Tag Archives: social media

How a Facebook page helps my #hyperlocal blog Cwmbran Life #OiConf13

The Cwmbran Life Facebook page has given my WordPress blog a new lease of life and helped me pick up some quirky stories. The Cwmbran Life blog was set up in August 2011 but I only set up a Facebook page in January.

Forget the stories you read about Facebook use declining. Statistics are meaningless when you can see results (also called red Facebook notifications), in front of your eyes.

It’s helped me think differently about content as a hyperlocal blogger. I love using WordPress  but on times the short and snappy updates I want to share seem a bit out of place.

You get to try writing in a different tone of voice on Facebook and be human. I’m friendly and informal and sometimes a WordPress post left me feeling a bit removed from the quirky stories I was picking up.

Mark Schaefer said at yesterday’s OiConf event in Cardiff that content has to “meaningful, targeted and authentic”.

Facebook has really made me feel like I’m helping people. Everything I post is about the town so it’s definitely targeted and as for authentic well if I was brave enough to have a tattoo it would feature the word Cwmbran.

Here are some examples of how I’ve used Facebook :

Robbie Kennedy appeared on Britain’s Got Talent and this simple photo and caption got shared 76 times. He didn’t win it but certainly hit the spot with a lot of people helping to share the fact the town was so proud of him.

Vote for Robbie Kennedy

Vote for Robbie Kennedy

Any videos I’ve done have had to be uploaded to YouTube and then embedded in post. This is fine but sometimes you get a spark of an idea that you just want to share quickly. I was walking around Cwmbran Boating Lake and remembered how as a kid I used to jump over the channel between the small ponds.

I thought ‘can I do it as a 36 year-old?’. The answer was yes and click here to watch the death defying leap 🙂. This went a bit crazy and got  762 likes and a reach of just under 40,000.

Boating Lake leap

Boating Lake leap

This question posted on Facebook helped me track down my singing postman. There can’t be too many of them in Cwmbran and judging by the comments other people like to hear him as well. I now need to persuade him to be interviewed.

Cwmbran's singing postman

Cwmbran’s singing postman

For as long as I can remember this has been known as the ‘mushroom house’. A few days ago I  grabbed this quick photo that led to loads of comments and over 250 likes. Next plan is to interview the person who trims it.

The Mushroom Tree

The Mushroom Tree

This quirky job in Cwmbran has come up on Facebook. I posted one hour ago that anyone who is interested can contact me if they want to talk about social media and already one person has sent a message.

Social media job in Cwmbran

Social media job in Cwmbran

Cwmbran Community Council said on Facebook they were looking for ‘seven more likes to reach 100 and the 100th person would get a Cwmbran goodie bag’. A quick share on the Cwmbran Life Facebook page saw them reach 100 in under five minutes.

Help Cwmbran Community Council

Help Cwmbran Community Council

I love Cwmbran. I love Facebook. It’s a good mix.

Do you use Facebook as part of your hyperlocal blog? Do you find it useful? 

A mate’s Facebook status offends you. What do you do?

This happened to me this week and I didn’t do anything. I just clicked out of the app on my phone.

Since then I’ve had a funny feeling that I should have stood up for what I believe in and got involved in the debate.

I trust my belly and it’s telling me I should have done something. But what do you do with a mate on Facebook?

1. Get involved online? – I read somewhere that you shouldn’t start a conversation online that you’re not prepared to finish. His status had attracted a handful of likes and comments by the time I read it. I could tell it was going to run and run and I wasn’t planning on spending the day replying to any follow up comments..

2. Delete my mate as a friend?- This guy is a mate. Someone I actually know now and not from 25 years ago. I was a bit surprised at his views to be honest.

3.  Challenge him in person?- This is the most likely thing to happen. I don’t want to go into detail about what he said online for obvious reasons. The topic he wrote about is debated in papers and pubs across the country every day of the week. He chose to do it online which wasn’t a place I felt happy to talk. So will put it in the back of the mind  to chat to him about when we meet.

4. Delete your Facebook account?- This is my close second to number 3 on the list. I still enjoy Facebook and the small details of what your mates are up to make me smile. But there are occasional shares, likes and comments that you just don’t want to see…

These below have been added
after I posted this blog for the first time.

5. Forget about it and don’t let it bother you– This was suggested by @GrumpyWelshSod

6. You could also ask Facebook to develop a dislike button. This was suggested by @ena_lloyd

Who checks your Facebook after 5pm?

Who checks your Facebook after 5pm?

Do you worry over the weekend when you log out on Friday at 5pm and walk out of the office knowing that your organisation’s Facebook page is being ‘unwatched’ for 48 hours? At this time of the year is your office closed for a few extra days leaving you to worry a bit more about what is happening online?

Like many organisations we set up a Facebook page with the simple plan to use it as a place to have conversations. It’s a place where people can talk to us and we will talk back. A few months ago we held a question and answer session on Facebook that saw us talk to lots of people about Welfare Reform. It opened a lot of eyes in my office about how we can talk to people in this new way.

But the one thing we haven’t cracked is what happens outside normal office hours.

This is the message that we are using over the next week on our Facebook page. We are using Hootsuite to post this message every couple of days. Have you done something similar?

“We love getting your comments and questions on Facebook but just remember that over Christmas it won’t be checked as regularly as during a normal week. If you have any emergencies please call us on 0800 111 43 43. Have a great Christmas and New Year. (sorry, this is an auto-timed message that will appear a few times over the next week)”

We try and discourage people from telling us about repairs as our Facebook isn’t part of the helpdesk team. This is something that we want to improve in 2013 and see how we can work closer together on social media  Our brilliant 24 hours a day repairs service is at the end of a phone call and the expert staff can get info and ask questions to make sure things are logged and followed up. But on occasions people do send us a private message or post on the wall about a repair. I worry about someone posting at 7pm on a Friday “I’ve got a leak in my kitchen roof” and it not being picked up until Monday morning.The ‘about’ info on our Facebook page says

We enjoy getting comments on this page and always try to reply. But remember this page is not constantly monitored so it’s always best to call us on 0800 111 42 42 or 01633 620 111 if you need a quick answer to a question.If you have any repairs you should call us on 0800 111 43 43 so it can be recorded against your home. Please do not report repairs on this page as our staff will need specific information about the problem including your home address and we don’t want you sharing those details on Facebook.We will delete any comments that use swear words, abusive language or identify staff or residents. There may be other cases where your comment has to be deleted. If we remove your comment we will try and to send you a message through Facebook to let you know.

But when was the last time you read the ‘about’ info on a Facebook page? Noone reads this info and from my experience even when we reply to people saying: “No problem, thanks for this. I’ll share with the repairs team and get them to cal you. Don’t forget that it’s always best to give us quick call with urgent queries as this Facebook isn’t monitored all day. When we speak to you we can get all the extra info we need to make sure we sort out the problem. Cheers.”

I use Facebook and simply plan to log into the page a few times over Christmas just to have a nose.

Photo credit- Taken by Vicky Sedgwick and shared on Flickr under a creative commons licence. The photo link is here.