Through the social media training that Mosaic has delivered for councillors over the years, we have discovered many local politicians who are reticent to engage with the public using Facebook or Twitter.
For some, it’s purely a question of time. They already have busy day jobs on top of their role as councillors or they are cabinet members with additional responsibilities that mean their thoughts are elsewhere.
For others, there’s the fear factor – the fear of the unknown, the fear of technology, the fear of being trolled.
Mostly, we come across councillors who love knowing what their friends and family are getting up to and will post the occasional holiday pic on Facebook or share local news about bin collections or potholes or new housing developments.
Plus there are the champion super users, who are all over Twitter, sharing their views, retweeting others, taking part in an active daily conversation, blogging on their own website, using Facebook and Instagram.
If you are a councillor, where do you sit on this spectrum? Of if you are a comms or democratic services officer tasked with finding a suitable social media training course for politicians, just how varied are your own councillors when it comes to their social media knowledge? Or perhaps you have councillors who have fallen foul of their party policies or your own local authority guidelines and need to be retrained, so they don’t make the same mistake twice?
At Mosaic, we are adept at working with councillors who have a huge variation in abilities. Our training is tailored around their individual needs – and we invite them to complete a pre-course questionnaire first and review their existing social media feeds so we can tailor our training to make it suitable for everybody.
Introduction to social media for councillors
Borne out of years spent working with councillors, we recognised the need to create a course in two parts, that can also be delivered in the evenings face-to-face or online, so it is flexible around their needs. The first hour focuses on how to set up a Facebook and Twitter feed, introducing those who have little knowledge about social media to the way the channels operate, how they should brand their profile and how they connect with others.
They learn all the language associated with each platform – from Facebook posts and likes to Twitter tweets and lists and more – and gain a really good insight into how easy it is to use their smartphones (if they have one) to write and share information quickly.
Advanced social media for councillors
Councillors who are already using these platforms join for the next two hours, where we cover the full gamut of how they can make the most of social media to engage with their constituents, along with plenty of dos and don’ts, including adhering to their council’s Code of Conduct.
We also look at the power of great photos and videos plus live video and there’s plenty of interaction and exercises, giving people the opportunity to share ideas about what’s coming up on their council calendar, demonstrating how they can use social media to show they’ve got their finger on the pulse.
Those who are unsure about using social media will leave enlightened and will have taken a big step towards overcoming their fears. Those who are keen to learn more will leave chomping at the bit to try out their new talents.
For those in marginal seats, social media really can make the difference between winning and losing their seat. How do we know? Because we’ve worked with so many councillors over the years who have shared their own experiences, leaving us in no doubt that, if used correctly, Facebook and Twitter are incredibly powerful tools in their campaigning armoury, putting them ahead of their political rivals in the online battle of the politicians.
Read more about the benefits of social media training for councillors.
For more great insights, why not book our social media training for councillors – plus you’ll receive an e-guide full of case studies and top tips.