Survey reveals social media could save local government money

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12th January 2016 13:14 - Local Government

According to a recent report, entitled ‘WhatsApp-ening in #LocalGov Social Media?’, 71 per cent of local authorities believe that social media Survey reveals social media could save local government moneycreates an opportunity to save money.

The research analysed the social media activity of local authorities and discovered that nearly three quarters (74 per cent) would like to maintain or further develop a strong presence on social media. Of the respondents, 71 per cent said that they believed this would save them money.

The market research was conducted by the accountancy and business advisory firm, BDO LLP, and uncovered that social media is largely seen as a handy tool for making council’s day to day business more streamlined.

WhatsApp-ening in #LocalGov Social Media? also revealed the important influence senior local authority leaders have on social media activity in their offices, with 74 per cent of those questioned claiming that the approach adopted by leaders has a notable effect on the whole organisation.

According to the findings in the report, Facebook and Twitter are the two social networks most used within local government, with 90 per cent and 100 per cent of those questioned using these channels respectively.

Of the social media platforms in the survey, Instagram was found to be the fastest growing social media channel, with 20 per cent of local government councils utilising it last year, in comparison with 38 per cent this year, whereas Flickr has only increased by 4 per cent.

On the other hand, YouTube usage has decreased and only a few local authorities use Snapchat and Whatsapp.

Head of Local Government at BDO LLP, Andy Mahon, said of the research findings: “During the last four years of analysing the social media activity of local government, it is clear that authorities they have made strides in moving from ‘communication’ to ‘conversation’ in terms of how they engage with citizens.”

He added: “Even more encouraging has been the increasing amount of buy-in from senior leadership. Those that have been shortlisted in the Top 20 have been successful in engaging their audiences – both internally and externally – and are using multiple platforms to mix personal and professional content effectively. We firmly believe that the higher the buy-in from senior figures, the higher the success rate will be for councils on social media.

“However, as the UK’s digital transformation continues, it’s important that they continue to innovate. There are a variety of social media platforms that can be used to convey different messages and there are some excellent examples from across the country. We can expect to see increased activity in Instagram and WhatsApp during the next 12 months.”

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