Following the trends: results from the 2013 BDO Local Government Social Media Survey

18 May 2013

In this report, the findings from a survey of digital media usage amongst local councils in the UK are presented.

The report looks at the top issues affecting the use and success of social mediaa and whether there has been an  increased uptake of digital media tools such as SMS, webchat and digiTV.

The survey found that 98% of councils are using some form of digital or social media to engage communities, digitise services and make websites the first point of contact for residents6. Mobile is also emerging as an area of opportunity. Smartphones are becoming a mainstream way for people to access the internet and according to a recent survey of digital trends in the US, mobile devices now account for 24% of all page views. It is clear that mobile is the next ‘big thing’ in council customer services, following the web and social media.

Despite these advances in technology, the survey revealed that some council staff still do not feel comfortable using new tools in the local government context. 71% of respondents agreed with the statement that “there is either lots of confusion or limited understanding about a social media strategy in my organisation”. Confusion has reduced since last year, but not by much.

Use of social media has increased, and we are seeing new and different ways of using digital tools for local government every day. Yet we still come up against three common questions all the time:
• How do you prove social media works?
• How do you manage risk and reputation?
• What tools and support are out there to help?

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