NALC event discusses the pros and cons of using social media 


The National Association of Local Councils' (NALC) latest online event discussed the advantages and disadvantages of using social media in the local (parish and town) councils sector.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of social media in the local council sector event 28 February 2024 featured an expert panel that included Louise Bareham, clerk at Faversham Town Council, Nicky Old, director of communications at the Local Government Association and Daniel Purchese, co-director at Breakthrough Communications. 

They spoke about the advantages and disadvantages of using social media in the sector and offered guidance on using it effectively and responsibly.  

Nicky Old highlighted the importance of having a social media plan that states the rules of engagement and what social media users can expect from the page, such as how the council prefers to be contacted, how quickly people can expect a response and the conduct of behaviour expected from people engaging with the council's social media platforms. Also, Nicky stressed the importance of knowing when to step back and not engage in threatening behaviour. She stated, "We all need to consider people's health and mental health when it comes to social media usage. To link to that, know when to step back. Remember that you do not have to engage in abusive or threatening behaviour, and you can also take time out and off social media". 

Daniel Purchese spoke about how many communities local councils are trying to reach on social media and the positive impact of having a social media presence on local councils. He emphasised that "the benefits [of social media] potentially are much greater fundamentally. To reach particularly hard-to-reach groups within your community, people that may not otherwise engage with a parish or town council, increasing and amplifying your digital voice in the community and breaking down barriers. Let's bring our councils to life. To demonstrate the genuinely awesome work councils are doing across their communities". 

Louise Bareham used her experience using social media at Faversham Town Council to provide some practical social media dos and don'ts for local councils. She highlighted that Faversham Town Council mostly uses Facebook, which is an effective way of sharing crisis information quickly and an excellent platform for events. She also noted that moderation can limit negative comments by filtering keywords. 

Find out more about NALC's events

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