City Launches Social Media
Date Published: 9/05/2012
Facebook today endorsed the City of Rockingham’s launch into the social media sphere at the City’s Business Leadership Forum, attended by more than 100 local business leaders, local government and State dignitaries.
In a short message from Singapore, Facebook’s Manager for Australia and New Zealand, Peter Gan congratulated the City on implementing the social media site: “Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share, and make the world more open and connected.
“The City of Rockingham’s Facebook page will become the essential place for residents to reach out, interact and learn about the great services the City provides.
“With the City actively engaging with residents via Facebook, it will help promote the City of Rockingham’s best qualities, which will encourage more West Australians to visit reside and invest in the City.”
Keynote speaker for the event, Brian Giesen from Social@Ogilvy Public Relations congratulated the City on joining the social media revolution: “The City of Rockingham is setting the gold standard for how government can join the two-way dialogue with the public through social media.
“The City’s approach provides some important lessons for all Australian businesses on how to use social media to competitive advantage.
“The City is leading the way locally in social media interaction. From training their staff in content creation and community management to taking a decentralised approach to managing their social media presence.”
City of Rockingham Mayor Barry Sammels flipped the switch on the City’s Twitter and Facebook pages with welcoming posts and tweets: “Australia has some of the highest numbers of users of social media particularly Facebook, with 10.9 million members, or just over 51 per cent of the population.
“In just the last six months nearly 300 000 additional members signed up to Facebook, just in Australia.
“We are really excited to be joining the conversations already taking place on Twitter and on Facebook, and Council sees digital media as an important tool to reach more members of our community with news and information.
“There was a whole younger section of our community that the organisation was not reaching, and with the overwhelming popularity of social media, our traditional methods of communication were not as effective as they once were.
“While we are not the first Council to implement social media, but we certainly have put a lot of research and thought into how this tool could work for us and the community.
“For the City of Rockingham, the use of social media certainly became a case of how and when not if we investigate these revolutionary new Internet based ways to talk to people and share information.
“Councils are always challenged to do as much as we can for the best value possible; and the value of these primarily free online tools is far more than financial. With the potential benefits of social media
such as customer engagement, market research, direct communications, increased reach and brand awareness; social media became an increasingly attractive proposition for us and certainly a case of we have to implement this; let’s make sure we do it properly.”
The City of Rockingham’s journey into social media took about six months to complete and during that time a project team comprising staff from across the business including Community Development, Human Resources, Economic Development and Customer Service, who nutted out a range of different issues and potential business risks specifically for Local Governments.
Members of the project team researched, liked, friended and visited in person, other Local Governments already using social media platforms, and consulted with a number of specialist digital media firms.
From the research the City was then able to create a strong and workable position on social media and in February this year Council resolved to use Twitter Facebook and YouTube to engage with residents.
One major point of difference is that the City adopted a de-centralised management approach with 26 content writers from across every team in the organisation empowered to post content.
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