collective voice

Thanks for dropping by our blog page. Our team of over 40 full-time experts use our people-shaped approach to #MakeBetterHappen for individuals, communities and organisations. With insight, co-creation and engagement at the core of all that we do, our mission is to help shape a well, confident and self-reliant society. Call us on 0845 5193 423

How to make social media work for the public sector

June 13, 2017 11:24

Social media provides you with the opportunity to reach the vast majority of the population and it is a quick, easy and expedient platform to communicate through. For public sector organisations, social media can help you to promote your services, share best practice and positively influence your organisation’s reputation and brand perception.

A quick glance at user numbers demonstrates how widespread digital consumption and use of social media is in the UK:

  • 88% of all adults use the internet
  • 99% of adults aged 16 to 24 use the internet
  • The largest increases in the number of internet users are women aged 75 and over (169.0%), women aged 65 to 74 (80.7%) and men aged 75 and over (80.3%)
  • There are over 38,000,000 active social media users
  • 73% of internet users – which is 63% of all adults - have a social media profile, with 9 in 10 having a Facebook page
  • 65% of those with a social media profile say they visit social media sites more than once a day, and they mostly use a smartphone to do this.

I recall one public sector organisation realising this. Every Thursday, they would unleash a week’s worth of press releases and news articles through their social media channels. However, they viewed social media as a broadcast medium and didn’t respond to their followers when they commented and didn’t engage in the wider conversations. As a result, their number of followers declined rapidly. As an organisation, they concluded that social media wasn’t realising any benefit or return for them. By failing to understand that they needed to engage in conversations with their audience and be relevant to the conversation, this organisation severely limited the impact of their social media’s potential to increase engagement and rapport.

Imagine you are attending a social function where you don’t really know anyone - how would you engage with the other attendees? I doubt that you would march to the middle of the room, stand on a soapbox, pull out a megaphone and start talking about whatever was on your mind at that moment. Rather, you’d probably circulate for a while, listen to what different groups were talking about and introduce yourself into the conversation that you were most comfortable with or to the people you have most in common with.

So where do you start? Well, first of all, you need to have a clear vision of what you want to get from social media - what are you using it for and how will it fit into your wider communications and engagement programme? You also have to be prepared to accept that social media is not effective as a broadcast channel. It is an extremely effective way to engage people in two-way and often multi-way conversations.

You also need to generate exciting, informative and meaningful content that is relevant to the people (and organisations) you are trying to engage with. Knowing how to do this and where to find the source or inspiration for your content might be seen as a challenge. However, you may be surprised to learn where you’ll find inspiring and unique content for your social channels – I’ve found some of the greatest stories coming from conversations I’ve had in corridors, in the canteen, or by the kettle. Not every story you tell needs to be war and peace!

Here are some ideas to help you get started:

  • Brand awareness, reputation and management – by creating unique content, not only do you improve your SEO, but you can tailor your ‘voice’ and create, manage and maintain your identity. The key is to not be too self-promotional. Talk about the wider industry as whole, and about what good work you see other people doing
  • Community building  - you have to be systematic about this. Decide how often you want to engage with your community and then stick to it, schedule your tweets and posts using a solution like Hootsuite or Buffer and make sure your followers get your content when they’re online. We like this optimal scheduling tool from Buffer https://buffer.com/optimal-scheduling/calculate
  • Influencer outreach – I don’t think this is talked about enough in the public sector, even though influencers can be extremely engaging. Take a look at how Dr Andy Knox is using it to offer really sound advice and, by doing so, potentially freeing up GP appointments https://youtu.be/-asyBAgP688
  • Engagement and involvement – I’ve saved this ‘til last for a good reason. Most of us believe that this is the main use for social - to engage - and I think we should be smarter about this. The best engagement and involvement comes from doing the three points above well. It’s no longer enough to just use your social platforms to push out information as I mentioned earlier.

We’ve followed our own advice and put it to great effect - last year we won a CIPR PRide gold award for our work. We’d like to share what, how and, most importantly, why we use social media to engage and influence behaviour with you. If you want to know more about building a social strategy or want to come to one of our social and digital workshops, please get in touch with me and join us for our coffee and cake morning with our digital behaviour change experts.

paul.williams@icecreates.com

0151 647 4700

Using storytelling to define your STP's 'why'

February 28, 2017 11:08

With STPs under increasing pressure and expectations so high, how can you capture your STP's 'why' and achieve community engagement?

As Simon Sinek says, "very few organisations know why they do what they do." When it comes to your STP, people will invest in 'why' you do what you do, not your 'how' or 'what'.

So, how do you secure the meaningful engagement that is so essential to the viability and success of your STP?

Storytelling is a proven method of achieving buy-in and ownership of an organisation's purpose and vision.

A joined up approach to engagement puts an end to silo thinking and encourages an STP that is owned by everyone at every touchpoint. By visually co-creating and defining your STP's 'why', you will create a physical visualisation that can be carried forward.

With storytelling, you can expect:

  • increased engagement and attention from audiences
  • improved memory and ownership of key concepts
  • the ability to create an instant record
  • communicate the essence of your strategy and plan to those in your network and community
  • an opportunity to communicate with attendees immediately following your co-creation event
  • freedom from taking detailed notes and reading endless documents.

A by-product of using storytelling as an involvement approach is that you can save precious resources such as time and money. Storytelling is a simple and effective way to work together to understand the needs of your communities. 

"We have worked with ICE to build a systems approach to leaders and new ways of working via a strengths-based programme for leaders, health care professionals and patients. We were attracted to ICE’s open, inclusive and co-designed approach. The work has made us take a really hard look at our espoused values and culture, and built it in a new way using metaphor and storytelling. It has been a tremendous success; work started in one trust and we are now beginning a wider rollout. We aim to maximise the effectiveness and efficiency that can come as we integrate this approach across the accountable care system." - Val McGee, Director, Wirral Community Trust

With STPs still being fairly new, the cultural shift towards making change happen can feel overwhelming. Through storytelling engagement, you will gain a true insight into what the bespoke needs are of your citizens.

Using the latest behavioural science, storytelling will:

  • Define the culture and values you will be working with as a system
  • Define the role of each player in your system
  • Realise and value the differences of all your players
  • Define what is important to your system and the people in it
  • Ensure all activity is aligned
  • Decide what to do more of and what you can gain by giving some things up.

To find out more about how to realise the full potential of your STP, talk to the ICE team today on 0845 5193 423

Hold co-creative, meaningful engagements events that bring your vision to life!

October 26, 2016 12:10

Help your local health population, workforce and partners understand where you’re going – even better, take them with you!

We know how difficult it can be to gain buy-in and shape your organisation's future approach.

 ICE can work with you to host meaningful, collaborative engagement sessions where everyone has an opportunity to share their ideas and, just as importantly, they see those ideas recorded and transformed right before their eyes.

“…I was really impressed with what he was producing…we are looking to organise a patient feedback event involving children and this type of interactive and fun recording would be perfect for it.” – Dr Avril McCarthy, MedTech Lead NIHR Devices for Dignity HTC.

When engagement techniques and their outputs fail to connect with their audience, we tend to see:

  • A lack of opportunity for citizens/staff/partners to have their say or learn from one another’s experiences
  • Alienated individuals that don’t see how they fit into the picture or how the vision will work for them
  • Wordy documents that don’t capture the buy-in or imagination of the audience.

What happens if you provide a level arena for conversation and ideas to form together, along with clean questioning and vibrant visuals?

Our change practitioners will help you to tell your story with everyone in the room included, and all of it is captured onto your very own graphic visualisation by our gifted scribes.

What can our co-creative graphic visualisations give you as the hosting organisation?

  • Focused insight to unlock belief systems and create a unified energy amongst individuals

  • A visual set of iconic metaphor-centred reminders, owned by everyone who took part

  • Incredible visuals - readily available to share, promote and revisit the conversation

  • Assurance that the audience understands the purpose of your discussion and that their input feeds its objectives.

What benefits do your audience receive?

  • Captivating facilitation that drives productive conversation, whatever their learning preference or confidence.

  • They won’t feel that they are being influenced into a certain response thanks to our clean questioning approach and open discussion

  • They are more likely to buy into the ideas being discussed as they can see their input is being captured and appreciated/debated by others in the room.

For more information, call us on 0151 647 4700 or email ideas@icecreates.com

NHS Blood and Transplant - citizen-centred strategy in action

July 28, 2016 16:30

At ICE, we were delighted to be recognised for our citizen-centred work with NHS Blood and Transplant recently when we won the Best Local Community Initiative of the Year Award at the Public Sector Communications Awards 2016.

Read our case study to find out how we used Insights, Co-creation and Engagement to change perceptions about organ donation with local African Caribbean communities here:

NHS Blood and Transplant - Case Study

To find out more about how you can make citizen-centred strategy a reality, call Marie Broeders now on 0151 647 4700 or email marie.broeders@icecreates.com

NHS Vanguard sites – hold co-creative, meaningful engagement events that bring your vision, discussions and ideas to life!

January 20, 2016 09:20

 

Help your local health population, workforce and partners understand where you’re going – even better, take them with you!

Vanguard sites have already proven themselves by securing the opportunity to boldly implement new models of healthcare.

 

As the NHS looks to break the mould and deliver new services that build on the foundations laid down in the 5 Year Forward View, they will all need to connect with their local population, workforce and partners in order to secure buy-in and shape their approach. ICE can work with you to host meaningful, collaborative engagement sessions where everyone has an opportunity to share their ideas and, just as importantly, they see those ideas recorded and transformed right before their eyes.

“…I was really impressed with what he was producing…we are looking to organise a patient feedback event involving children and this type of interactive and fun recording would be perfect for it.” – Dr Avril McCarthy, MedTech Lead NIHR Devices for Dignity HTC 

When engagement techniques and their outputs fail to connect with their audience, we tend to see:

  • A lack of opportunity for citizens/staff/partners to have their say or learn from one another’s experiences
  • Alienated individuals that don’t see how they fit into the picture or how the vision will work for them
  • Wordy documents that don’t capture the buy-in or imagination of the audience

What happens if you provide a level arena for conversation and ideas to form together, along with clean questioning and vibrant visuals?

Our change practitioners will help you to tell your story with everyone in the room included, and all of it is captured onto your very own graphic visualisation by our gifted scribes.

What can our co-creative graphic visualisations give you as the hosting organisation?

  • Focused insight to unlock belief systems and create a unified energy amongst individuals

  • A visual set of iconic metaphor-centred reminders, owned by everyone who took part

  • Incredible visuals - readily available to share, promote and revisit the conversation

  • Assurance that the audience understands the purpose of your discussion and that their input feeds it's objectives

What benefits do your audience receive?

  • Captivating facilitation that drives productive conversation, whatever their learning preference or confidence.

  • They won’t feel that they are being influenced into a certain response thanks to our clean questioning approach and open discussion

  • They are more likely to buy into the ideas being discussed as they can see their input is being captured and appreciated/debated by others in the room

For more information see our Graphic Scribes Booklet and call us on 0151 647 4700 or email simon.platt@icecreates.com