…and so does the Sheffield Telegraph
The council’s approach to Twitter has come a long since its fledgling first steps where #almost #every #word #was #inexplicably #hashtagged. They seem to have got the hang of it now and have certainly discovered its value, particularly during times of crisis such as our occasional floods.
I was thinking about how they might further improve what they are doing and for me the username they have chosen, ‘SCCPressOffice‘, is not very good. You might hope that after being on Twitter for a year or two, they would realise that the could change it to a name which would work for them much more effectively.
Here’s why Sheffield city council needs to change their SCCPressOffice Twitter username:
- It doesn’t contain the name of the organisation that it is supposed to represent
Sheffield city council is called Sheffield city council, and none of those words are included in the name. Instead, they have chosen to use an abbreviation that no member of the public would really choose of using (SCC) and also the name of the department providing the tweets. To me, this seems quite inward-looking: why base your name on meaningless local government internal jargon and the name of an internal department? By all means use your Twitter biography to explain who is running the account on behalf of the organisation, but not your username
- It doesn’t contain the name of the city it is supposed to represent
The council’s primary interest, and the reason it exists, is the city of Sheffield. Although it may not always be demonstrated with swagger, the people who live here love their city and have plenty of civic pride. Why wouldn’t the council choose to include the word Sheffield when representing itself online?
- It doesn’t help search engine optimisation
When choosing names for things like this, it is good to pick a name that is also the kind of thing that people will put into Google or the Twitter search box to look for it. Who on earth would search for SCCPressOffice? Perhaps someone wanting to get in touch with the press office. But everyone else would type ‘Sheffield council’ or ‘Sheffield city council’
- It doesn’t read very well
I’ve got used to it now, but to someone unfamiliar with the name, SCCPressOffice doesn’t scan very well and isn’t particularly easy to read. Their Twitter biography also doesn’t make sense: “Sheffield City Council, Sheffield where everyone matters”
- It isn’t really on-brand
I’m guessing that the council doesn’t have a very developed set of brand guidelines. If it did, referring to itself externally as SCC would surely not be encouraged
It seems to me that when setting up this Twitter account the council has made the classic mistake of naming it based on the internal set-up of the organisation, instead of their audience’s needs. As I said, few people call the council ‘SCC’ and no-one really cares that the press office update it. To the outside world, that Twitter account is Sheffield city council and the name should reflect that.
I’m not out to slag off the council or the people running the account, I just want to see the prominent users of digital services like Twitter in Sheffield use them to their maximum potential. They offer an opportunity to engage with hard-to-reach people and are a great way for the public to feed back on council services. Getting the name right is a good start and a platform on which to build.
As a footnote, the Sheffield Telegraph has also not chosen a very good Twitter username in ‘shftelegraph‘. It isn’t easy to remember what it is (I should know, as I type it every week), it doesn’t mention Sheffield or Telegraph and their Twitter name (different to username) is Sheffield Newspapers. When looking for the paper on Twitter, who would type the name of the parent group instead of the newspaper title?
Come on council and the Sheffield Telegraph: no matter how much red tape is in your organisation, the power is in your hands to make this easy change. You won’t lose any users and it can be done in two minutes. What do you say?