Oh, the weather outside is frightful… and its the time to baton down the hatches.
If local government can get icy weather comms right they can keep people happy.
Here is a round-up of some content that worked well:
The myth-busting web page
There is a regular set of moans. You weren’t out. You didn’t grit. You didn’t grit enough. Having a web page like this is an excellent resource to have at your finger-tips. You can see it here.
The video from the cab of the gritter
It’s a video that is the perfect length to work on Twitter. Less than 20 seconds and shoots down the allegation that there were no gritters out. Great work.
— Wolves Council (@WolvesCouncil) December 10, 2017
The snowman post
This post from the Mayor of Walsall asks people to chip in with their snowmen pics. It prompted people to respond with images from across the borough.
The video of the gritters heading out
This is perfect. Gritters loaded up and heading for the exit at the gritting depot. Evidence that the work is taking place.
The shared hashtag and the conversational response
The #wmgrit hashtag works in the West Midlands as a 20 minute journey can cut through two or three council areas. So 10 councils have joined together to share the searchable hashtag.
A few people are asking if we can restock grit bins – we will get to these as soon as we can, but at the moment our priority is to treat main roads and keep these as clear as possible #wmgrit
— Telford Council (@TelfordWrekin) December 10, 2017
The news jacking of the big event
Ahead of the Merseyside derby Liverpool Council were telling people of the work that is going to take place to keep the game running smoothly. It fills a vacuum and was well shared.
With snow forecast ahead of the @LFC v @Everton derby, we’ll be treating pavements & roads around Anfield stadium and street scene staff will be out from early on Sunday clearing accumulations #DerbyDay #snow #grittertwitter pic.twitter.com/7Rhaxn6F5F
— Liverpool Council (@lpoolcouncil) December 9, 2017
Getting the message out early
With cold weather ahead this tweet to ask people to look after each other was well recieved.
— My Nottingham (@MyNottingham) December 9, 2017
Thanks to Viki Harris, Andrew Napier, Liz Grieve, Kelly Thompson, Paul Johnston and Dawn McGuigan.
30 days of human comms #29 Kirklees Council’s GIF to remind people that gritter drivers are human tooPosted: December 10, 2017
There’s an easy target when the snow falls. It’s the council’s fault that the roads were not gritted fast enough, thickly enough or enough times.
On the very pointy part of the sharp end are the gritter drivers who have to be up and out.
This tweet and GIF from Kirklees Council is a reminder that those at the wheel are human too:
Please spare a thought for our gritter drivers, 4am alarm call, sneaking out the house without waking the family, driving to the depot to get the gritters, filling them with grit and driving a laden HGV in bad weather on the 5am run – while most people are tucked up warm in bed. pic.twitter.com/RXe9dleRDq
— Kirklees Winter (@KirkleesWinter) December 9, 2017
So far in the round-up of human comms we’ve looked at digital content that the organisation has shaped itself. But it doesn’t have to be digital to be human.
More than 20 people were killed in the Manchester Arena bomb earlier this year.
Manchester as a city rallied and there was an outpouring of pride and determination.
Leading all that was the public sector across the city with police, paramedics, hospital staff, fire and the Mayor’s office.
In the very front line in all this were the paramedics and the hospital staff.
In the weeks after the bombing, the Press attention turned from the immediate impact to the stories of survival and recovery. Requests for interviews were made. But not all requests for granted.
Careful handling by Salford Royal hospital’s comms team led to a set of interviews and pictures with the local newspaper the Manchester Evening News. You can see the full story here.
Human comms is not just what you create but also what the Press can create with you.
Be more human. Like the A&S staff of Salford Royal.
You’d be surprised at just how little of the land is built on in the UK.
Just two per cent is concreted over which leaves a lot of greenspaces. In towns that’s parks and gardens. Out of town, that’s farms and countryside.
There’s a massive split between town and country. Neither side really understands the other. I grew up on the edge of Stafford and live in the Black Country. My Dad was a countryman at heard from Cumbria. Do I know what makes farmers tick? Not at all.
Less than one per cent of the UK population is employed in agriculture so there aren’t many of them, either.
This is why the @farmersoftheuk Twitter works so well.
The account presents a new farmer every week. They’ll tweet through their day and they’ll talk about their job and their challenges.
This week? A turkey farmer. It is December.
We rent a couple of pole barns next door for some of the turkeys. We straw up every morning if they need it or not, they like playing with fresh straw even if the bedding isnt dirty! #aweekinyourwellies pic.twitter.com/fSeLwgSZ6F
— Farmers Of The UK (@FarmersOfTheUK) December 6, 2017
Other weeks have seen other farmers and the account works best when you see the people mixed with shots of the farm. People, after all, connect with people.
— Farmers Of The UK (@FarmersOfTheUK) December 3, 2017
The approach means that you can connect with people for a time and start to understand them better. And if all else fails a shot of dogs floating through your timeline has to work. well
— Farmers Of The UK (@FarmersOfTheUK) December 2, 2017
A while back someone asked what the point of having more than the corporate account was.
Sure, the corporate account can do much but sharing the sweets and giving the right tools to people on the frontline can be hugely effective. They can post updates on breaking incidents to help keep the traffic moving.
An example of this is the motorway police officer PC Martin Willis captured holding on Superman-style to a van that was about to topple over and roll down an embankment with the driver trapped inside.
It’s by having the tools for the officer to communicate that that the story could be told.
1st on the scene of this collision on the #A1M this morning and faced with a vehicle balancing over the edge of a bridge with the driver trapped! After holding on to the vehicle to stop it swaying in the wind I can’t begin to desribe my relief when @WYFRS arrived on scene! pic.twitter.com/E8ilktlOl7
— Motorway Martin (@WYP_PCWILLIS) December 1, 2017
A beautifully human tweet? The cherry was put on top of the cake by the officer’s wife who spoke of how proud she was.
Myself and all of our families just wish to say how incredibly proud we are of my husband @WYP_PCWILLIS. Every day Martin, his colleagues and emergency services up and down the country do amazing things and deserve every bit of recognition they get #herohusband #mrsmotorwaymartin https://t.co/ZT0uCA7Es3
— Helen Marie (@HelenHelen839) December 3, 2017
Often police officers can seem remote when they are human beings doing an often difficult job.
Be more human. Like the motorway police officer and his wife.
Thanks to Ben Proctor for spotting this.