Sunday, 8 June 2014

Uptown Top Ranking

If you do the Twitter thing, follow me at @hotpixUK
or LinkedIn here

It was great this week to see Paul Taylor of Bromford put together the top 50 housing digital power players. You won't have missed it, but here is a link anyway -
It contained 4 out of 5 people I know from Twitter, good eggs one and all, real ambassadors for housing. It generated plenty of tweets & re-tweets and also a very interesting curmudgeonly response from @churchiechat (24dash's own Brian Church) , who simultaneously made me smile and wince at the same time. You can read his 'revealing the emperors new clothes' contribution at

It obviously rattled a few cages as a quick search on Twitter reveals.

It is great to shine a light on things however and I think there is a serious point to it. I have seen how the current political regime has tried on many levels to wear down social housing, demonise it, question its worth. In our 50 digital power players, we have a number of exceptional individuals, using social and conventional media to fight the corner. In a landscape of perhaps 800 RSL's in the UK, 50 disciples for me falls woefully short.

I work with over a dozen organisations involved in providing or servicing social housing. Just about them all, have a comm's team. Often they do a great job generating content for quarterly newsletters or get involved in TP groups. Some are in our 50 and live and breathe the cause. I know some staff in comm's teams who are active on Twitter, but far more that are not engaged, do not see it as their job, do not understand it. Just like @churchiechat. He is not a bad man, just one of his generation I guess.

Now, I have substantial experience in communication, drafting news releases for software/services, a revived community library enterprise and a successful camera club. All of those utilise Facebook, Twitter, local and regional newspaper reports, brochures, posters on the back of toilet doors. I see the value in digital media as well as traditional means. Its "different strokes for different folks", as Gary Coleman used to say. I am used to making the mundane a bit more exciting, just like your comms team. They are skilled communicators. Honest!

If our 50 can invigorate just 5 comm's team people each. We have 250 more digital heroes, spreading the good news that @CouncilHomeChat manages to get across by busting myths about Social Housing by providing a platform for people's stories/experiences. I have deliberately changed 'Council' to 'Social'. I grew up in a 'Council House', but even that house now is a 'High Peak Community Housing' property (..and better for it too than what it was, I am sure). many places where I work, twitter provides KPIs as well as repairs and arrears. Number of staff on Twitter, No of tweets, RT's, followers etc.

With 300 more ground troops, we can really change hearts and minds. So a question to the 50, how can you motivate and invigorate your comm's professionals? I don't mean just getting them to just sign up on Twitter either. A user signed up with a hundred or less tweets for a year, labelled as 'Housing Comms Professional' doesn't cut it for me.  These people need help, guidance to see social media as worthy an avenue as the quarterly newsletter, to shape opinions and redress the balance.

We need to work fast. A big press and political machine is trying to remove Social Housing from the UK landscape. We need a machine as big as theirs and 50 trusted ambassadors, is a good way to start. Discuss.  

Read on to : Love and improve your repairs customer journey 

You can link with me on LinkedIn here - It would be great to connect !

Althia & Donna - Uptown Top Ranking.

(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting 07854-655009

PS As usual, if there are subjects you might like me to tackle on this blog, please get in touch and let me know!

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  1. Thanks for this, Tony. Really useful. One way we can impact on housing comms colleagues is to get as many as possible to come to a Comms Hero event. I promise you it will invigorate them, and change their world view. The next one is in Wrexham on June 17th Sorry if this sounds like a sales pitch, but I know that the first event did have this transformational impact on a lot of the people who came.

    1. Good point John, everyone in housing would benefit, not just the comms team!