The Australian Centre for Excellence in Local Government (ACELG) has published new research that reveals that councils taking a strategic approach to social media can achieve effective outcomes in engaging with communities.


However, the research also shows that leadership is critical in taking advantage of the social media in view of potential barriers, concerns and implementation issues.


The Connecting with Communities: How Local Government is Using Social Media to Engage with Citizens report involved 560 councils and a series of in-depth interviews with key staff, elected members and local government professionals.


"I'm very pleased that ACELG has undertaken this comprehensive research on the topic. It's crucial that local governments’ tap into this resource and use it to effectively to connect with the community,” Lord Mayor of Adelaide City Stephen Yarwood said.


The report shows that social media is rapidly becoming a critical means of communications, showing that a rapidly growing pool of councils are using diverse social media tools.


"Social media brings a different set of demands to traditional communication and it is important for councils to ensure they are appropriately resourced and ready to integrate it into their communication strategies,” the report’s author Anne Howard said.


The full report can be found here