Vicky Pollard and #SoMeSW

Ages ago, I was asked to present at the monthly social media meet up in Bristol called Social Media South West (#SoMeSW). Happy to oblige, I wanted to get more stuff tried and tested at ONS first for us to debate it at the meet up, so it’s taken a little while for the date to come around. Likewise, my secondment at No10 got in the way, but I figured people might also be curious to know how things ran there as well.

You’ll see the presentation is in three sections.

  • My time at No10
  • ONS (news, campaigns, colleague engagement and analytics / insight)
  • Break out / chatty bit for people to pick apart what we do at ONS and offer up suggestions, improvements and the like.

For the ONS bit (and like any job, I’m sure) it’s difficult to cram everything into a couple of slides. I didn’t want to ruin the flow of ideas coming coming back at me but likewise, I didn’t have space to include the nuances of things we’d thought of or tried. So as people were talking, with buttoned lips, I found myself saying in my head ‘yeah but’ and ‘no but’ much like a fictitious Bristolian. Fitting I thought, given the location of the meet up.

Anyway, the session was really useful. People were very kind in complementing what we do, but like everything, there’s always room for improvement. Here’s a handful of them and I’d like to thank everyone for their participation.


Subject: News
Suggestion: Respond to trending topics.

This would complement a recent push at ONS to be response to topical events. A recent G7 meeting, house prices and even the Farnborough International Air show are all examples of content being turned around within a few days. A step up I’d like to try would be to keep an eye out for trending topics, when something comes up and we’ve content ready-made, put it out again. Not quite like the way Beat by Dre and We Are Social create fresh content as stuff is peaking, but a good step forward nonetheless.

Subject: Colleague engagement
Suggestion: Understand obvious barriers.

The challenge laid down was, ‘how do staff use the web outside of work?’ We’ve all got an ability to use technology to help complete our jobs but for some, that might be it. I wondered if we should organise in a quiz / social media treasure hunt for a room of 20 people where answers are submitted over twitter etc. It’d be a soft introduction to the technology and also create some warm leads to ‘convert’ to social for work purposes.

Subject: Campaigns
Suggestion: Ask users questions as well as broadcast our content.

We don’t do anywhere near enough of this and we should. Two examples that come to mind are around youth employment and uses of census data. Both were positive and I think we should harness the strong community we’ve built – especially on twitter – to make our interaction more two-way, as opposed to largely talking about out content.

Subject: Reporting
Suggestion: Deeper insight and measure the quality of what we’re doing

I’m pleased with the level of reporting we do which keeps pace with what matters, but also not to getting bogged down in the minutiae to actually get on with stuff. That said, social is developing into a treasure trove of data that could be explored further to be more intelligent as to who we develop relationships with and also how our works affects people in the longer term. See these two presentations from #MeasureFest from Rebecca Carson at Brandwatch and Beth Granter at Brilliant Noise.