This old dog has some new tricks

We are all aware of the changes social media has brought about in our personal lives. But has your working life changed? Mine has quite substantially.

Dog with ball on his nose

Image courtesy of Meg Price, Flickr

The local government sector long operated with a formal complaint system, along with phoned in, handwritten or typed customer service requests. Effective maybe but efficient? No. These things do still exist, bless their cotton socks, but the last few years have seen a massive shift in the way a Council does business.

Do you have a light bulb out in your park? Snap a pic and upload it to council’s page, or tag them in your album. You will send a communications or customer service officer charging through your local government building seeking answers to your questions. Bypassing the usual rigmarole. Through interactions with the community, officers must be efficient, engaging, and above all be “honest and respect the rules of social media”(Kaplan:2010).

Along with these real time customer service requests, using social media as part of a larger marketing strategy in a “increasingly participative and interactive digital culture”(Zhou:2011) is smart. For Council, a new customer base is reached and engaged in decision-making issues. As with any new medium, there is potential for misuse. The need for good policies and accountable actions by staff are bringing local government to the forefront of a great customer experience.

Below is a video about Social Media Policy from the Department of Justice in Victoria. #theneedforgoodpolicy

Text References:

Zhou, X., (2011), Connecting with a click: Using social media as a new marketing strategy, pp.26 Journal of Digital Research & Publishing

Kaplan, A.M., & Haenlein, M.,(2010) Users of the world unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media, pp.67, Kelley School of Business Horizons 53 (59-68).

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