Social Media Week @ ONS

This week London played host to its annual Social Media Week. It came at a neat point for ONS’s social media team who have been busy stepping things up a gear for optimum referrals, engagement and monitoring.

We published a series of internal comms articles on patterns we’re seeing from our our monitoring work and what’s in store for social media at ONS, specifically around mobile, semantic web and insight and conversion rate optimisation. I also presented at all three ONS sites to over 100 colleagues eager to understand more about ‘Social Media @ ONS’. I also held drop in sessions at each site for one to one chats which covered everything from the very basic to how we can take exposure to some releases even further – all of which was very encouraging. Between them some questions that arose were:

  • How can we promote social media – and indeed our outputs – to our respondents?
  • How can we monitor the comments section of newspaper website articles and respond accordingly?
  • Could Population create a campaign to push some upcoming releases?

Overall attendance and participation in the sessions was really good and encouraging. Attendees plotted themselves on a scale of advanced (11%), intermediate (44%) or light (45%) social media experience which demonstrates that we have some work to do to increase staff social media skills.

The week has been a good learning curve for us and planning is already underway for the next one in February. We would like to do more (like our colleagues at BIS) focusing on developing social media skills.

(My blog republished from ONS Digital Publishing blog.)

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Social media and digital intersecting

I’ve spent the last few days at all three ONS sites taking people through what ONS does in the social media space and listening to business area colleagues on how and what we could do to take it further. This prompted me to write this article exploring four themes where the discipline of social media is developing, crossing even further into broader digital world.

Mobile and tablets

Mobile and table consumption are quickly becoming the devices of choice in the UK (they are already in parts Africa and Asia). This has knock on effects for the whole of our digital publishing approach but for social media, it means taking more content to the audience rather than linking to a site that isn’t optimised for those devises.

> For ONS that means: we need to increase the quantity of content we publish on social media beyond headlines and links and play in the nuances of the channels we’re on and expectations of users on there.

Semantic Web

Digital first started out as a broadcast medium; content published which users consumed. Its next significant milestone was the web becoming more social and coming up is the Semantic Web where linked data talk to each other (something ONS WDA project aims to do). Thinking about how this affects social media, Facebook and Google+ (Google’s competitor to Facebook) are both looking to Open Graph which means when you search for ‘what’s the unemployment level in Penzance?’ it will include results that your friends have liked, commented or written about.

> For ONS that means: we need to diversify the quantity of content we publish on social media and also ensure that content is search engine optimised.

Insight and evidence

Social media is a rich space to glean insight into our users. Our own Gareth Pryce wrote on the Daily earlier this week on how he goes about his day-to-day work of social media monitoring and a significant output of his which allows us to see by release and audience group, who said what about our content. Reporting this kind of detail is only the start particularly because it’s not yet returning anything actionable ONS should do as a result.

> For ONS that means: As this discipline unfolds can explore triggers and patterns in users’ behaviours and motivations which would inform broad changes in what and how we publish.

Conversion Rate Optimisation

A ‘conversion’ is a sale, so when you reach the ‘Thank you for your purchase’ page on Amazon. For ONS perhaps our equivalent is staying on the site for 5 minutes or embedding our content somewhere. For all the tweets and emails that we send out, each link to our site could be tagged which will allow us to see what message drive what type of behaviour amongst our different audience groups. This insight allows us to optimise what we say publicly and also the user journey on our website.

> For ONS that means: we need to be open to the idea of optimising to granular detail what, when and how we publish content off site to ensure it gets the best conversion rate on site.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and of course, you’re welcome along to out next Social Media Working Group in October.

(Republished from ONS intranet.)