Building the case for a multi-partner approach to social media

We know we need to sort our social media  out at DCC; we have many channels, but no coherent plan for managing conversations, responses and we should be making much better use of different social media platforms. There are some great tools out there, but all come at a price, and when social media is perceived by the organisation as “free”, it is challenging to build the case for investment.

So earlier today, I winged out the email below to colleagues and contacts in other councils across Devon, to try and kickstart a conversation around collaborating to invest and operate a shared social media platform. I thought there was no point in re-writing the email, so here it is verbatim; it gives an overview of our rationale, but my purpose in posting it here, is that I would love to hear what other #localgov and #publicsector organisations are doing around this agenda.

Hi there,

I hope you don’t mind the blanket email, but we’re trying to develop a more coherent approach to our social media channels at DCC, and would welcome an informal conversation and advice from other Devon #localgov sorts with a social media interest…

Briefly, we feel there is a lot of merit and value in investing in a social media platform to enable us to bring our different channels together, to allow us to deal with different enquiries that need a response more efficiently, to track responses and other metrics, and to enable more efficient cross-posting and publication, especially in emergency situations.

At the moment we use a fairly primitive – but effective! – set up of a free, shared, Hootsuite account, and a linkup via IFTTT and Trello to record tweets that need a response. There are a variety of platforms out there – e.g. Hootsuite, Social Sign in, Sprout, Radian (part of Salesforce), Falcon Social and others.

Do you currently use such a platform? If so what platform are you using? What is your experience of using such a platform? Benefits? Costs?

I would also like to explore, because I think there are some great advantages, the linking of such a platform – with appropriate controls and segregation between accounts – across local councils and other public sector partners, for the same reasons, but also because often times a member of the public tweets ‘the council’ indiscriminately. For example they don’t necessarily differentiate between the council that collects the bins, or the council that fixes the street lights, or the council that runs the recycling centre, or the fact that they contact DCC but they are located in Plymouth… and I am sure there are many other instances you have come across!

Having the ability to automatically assign that to the appropriate person in the appropriate council, with a record of that, would be fast, efficient and would help to deliver great customer service. There would of course also be an economy of scale if we as local councils wished to come together on one platform; typically the more users the cheaper the per user license costs.

In summary I think there are many advantages; I have no idea if that interest is shared, whether collectively we have enough appetite, budget, political buy-in for such an approach, but I think it is worth exploring!

If you have any thoughts, observations, do get back to me, via email or @tom_s_dixon, and I’ll collate and circulate. Those who might want to get on board with a collaborative approach let me know and we can perhaps set up an initial informal meeting to talk it through.

If I have emailed this to the wrong person in your organisation, apologies and do please forward on!

Very best wishes,


Tom Dixon

Public Information Manager

Please note I do not work Thursdays

:: 01392 383000 [x1322]
:: Corporate Communications (G03) , Devon County Council, County Hall, Topsham Road, Exeter, EX2 4QD
:: @tom_s_dixon
:: LinkedIn

Tom Dixon

Digital stuff with a Devon flavour. Manage the Digital Delivery Team at Devon County Council. Can be contacted via @tom_s_dixon or

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