PR best practice in local government? Yes!

You don’t often expect examples of best practice to jump out at you from local government but hats are off in our office to both the Far North District Council and Auckland Council for their use of social media.

The Far North District Council gets that social media is about engagement, community and information-sharing. It’s not a community group – there are no bicycles for sale or people wanting lifts to Auckland on its Facebook page – but the page is chock-a-block with interesting information about stuff happening across the Far North and the achievements of people and organisations around the region.

As a result it has a significant following with people actually engaging with the organisation through its Facebook page and developing relationships with it. Exactly what social media is all about. On ya’, FNDC.

You don’t develop relationships in the pub by just talking about yourself, do you? It’s the same in social media fora.

Social media is, ultimately, about sharing information. Sure, from an organisation’s perspective it’s about developing relationships. But you don’t develop relationships in the pub by just talking about yourself, do you? It’s the same in social media fora.

Auckland Council has long used Twitter to enormous effect. The people who operate its account strike just the right balance between chatty and formal, they’re knowledgeable and patient and they play a real role in creating ‘warm and fuzzies’ with Auckland ratepayers. Way, way, way more effectively than any number of press releases could achieve.

I’ve heard many CEOs argue that their organisations are not the sort of organisations that people want to form relationships with. And in nine cases out of 10 I don’t believe a word of it. If local government can do it, in my view, so can they.

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