How the City of Greater Bendigo Informs, Educates, and Engages Constituents on Social Media
The City uses social media to engage constituents and provide information on almost 70 local government services
Located in Victoria, Australia, Greater Bendigo is the state's third-largest economy. With a population of approximately 120,000, Greater Bendigo is a critical service and infrastructure centre for north-central Victoria.
Many units across the City of Greater Bendigo have important information to share on social media. Some manage their own channels, while others connect with the core communications team to share their updates. With content coming from a variety of sources—and just one person dedicated solely to social media—the City rebuilt its strategy to create efficiencies, automate manual processes, and remain compliant with Australia’s strict public data policies.
Using Hootsuite’s social media management platform together with Brolly’s social media archiving tools, the City can focus more time on high-value activities like content planning, constituent engagement, and audience analysis.
- 26.6%engagement rate
- 296Kpeople reached with a post scheduled at recommended time
- 30%population reached organically
How they did it
In 2018, the City of Greater Bendigo launched a new social media strategy that included replatforming to Hootsuite and automating social media archiving using Brolly. This enabled the City to streamline workflows, focus on content performance, and deliver more advanced reporting to leadership and stakeholders across the organisation.
Streamlining workflows with scheduling
The City of Greater Bendigo’s online communications officer Natasha Leary is responsible for building and executing the social media strategy for the City’s corporate social media channels. To stay on top of things, Leary schedules everything in Hootsuite in advance, freeing up time to focus on engaging with the people of Greater Bendigo throughout the day. She uses Hootsuite’s streams to monitor online conversations and proactively addresses any confusion or hot-spot messages before they become an issue.
Coordinating social content to support City initiatives
As part of the City’s new social media strategy, the team prioritizes quality content over content volume.
“There's an expectation for us to reshare everything the state and federal government agencies post,” explains Leary. “Our analytics helped us prove our audience doesn’t respond to that.”
Instead of resharing lots of content, Leary spends time optimizing and localizing content to be more engaging for the City’s audience. She also uses analytics within Hootsuite to determine what content people want to see.
Remaining compliant with Australian data laws
In Australia, the local government is viewed as a publisher, so record-keeping is a critical part of social media communications. To remain compliant with Australia’s strict privacy and public data policies, every social media post and comment—including any edits made after publishing—must be archived and stored in Australian data centers.
Hootsuite offers a social archiving solution through its partnership with Brolly. Because Brolly is integrated directly within Hootsuite, the City can rest easy that social media compliance and record-keeping are completely automated.
“With other archiving tools, the data is stored in the US but with Brolly, it is stored in Australia and completely compliant with Australian laws,” says Leary. “Even during elections, when other local governments choose to shut down social media for fear of breaching election communications rules, we can keep it running business as usual.”
With Brolly, the City was able to monitor all social media comments during election time, hide any non-compliant content, and ensure that all comments—edited or not—were archived.
Using analytics to gain internal buy-in for social media initiatives
In the past, the City of Greater Bendigo had no way to measure its social media performance effectively. With support from their dedicated local customer success manager at Hootsuite, the City set up automated reporting to measure the impact of social media and provide regular reporting to stakeholders across the organization.
Hootsuite’s Social Maturity Assessment helped the team establish benchmarks for its social media performance and uncovered some quick wins to implement to boost engagement. For example, the team adjusted job application posts on social media to be in line with other advertising (such as job boards) and saw increased traffic to the website and a 13% increase in the number of applications from social media year over year.
Hootsuite saves me a huge amount of time as it helps me get organized and keep track of everything in one place. Without it, we’d need a whole team to run social media.
The City of Greater Bendigo has seen a substantial increase in its audience engagement and follower numbers over the past few years. Engagement is as high as 26.6% on some topics and follower numbers on Facebook and Instagram are growing by 9% and 13% respectively year over year.
The team continues to work with Hootsuite to build its strategies for the future. “The Hootsuite team is proactive in keeping me informed of all the support available to me,” notes Leary. “They recently conducted a social media maturity assessment to help me benchmark against other organizations and they always keep me in the loop on webinars and training so I stay on top of best practices.”
The City is also keeping a close eye on population growth and demographics in its region so it can create content that is inclusive for all constituents today—and in the future.