Barnard Castle town councillors urged to embrace Facebook and Twitter as part of new communications plan (From The Advertiser Series)
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Barnard Castle town councillors urged to embrace Facebook and Twitter as part of new communications plan
TOWN councillors are being urged to embrace social media as part of efforts to keep their constituents up-to-date with local issues.
Earlier this year, members of Barnard Castle Town Council scrapped publication of their quarterley magazine, The Barney Crier, to save about £3,000 a year.
They also agreed to discontinue a Christmas events leaflet, saving another £1,000.
In their place, councillors will be asked to agree a new communications plan, which places greater importance on use of the internet and social media.
Town clerk Michael King said Facebook and Twitter accounts had been set up for the council, but would not be activated until members had made a decision on the communications plan at their meeting on Monday, March 4.
“The way in which these would be used would be to publish short, regular snippets advertising forthcoming meetings and deadlines, announcing the outcome of decisions and generating publicity,” he said.
“Where more information is required, it will be the norm to link from Facebook and Twitter to the council's own website or those of trusted sites.”
While The Barney Crier will no longer be printed, Mr King said it was proposed to publish an e-newsletter available for download from the town council's website.
For those residents without internet access, a small number of plain paper copies would be printed and available from various places around the town.
Mr King said it was also important the council continues to embrace local media.
“The town council is fortunate in having access to lively local media outlets, including the Teesdale Mercury, Radio Teesdale, the Northern Echo and the Darlington and Stockton Times.
“All are a vital and important source of information for local people and visitors and with whom the town council should continue to work to publicise important local issues and the work the town council is able to do in response to these.”
Councillors are also being urged to adopt a new corporate identity to develop a distinctive town council brand.
Mr King explained: “The town crest is used as a linking theme for information coming from the town council.
“It is also used by others in the town, for instance the golf club and the cricket club.”
He added: “It is proposed to adopt a new and more graphically distinct identity for routine operational use that will work well online as well as on paper and is instantly recognisable.”