Would You "Like" Nelson City Hall on Facebook?
At their January 23 meeting, Nelson City Council discussed the possibility of using social media. This came up during a presentation by Deryn Collier about her work as the city’s communications consultant
“I am not a Facebook user and I have to admit I am a bit of a Luddite in the social media field,” said Nelson City Councillor Donna Macdonald, “but I have been to some workshops and I do know that some municipalities have found a way to use Facebook really effectively.”
Take it slow
“The key is that we have to have the capacity to do Facebook properly,” said Macdonald, “and not to say, ‘Yeah, we are going to be on Facebook and we are going to answer every question there.’ We need to do it in stages and not overburden staff or council because I can image the demands on it could be quite great.”
Social media policy needed
Mayor John Dooley expressed concern that perhaps people don’t know there is a lot of information on the city’s website. “Sometimes I wonder how people know it’s there, and how often they actually go to websites,” he said.
Collier responded that many people look for such information through social media, especially Facebook. But before a city council gets involved with Facebook, she explained, there are some policy decisions to be made about who represents the city on Facebook and what they can say. She also said the city would have to dedicate some resources to it.
The city’s communication goals
In the summer of 2010, when Collier started as the communications consultant, the city developed five goals for communication with the public:
1. Be more proactive in communicating with the media
2. Communicate the big picture (explain how council’s actions are linked to its stated strategic priorities)
3. Improve the effectiveness of the monthly newsletter
4. Provide more opportunity for interactive communication with residents
5. Build a foundation for more effective e-communications.
Collier told City Council she is satisfied that there have been great strides in the first three goals, and Council seemed to agree. Her written report with examples of her successes can be found here. Click on January 23 Split Screen and then on RFD Communications.
City booth at the market?
Items 4 and 5, which would include social media, are still in the works, Collier said. She told Council she has many ideas including the possibility of the city having a booth at the Wednesday market on Baker Street in the summer.
How important items 4 and 5 are to council may be decided in its budget priority setting sessions coming up in February. Those sessions are open to the public. Click here for a schedule.