtain photographs from other Flickr account holders. users can: • • manage the information that is publicly available about them as professionals find and be introduced to potential clients. industry experts and business partners.These numbers will be attained through consistent monitoring of the use of the photos on Council’s Flickr account. LinkedIn Launched in 2003. Users create a professional profile about themselves that is visible to their “connections. photos and any groups Flickr Recommendations: 16. in April 2010.0 26/07/10 Page 32 of 46 . and photo credits are provided to those individuals when used by the Council. With the network growing exponentially and being primarily used by affluent and well-educated professionals who typically work in senior management roles. and their potential use in online recruitment efforts. LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking tool that enables users to find connections to colleagues and fellow professionals. Built on these trusted connections and relationships. ads drive candidates to the site establishing a reputation for the Council as a forward-thinking employer of choice How Does LinkedIn Work? The primary purpose of LinkedIn is to allow registered users to maintain a list of contact details of people they know and trust in business. and a formal procedure for ensuring photo waiver forms are completed and filed. LinkedIn has established the world’s largest and most powerful online community of professionals. 17.” Additionally. the site allows registered users to maintain a list of contact details of people they know and trust in business. LinkedIn and the Council LinkedIn was examined specifically for its advertising applications. and subject experts who come recommended Online Communications Strategy ver1.

LinkedIn follows strict privacy guidelines wherein all connections made are mutually confirmed and individuals appear within the network only with their explicit consent. Aside from its social networking function however. Demographic information available for the platform shows that users tend to be affluent. increasingly.703. educated decision makers. LinkedIn Demographics LinkedIn provides access to literally millions of ambitious and influential professionals. • • • The average user is aged 41. • 50% are decision-makers within their companies: 34% are mid-senior level managers.• create and collaborate on projects. via an online form. employers can quickly and easily list jobs and search for potential candidates • job seekers can review the profile of hiring managers and discover which of their existing contacts can introduce them • LinkedIn allows users to research companies with which they may be interested in working. The platform serves as an effective medium by which both employers and job seekers can review professional information about one another and. gather data. 80% are college graduates. Advertising on LinkedIn Part of the research advertising avenues within the LinkedIn platform were explored for use. requiring no design work. Online Communications Strategy ver1. More information about the advertising possibilities for the Council on LinkedIn is available in the “Advertising on LinkedIn” section. LinkedIn also provides a wide range of online recruiting and advertising opportunities for business. including: • LinkedIn Recruiter—the most popular option which provides a wide search for appropriate candidates and automatically matches candidate talents to job descriptions. Additionally: • with very little effort or expense. This "gated-access approach" is intended to build trust among the service's users. Advertisements can be set up easily and quickly. depending on the advertising method selected. LinkedIn advertising and networking is being used by organisations as part of their online recruitment strategies. • The average annual income of users is $109. 15% are vice-presidents or presidents of their companies.0 26/07/10 Page 33 of 46 . Not recommended: cost-prohibitive. 64% of users worldwide are male. share files and solve problems with other professionals or colleagues • be found for business opportunities and find potential partners • gain new insights from discussions with like-minded professionals in private group settings • discover inside connections which can help land jobs • post and distribute job listings to find the best talent for their company.

LinkedIn Recommendations: 18. Job boards related to specific career streams—these enable the user to post specific jobs to boards that are maintained by specific career-based interest groups. Not recommended: cost-prohibitive. Other measures of success will be: • • the number of applications generated through job board postings on LinkedIn the number of applications that lead to subsequent interviews and/or hiring Analytics of these numbers will be monitored by LinkedIn statistics and through the Council’s own automated tracking system (hiring desk). the right way. Additionally. including: 1. and commitment in order to achieve success and so it is important to understand what benefit the Council is receiving in return for these efforts and whether or not the tool(s) being used continue to be effective. companies can sponsor areas on LinkedIn where professionals congregate. postings to two different forms of LinkedIn job boards are recommended. Twitter and YouTube for their online campaigns is measuring the effectiveness of their efforts. Not recommended: potentially not sufficiently localised to be of value. Ongoing Review of Effectiveness One of the biggest challenges organisations face with using social media tools. • Job Slot—a posting format that allows for available jobs to be rotated throughout the month. Because of the reasonably low cost and wide reach offered by LinkedIn job boards. 2. Main Job Board—this enables jobs to be posted through a user’s profile and costs $278 per job. no specific standards for measuring the effectiveness of each tool have been developed though best practices do exist and will be implemented for any social media tools the Council chooses to adopt. Because social media is still so new. Measuring the Success of LinkedIn As with Flickr and other social media tools.• Content Ads—pre-sized ads can include text. monitoring the effectiveness of our social media efforts ensures the Council is using the right tools. Not recommended: only one slot provides limited exposure. Users can also purchase job credits which reduce the cost of advertising. Twitter. such as Facebook. Human Resources can include the use of the job boards when considering recruiting specialist skills. Online Communications Strategy ver1. While several of the advertising options are not recommended for use. generating awareness of the Council and promoting job vacancies to a wide range of professionals. resources. Cost is based on the number of clicks on the ad. Contains lines of text. cost-prohibitive. Social media requires time. be difficult to measure. • Direct Ads—allows advertisers to reach a targeted professional audience. using them to make adjustments to our approach when required. video. blogs. Benefits will inevitably include creating goodwill. at times. Not recommended: cannot be used for recruiting. only general advertising. small logo and link to the advertiser’s profile on LinkedIn. That the Council use LinkedIn’s job boards for online recruitment purposes when deemed appropriate for the position being advertised. • Sponsorships—to gain exposure. and RSS feeds. the benefits from the use of LinkedIn for recruitment purposes can.0 26/07/10 Page 34 of 46 . and that we are staying on top of new tools and emerging trends.

Blogs range from the personal to the political. trends and ongoing effectiveness of social media tools for Council use. That the addition of any online communications tools or social media sites. That the Council not pursue the use of a Council blog for communicating with citizens and other stakeholders until such time as there are adequate staff and 26/07/10 Page 35 of 46 Online Communications Strategy ver1. Council Blog A blog. the Director Council Services will receive an aggregated quarterly report about the successes. 22. A blog is a frequently updated. several other tools have been recommended for future consideration. is approved by the Chief Executive Officer on the advice of the Communications Unit prior to their implementation. short for “web log”. and can focus on one narrow subject or a whole range of subjects. the following recommendations will ensure that the Council’s work and progress on the recommendations contained within the OCS will be monitored. The tools for future consideration. 20. Council Blog Recommendation 23. Based on our immediate past experience with the Council’s blog. As a result. personal website featuring diary-type commentary and links to articles on other websites. most of which require further research. it is not recommended owing to inadequate staff resources available to maintain and monitor it. challenges. for use by the Council. That the Communications Unit engages its customers in the development of specific measurements for all online communications tools used by the Council and that those measurements are focused on measuring the effectiveness and cost/benefit of each tool. an official Council blog requires extensive monitoring and constant updating. Recommendations 19. An annual social media report will also be compiled and presented to the Strategic Leadership Team. That the Communications Unit conducts an annual review of the effectiveness of online tools being used by the Council as well as any emerging technologies or social media sites identified for potential future use. Online Tools for Future Consideration Research into best practices and the experiences of other councils that are experimenting with and using social media demonstrate the need to “start small” and use a few tools well. is like an online journal. evaluated and reported on regularly. While there are benefits to Council blogs including opening the lines of communication between Council and residents. will be reviewed annually to determine whether or not they will be adopted for use. Additionally. as opposed to using all tools at once.0 . developing relationships and engaged followers and receiving feedback.In addition. while the OCS recommends the Council use of several social media tools. 21. That the Council’s measurements for the effectiveness of online communications be added to the annual business planning process and the collection of key performance indicators.

written largely by the general public. staff at outside facilities could use video podcasts to keep abreast of events and information. Wikis Designed in 1995. are becoming increasingly popular within organisations for internal communications uses. maintain and monitor the Council blog. rather than the organisation. Wikis enable groups to collaborate on large-scale projects online. podcasting could play an important role in internal communications. Internally. recording artist. The best known wiki is “Wikipedia”. Podcasting Podcasting is a free service that allows Internet users to pull audio files (typically MP3 files) from a podcasting website to listen to on their computers or personal digital audio players. Group members can more easily organise their input and free ideas typically trapped in long chains of email. Because of the need for wiki pages to be generated by members of the public. potential uses. which is essentially a free encyclopaedia on which everyone can collaborate and edit—an online version of Encyclopaedia Britannica. it is not recommended for use until more information about the risks. the Council use of wikis for external communications purposes will not be pursued any further.0 26/07/10 Page 36 of 46 . Podcasting is under future consideration for use. or council meetings and updates on major projects.organisational appetite for use of this tool. While there are several benefits to podcasting. to enable staff to collaborate on projects. collaborative websites on specific topics where anyone can contribute content. writer. wikis are open. whose content can be seen and edited only by specific members of a working group. and • the number of citizens and demographic profile of who would use a Council podcast. critic or talk show host. owing to its relevant ease of use. For example. That the Council not pursue the use of podcasting as a means of further examination is conducted into: • potential specific uses • legal and technical concerns • staff resources required to establish and produce podcasts. It is not recommended that organisations create their own Wikipedia page: the intent of Wikipedia is to have pages created and edited by third-party members of the general public. Recommendation Online Communications Strategy ver1. Podcasting Recommendation: 24. However the Communications Manager will explore potential opportunities to use wikis in an internal capacity. Closed wikis. It could be used externally to record and promote important special events. It essentially allows anyone with recording software and a computer to hook up to become a journalist. Another use for wikis is emerging. including identifying the staff resource who might write. legal and technical concern and staff resources required for implementation are known.

overtaking MySpace in users by December of 2008 and reaching 400 million users in 2010. Online Communications Strategy ver1.25. Council use of Craigslist is not recommended because of the site’s primarily American demographics and popularity. At the time it was created.05% of traffic to the site comes from New Zealand. these tools will not be pursued any further at this time. as opposed to Facebook’s social networking focus. Despite its incredible success. The popularity of the tools has expanded rapidly: the site currently experiences more than 20 billion page views per month. compared to MySpace’s 55 million members. Facebook didn’t yet exist and MySpace was hailed as revolutionizing the Internet. several social media tools were examined for their potential application to the Council’s communication and marketing goals and objectives. Recommendation 26. Many web experts point to MySpace as the true beginning of social media. Craigslist is a centralised network of online communities that each month features free 80 million new classified advertisements from all over the world. • • MySpace 92. ranking it 30th overall worldwide for website visits. MySpace was created in 2003 as a free social networking platform which. That the Council not pursue the use of wikis as a method for communicating with the general public any further. and owing to the significant amount of inappropriate sexual content. Only 0. similar to Facebook. but consider its use as an internal communications tool for possible consideration in the redesign of the Intranet. It also remains one of the top job boards in the world with more than one million new job listings each month. Since its introduction however. Facebook has continued to grow exponentially.0 26/07/10 Page 37 of 46 . Web experts say that the demise of MySpace is related to its “portal strategy” which sought to amass an audience primarily around arts and entertainment content. That the following social media tools not be pursued any further as primary tools for Council use: • • • • • • Craigslist Craigslist MySpace Digg Yahoo advertising Google advertising YouTube advertising Begun in 1995 in California. Online Tools Not Recommended During the development of the strategy. For various reasons. allows its members to create unique personal profiles online in order to find and communicate with old and new friends.3% of Craigslist traffic is generated within the United States.

While the site is heavily used. the cost of using Google Adwords and the perfect placement service is prohibitive. In 2009. Users submit to Digg links to everything from news to video images. The program is open only to new advertisers with a sustained budget of more than $250 per month. are expensive. Yahoo Advertising Yahoo New Zealand is a leading Internet destination that provides various online products and services to meet the needs of New Zealanders while also offering a range of tools and marketing solutions to help businesses connect with Internet users. Advertisers must commit to spending a minimum of $14. Best Practices The Council’s Social Media Policy The Social Media Policy (Appendix B) is a best of breed following an assessment other policies adopted by companies and councils using social media. the Digg platform is not recommended for use. similar to Yahoo advertising. With the “perfect placement service” the Council could control where its ads appear and review the effectiveness on a site-by-site basis to see the number of impressions. Owing to factors including the expense of advertising and a minimal Whakatane-based audience. Once content is submitted. Google Advertising Most people recognise Google as the world’s largest Internet search engine.7%) was New Zealand-based. Yahoo advertising was examined for its potential as a new advertising tool for the Council. For this reason.Digg Digg is essentially a social news website made for people who discover and share web-based content from anywhere on the web. more often. in more places. on the Google network advertising messages reach more of the target audience. If a submission receives enough Diggs it is promoted to the front page for millions of visitors to see.0 26/07/10 Page 38 of 46 . However. Digg also provides advertising opportunities which. clicks and conversion data.7 million users worldwide. Google Adwords is not recommended for use at this time. Using the Google network to advertise has significant advantages since 80% of Internet users worldwide are using it daily. the company also offers an advertising opportunity called Google AdWords. the cost of advertising is prohibitive to most New Zealand councils. However. Yahoo advertising is not recommended for use. Research into how other Councils across New Zealand are handling their foray into the world of social media indicates a split between: • • • those that are functioning without a policy those that are currently developing a policy those that have added statements about social media to existing policies about public statements and/or media relations. research indicates. Online Communications Strategy ver1. Digg reported 14. Only a small portion (0.000 per month. other users can see it and “Digg” what they like best. With an audience larger than any other network or single web property.

staff. it is important that staff be aware of and understand the Council’s expectations in regard to sharing. effective and accurate information and responses o escalation of controversial or sensitive matters relating to online content about the Council. To address this issue and ensure that staff are aware of the Council’s expectations. staff.Extensive research into the policies and policy development practices in private business. sharing or commenting on Council-related business. Effective Web Writing The Council’s website is a primary source of information and services for citizens. social networks. create or contribute to blogs. visitors and other stakeholders. a simple set of Social Media Guidelines for Staff (Appendix C) based on research into similar guidelines and best practices from companies. or who comment on online media stories relating to Council business. Additionally. The guidelines apply only to Council employees who. virtual worlds. investors. or any other kind of social media. organisations and universities worldwide helped in the development of those of the Council. the Council will launch a brand new. on their own time. wikis. At the same time. Effective copywriting for the web will ensure that Online Communications Strategy ver1. personal websites.0 26/07/10 Page 39 of 46 . Social Media Guidelines for Staff With the exponential growth of social media. is not easily communicated to. criteria and courses of action for: o establishing and monitoring of acceptable social media tools for use o determining/adopting new social media tools and/or accounts for use o appropriate monitoring and administration of social media tools o providing timely. it has become a best practice among organisations worldwide to introduce social media guidelines for staff. it serves to: • protect the Council’s reputation and ensure consistency and professionalism in how the Council and its staff communicate about Council business with the public and stakeholders via all online forums and social media/networking sites • provide employees with an understanding of the policies and procedures surrounding the acceptable Council and personal use of social media sites and/or personal websites as they relate to discussing the business of the Council • establish protocols. In 2010. The Social Media Policy outlines for employees the standards and principles of communicating in the online world when it relates to discussing. While the Council Social Media Policy is important and necessary. Additional general “netiquette” tips are also provided within the document. business. As new content managers begin to create page content for the new website it is imperative that clear guidelines are in place for effective content writing. discussing or commenting on Council business online. its business or its employees o ensuring appropriate records management and retention efforts as it relates to online forums and tools o ensuring appropriate protection of privacy of the public who engage or interact with the Council via social media/networking tools. or highly read by. it is a lengthy and somewhat technical document and as a result. governments and universities around the world have been formulated. redesigned website with content that has been written in accordance with best practices for effective webwriting.

0 26/07/10 Page 40 of 46 . online recruiting via the Council’s website and social media tools provides several benefits. but there is a growing recognition that specific social media tools can also be effective for recruitment. identify and recruit new employees. Additionally. enabling the Council to post ads immediately or amend them easily as required. • • Currently. the Council online recruitment efforts are limited to its recruitment website. Job seekers are using online media more and more to search for work because they are faster and easier to apply to. In order to attract the best and brightest talent. more information about each of the specific tools is contained in the “Recommended Online Tools Section.” Online Communications Strategy ver1. Online Recruitment Online recruitment uses the power of the Internet to match people to jobs. it will be important to diversify recruitment programmes to include communications about job vacancies on social networking sites to avoid missing out on the highly qualified individuals who use these sites. we will enter a talent war. and have yet to take advantage of other online job boards and websites and the automated tracking system “hire desk” that enables résumés submitted online to be sorted. easy to read and easy to find for the reader. The recommendation is below. For the most part. tracked and ranked for skills more easily. The Council recognises that as the Baby Boom Generation heads to retirement. seven days a week • providing an effective and efficient online application process strengthening efforts to reach out to a younger audience who expect to find information online • the extreme flexibility of online advertising. including the Council. employers. As the recruitment industry continues to evolve into a place where online connections and networking are becoming as important as traditional job advertisements and paper résumés. Twitter. services. up-to-date. projects and decisions is accurate. The new guidelines will be part of the training provided to content managers and will also be included in the Council social media training sessions to be developed. a Guideline for Effective Web Writing (Appendix D) has been developed to ensure the reader remains the copywriter’s number one priority when developing text for the web. The research has led to recommendations that will see the Council begin to expand its online recruiting efforts to include social media tools including: Facebook. visually pleasing. traditional methods of recruitment are not enough. are rethinking the way they search for. In order to achieve these objectives. several tools have been recommended for use in the Council’s online recruiting efforts.information about programmes. In today’s Internet-driven society. Additionally. including: increasing the Council’s reach – providing a cost-effective way to publicise appropriate job openings to the general public in a wide geographical area • speed—ads can be seen 24 hours a day. Social networking sites such as LinkedIn give the Council the opportunity to connect with job seekers on a more personal level than ever before. and they are convenient— applicants can submit an application at any time of day and/or they don’t have to fill it out all at once. and LinkedIn After extensive research. online recruiting at the Council has been about advertising job vacancies on either general or niche job sites or Council sites.

Effectively managing the website content will engage stakeholders in two-way communications and encourage them to interact with the Council through its website. organisations like the Council want to ensure that their website ranks high in search rankings. responsibilities and accountability for the management of the website content will ensure content is accurate and up-to-date. the Council launched its redesigned website managed using simple and user-friendly content management strategy (CMS). is critical for a site to succeed. not visible to users. Meta data and tags are a series of words that are built into the HTML code of the website. That the Council use the following social media tools for online employee recruitment: • • • • • • Facebook Marketplace. This does not make sense.Online Recruitment Recommendation: In addition to using LinkedIn for online recruiting purposes. and it is the deciding factor as to whether visitors will return to the site in the future. to be managed by Human Resources staff Facebook status updates on Council fan page. The CMS is built on the foundation of a strong and supportive partnership between staff across the Council. Search Engine Optimisation When people are looking for information on the web. which match words contained within the web content on each page. The process of making a website “search engine friendly” is called search engine optimisation and it in Councils a variety of key techniques which were used to redevelop the Council’s website. In the end. the Council can also use several other social media tools. such as Google. to be managed by Human Resources staff LinkedIn group page job boards. In 2009. To increase traffic to their websites and become a credible and trusted source for information. where they can enter a search term and be greeted with pages of search results.0 26/07/10 Page 41 of 46 . to be managed by Communications staff LinkedIn job board. to be managed by Human Resources staff. this partnership and the entire CMS will help the Council provide better service to our diverse range of customers and can enhance the website as a customer-service tool. Online Communications Strategy ver1. to be managed by Communications staff Facebook employment link on Council fan book page Twitter status update. they often turn to search engines. I can’t decide what it is trying to say. with effective and efficient navigation and eye-catching graphics. and that 90% of Internet users do not go past the top 30 search engine results. While a professional-looking website. When it comes to online searches. research shows that 85 % of Internet users find websites through search engines. Setting out clear expectations. the information the site provides is what earns credibility and trust. It is also recommended: 27. Keeping Web Content Current Research and web experts agree that the number one reason why a website fails is because of poorly written and out-of-date content. The redesigned website was built to maximise search engine optimisation through the use of meta data and meta tags.

Privacy and Protection of Personal Information All councils are governed by legislation. at this time. Additionally. it is not clear how the various legislation should be interpreted in regard to councils using social media tools. and disposition of personal information. It is important to adhere to the best practices of online graphic design to ensure that the Council is creating effective advertising that not only reaches the intended audience. content. the Local Government Act 2002 (LGA) and the Privacy Act. Online Communications Strategy ver1. typography. While. including the ability to personalise messages and deliver them to specifically targeted audiences. the importance of online graphic design—how online advertising is designed—is often underestimated.These elements provide information to search engines about the page which helps to categorize and.0 26/07/10 Page 42 of 46 . Today. privacy and protection of personal information • development and communication of Social Media Principles and Guidelines for Staff (Appendix C) • development and implementation of social media training for all staff • development of a disclaimer to be included on the Council’s Facebook page (Appendix F) explaining criteria for inappropriate comments and reminding fans that their personal information is being managed and stored by a third party. The Council takes very seriously its obligation to protect the personal information of citizens. A number of techniques utilised in online advertising design were identified and include information about colour choices. As such. because social media is still relatively new. ad types and location on the page which will decide the design of future online advertising. but that engages the audience and causes them to act. security. rank the page. and encouraging them to ensure that their privacy settings are appropriate • a proposal to delegate social media moderators to respond to postings to ensure consistent and timely maintenance and monitoring of online social media tools. the flexibility offered in terms of making quick adjustments or changes and the speed in which they can be placed before an audience. The intention of the LGOIMA is to promote transparency of local government by facilitating access to records by the public. effective web content is as important as meta data and tags in search engine ranking. it presents new issues and challenges to consider in this regard. the Act places obligations upon the Council for the appropriate collection. the affordability of pay-per-click advertising. the Council has chosen to take a proactive approach to addressing the issues of privacy and the protection of personal information that includes: • development and communication of a Social Media Policy (Appendix B) which includes specific direction about inappropriate content. However. Still. the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 (LGOIMA). the Privacy Act places requirements on councils to properly protect personal information. Complete best practices for online graphic design are contained in Appendix E. ultimately. size. Online graphic design There are many benefits to online advertising. use and disclosure.

not yet in use.0 26/07/10 Page 43 of 46 . Online Communications Strategy ver1. The Council’s social media moderators will be responsible for ensuring that applicable content is retained for the appropriate period of time under the Council’s records and retention schedule. will be developed.Records Management and Retention The use of social media by local government presents new challenges for records management and retention. Online conversations and engagement may constitute official records which must be kept according to the Council’s Records and Retention Schedule. A proactive approach to ensuring that appropriate records management and retention practices are implemented regarding the use of social media tools through collaborating with records management staff during development will be adopted. Procedures to ensure that records management and retention practices are followed in regard to other social media tools.

pictures. is like an online journal. comment on and potentially re-use them. Search engine optimisation is the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a website from search engines (ie.Glossary of Terms • Traditional communications refers to the sharing of information for any purpose via commonly used traditional tools such as media relations (media releases. Google or Yahoo) via natural search results. and can focus on one narrow subject or a whole range of subjects. rank the page. newspaper advertisements) or radio. and interviews). A blog is a frequently updated. not visible to users. Meta data and meta tags are a series of words that are built into the HTML code of the website. video and other meaningful material available on the Internet. but not limited to: • o Social media and social networking which focuses on building online communities of people who share interests and/or activities. Content Management System is a software suite that is used for creating and managing HTML content. print (brochures.0 26/07/10 Page 44 of 46 . information-sharing. engagement). posters. which match words contained within the web content on each page. o • • Email marketing which is a form of direct marketing that uses email as a means of communicating to an audience. A blog. marketing. The software provides authoring (and other) tools designed to allow users with little knowledge of programming languages to create and manage content with relative ease. Blogs range from the personal to the political. Popular methods include Facebook and Twitter. Examples include advertisements placed on third-party websites or search engines. Photosharing means uploading photos to a website such as Flickr or Facebook where people can access them to view. personal website featuring diary-type commentary and links to articles on other websites. o Online Advertising which is a form of promotion that uses the Internet for the express purpose of delivering marketing messages to attract customers or sell products. including. short for “weblog”. advisories. Online communications refers to the communication of information through the use of the Internet for any purpose (ie. or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others through two-way communication. ultimately. • • • • • Online Communications Strategy ver1. Microblogging has been pioneered by Twitter and is a relatively new addition to the world of social media in which contributors post a stream of very short messages (140 characters or less) providing information about their current thoughts or activity which can then be subscribed to by others. Content is used to describe text. These elements provide information to search engines about the page which helps to categorize and. There are several different general categories of online communications.

an encyclopaedia created by thousands of contributors from around the world. The tag enables others to click on it and jump immediately to the conversation. • • • • • Online Communications Strategy ver1. pay-per-click networks. The best known example is Wikipedia. Hashtags are a form of passing on information on Twitter. email marketing and digital collateral such as links within PDF documents. display advertising. Pay-per-click is an Internet advertising model used on websites. and which can then be viewed or listened to offline. Google Analytics is a free service offered by Google that generates detailed statistics about the visitors to a website. People may use hashtags (for example. Wikis can be a good way for people to write a document or plan a significant project together as they cut down on email. in which advertisers pay their host only when their advertisement is clicked. A wiki is a web page or set of web pages that can be edited collaboratively. RSS feed is short for Really Simple Syndication and it allows people to subscribe to content on blogs and other social media sites and networks and have it delivered to them through an RSS feed reader or their web browser. including search engines.0 26/07/10 Page 45 of 46 . It can track visitors from all referrers.• • Podcasting is audio or video content that can be downloaded automatically through a subscription to a website. Page impressions are counted each time a specific page within a website is viewed. #WDC) when talking about a Council Twitter post.

APPENDIX A Online Communications Strategy ver1.0 26/07/10 Page 46 of 46 .