10 UK social media stats you NEED to know [video]


Gathered from ONS, Department for Culture, Media & Sport and Ofcom data, my short video rounds up the latest stats from 2016 that every marketer should know:

  • 82% of British adults use the internet daily.
  • Facebook has 38.9 million UK users.
  • 64% of British adults use social media.
  • Instagram has the youngest users.
  • LinkedIn has the oldest users.
  • 71% of British adults have a smartphone.
  • The most common use of social media is to find out what’s happening locally.
  • 99% of 16-24 year olds in the UK use social media weekly.
  • LinkedIn has more male users (62%). Instagram has more female users (56%).
  • 37% of people who use social media do so several times a day.
  • Twitter has 20.9 million UK users. The majority of whom are 25-44 years old.
  • Messaging apps are on the rise. There’s now 16.7 million UK WhatsApp users.

Any surprises in there?

#SocialMediaSanta has been nominated for a 2015 CIPR Award

I’m incredibly excited that #SocialMediaSanta has been nominated for a Chartered Institute of Public Relations Scotland Award. Something that started out as a really simple idea I had in 2012 has snowballed in to a campaign that last year provided thousands of toys to homeless children across Scotland – thanks to your generosity and the amazing hard work of Shelter Scotland. Watch this space and follow the #SocialMediaSanta hashtag to find out how we get on at the awards tomorrow and to take part in the 2016 campaign.

3 ways housing associations can embrace social media

My role at Third Sector Lab has allowed me to work with a number of housing associations and housing charities on social media training and strategy development. Digital isn’t about asking staff to find an additional four hours a week to ‘do’ social media. Rather it offers housing associations an opportunity to get their job done more effectively and efficiently than ever before. For me there are three key areas where housing associations can really make the most of social media – community building & customer service, thought leadership and storytelling.

Community building & customer service
Many housing associations have chosen a Facebook Page as their primary space to engage residents online when in actual fact a Facebook Group may be more appropriate for their needs. A simple Google search of ‘Facebook Groups vs Pages’ will help you weigh up the pros and cons. To paraphrase, a Page is a great marketing tool but it’s rare to see one work as an an online community for residents – that’s where Groups really come into their own.

Like many housing associations, Yarlington Housing Group had a small core group of involved residents, but the majority were older and retired. Ken Comber, Head of Communities at Yarlington, wanted to engage younger, more diverse tenants to become part of their resident focus groups. It was important that barriers, such as mental health, physical disability or location, didn’t impede the housing association’s methods of communication. With that in mind, Ken took the plunge and developed a Facebook group called Yarlington Chat. 18 months on, the group now has over 3200 residents signed up.

Yarlington Housing have found that while there are occasional complaints and criticism, most of the posts residents make are positive. Staff have built meaningful relationships with residents, increasing take up of opportunities, such as on training and digital inclusion projects. Ken also found that residents were answering each other’s questions and this resulted in fewer queries coming in to the office – streamlining the business.

Real friendships were formed. Isolated members of society became involved in the communities around them online. Members were offering help and support to each other in areas as diverse as depression and housing benefits. For Yarlington, their Facebook Group has become both a key customer service channel and a vital community building tool.

Thought leadership
Working in the social housing sector is about so much more than providing accommodation. Whether it’s the bedroom tax or making housing affordable for first time buyers there’s some huge issues affecting the sector. Every housing association should have a blog where your Chief Executive, Chairperson or policy specialist can offer their insights on the big issues. If you’re new to blogging a great role model to look towards is Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF). JRF blog posts are genuinely interesting or useful and never focus on organisational ‘news’, for example: ‘Care about poverty? Here are 10 reasons why you also need to think about ethnicity’ or ‘The #indyref debate on housing in Scotland needs to go beyond the so-called ‘bedroom tax’. If your housing association doesn’t currently have ability to blog look at guest blogging on sites with existing audiences, such as The Guardian Housing Network. A blog used in tandem with an active Twitter presence is a formidable communications tool.

Video and audio are hugely underused mediums within the social housing sector. While dull, lengthy corporate videos are ten a penny it is rare to see short, engaging content that tells the difference housing associations make on a daily basis. Using simple, free apps like Soundcloud, Audioboo, Instagram Video, Vine and YouTube frontline staff can become social reporters, demonstrating the impact of their work as they go via short conversations with residents. Audio storytelling in particular lets you focus on a person’s voice. In many ways, it’s a more intimate form of storytelling than using video. People are often more comfortable speaking into a microphone than they are looking into a camera.

How could your housing association embrace social media?

This article originally appeared in the Nov 2014 issue of Housing Scotland Magazine.

Five simple ways to get everyone in your organisation passionate about social media

I cannot believe I’m writing a piece on getting everyone in an organisation involved with social media in 2014, but the reality is most charities and public sector organisations are a long way off truly embracing the medium. Technology isn’t really the issue – it all boils down to trust. That isn’t to say that managers feel their staff will spend all day tweeting photos of their cat, but most don’t feel confident managing a strategic approach to using social channels.

While it’s easy to brush off social media as the responsibility of your marketing or communications person (if you’re lucky enough to have one), if you do, you’re missing a trick. Data shows that employees have greater reach, more influence and generate more revenue than official, branded organisation accounts. The organisation that taps into the reach and influence of its employees is much more likely to succeed in the social age.

So, if you’re tasked with making social media work within your organisation, how do you ensure everyone is on board? Here’s my five top tips which originally appeared in my article for the summer edition of Children in Scotland Magazine:

1. Show people that social media can help them get their job done
Staff don’t have an extra four hours in the week to ‘do’ social media. You need to show them how social media can help get their job done, how you can achieve your team’s goals and how you can reach your key audiences. You need a strategy. It’s a scary word, but, with a framework, you can create something meaningful and succinct.

2. Ensure people feel protected and empowered
If your social media policy was written by your IT-support person, it’s probably 15 pages long and terrifying as hell. He/she may be great at keeping your server ticking over, but they shouldn’t be single-handedly responsible for defining how your organisation communicates with the outside world. You need a policy that protects staff and your organisation, while making staff feel empowered and trusted, allowing them to experiment and drive your online communications. And it needn’t be more than one side of A4.

3. Create social media champions within each team
A strategy is great but without people driving it forward you’ll get nowhere. Start small and recruit social media champions who can get their team enthused – this also gives you a better opportunity to demonstrate impact to executive level staff. Give champions ownership of the channels they’re most experienced with and passionate about. Don’t make your video content champion the person who has never held a camera before.

4. Give volunteers and service users a meaningful role
At Third Sector Lab we spend a lot of our time training volunteers and service users to become social reporters for third sector conferences and events. The rich audio and video content these reporters create really tells the story of a conference in the way a written report cannot. How can you involve volunteers and service users in your online communications in a way that empowers them and tells their story?

5. Make sure the Chief Executive believes
The organisations that thrive in the social space are usually the ones who have a Chief Executive that values staff involvement. Just look at Young Scot – their online presence is driven by Louise MacDonald’s belief that social media can help bring about social good. More importantly she trusts her staff to get the job done using whatever tools necessary. While it can feel an uphill struggle at times, getting people from across the organisation involved in social media is worth the pain. People connect with people – they don’t connect with faceless, branded corporate accounts. If you want to use social media as a campaigning, fundraising and potentially service delivery channel you need to remember that.

Do you have any top tips for getting staff involved in your social media presence?

Oh no not another motion

Christine Grahame MSP sums up how a lot of us in the third sector feel about Parliamentary Motions:

Oh no not another Motion—That the Parliament notes that, of around 10,000 motions lodged during the current parliamentary session, the word “congratulates” appears 4,584 times, “award” 1,500 times and “lottery” 688 times; further notes that, in the Parliament’s Business Bulletin on 12 May 2014, new motions and those with additional support take up over 40 pages; notes views that, with 15 years since the Parliament was established, it is time to review the procedure and practice of lodging motions; believes that it is appropriate for there to be two categories of motion, those that seek a members’ business debate, which should not require, as in this case, an artificial reference to Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, and motions of national relevance, and considers that congratulatory messages should follow a separate process such as a message board on the Parliament’s website or contained in an interactive display in a public area, which could include a short video or images of the individuals, groups or issues mentioned in the message, thereby saving at least 40 pages of print and cluttered in-boxes.

Are ‘congratulatory’ Motions of this sort useful or do we need to move them to a different channel as Christine suggests?