30 days of human comms: #30 London Midland signs off

It’s unplanned and ironic that the 30th post in this series is one from a railway company I’ve often despaired at.

London Midland were a train company that operated through the North West, Midlands and London. The trains I largely travelled on in the Black Country had no wifi, no plug sockets, no coffee and no tables. They also used to have their drivers poached.

But as a company their social media was superb. Human. Engaging. Real time. This company set standards their trains rarely did.  If you were sat outside New Street station and wondering why you were not moving along the tracks their Twitter would tell you in good humour.

So, their sign-off when their franchise came to an end was no surprise:

Be more human. Be more like London Midland’s Twitter.


NICE, NICE BABY: Seven examples of good icy weather comms

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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.

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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.

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.

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.

Getting the message out early

With cold weather ahead this tweet to ask people to look after each other was well recieved.

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 too

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:

 


30 days of human comms: #28 A newspaper interview with medics who treated Manchester bomb patients

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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.


30 days of human comms: #27 Lochaber & Skye Police talk to someone at risk of domestic abuse

A while back a colleague ran a campaign against domestic violence that stays with me. 

They researched how best they could reach women in particular who are at risk and the men – and it is often men – who are the perpetrators.

Their research showed that beer mats were a way of reaching people.

I remembered this when I saw these tweets from Lochaber & Skye Police to someone who was following their account. They are written as a letter and they’re written in a thread.

And then a second tweet.

And a final tweet.

A deeply personal message written in plain English. It’s so beautiful it’s poetry.

Be more human. Like Lochaber & Skye Police.

 


30 days of human comms: #26 The @FarmersOfTheUK Twitter account

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.

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.

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


30 days of human comms #25 the Yorkshire motorway police officer and his wife

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.

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.

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.