Stattos get social – one year on

Last year we published a blog about our team of tweeting statisticians. Around this time last year we had 10, now we’ve got 19 and we’ve come a long way since starting out. Let’s take a look back of some of the highlights.

The Social Media team are down to a team of two but we’ve managed to grow and nourish our network and have been there every step of the way, mentoring and supporting our statisticians to get the most out of their tweeting experience. A couple have been and gone in that time as they’ve moved roles and we’ve worked together to figure out what works well and what doesn’t.

We’ve seen a continuous increase in the amount of mentions and queries received, and with almost double the amount of tweeting statisticians and over double the amount of followers on the ONS channel, engagement overall is much higher and has helped raise awareness of us as a helpful and open network on social. Our statisticians have become more confident over time and their content become more sophisticated, really showing their personalities and building genuine relationships.

Hootsuite and the handy assignment function is our bread and butter and exceptional customer service is something we work hard to maintain despite several team changes. We continue to co-ordinate, edit and publish all content onto our corporate social channels, while monitoring and maintaining quality customer service.

As well as statisticians who head up some of our main publications we also now have our first statistician from a methodological area, our Head of Methods and Systems for National Accounts, who is able to share more of the technical details behind our releases.

Our statisticians’ active network on Twitter helps to get their names out there and strengthen their online presence, it’s resulted in their Twitter handles referenced in reports or blogs and even making it in City AM’s UK economists top 100 list which showcases the most influential financial experts on Twitter.

#FollowFriday campaigns also help raise awareness of our spokespeople when featured in online pieces and they’re often tagged in others’ tweets so reaches further than our own networks.

Our Budget tweetalong in March shone the spotlight on our statisticians as we went with a slightly different tactic as they led the messaging while the main account supported.

We work closely with the Government Statistical Service; we joined forces for a Christmas statistical quiz and we often share with our followers relevant posts we think may be of interest, as well as help to promote their social presence.

We’ve worked with our statisticians to tweet along to relevant TV programmes, there’s been follower wars, and gradually over time they’ve become known as official spokespeople and often engage in debates with key media and commentators around their releases. They’re often approached directly for quotes from journalists as they’re already trained spokespeople who are comfortable talking to journalists in their day to day work this was a natural crossover. We’ve taken this a step further to create quotes as social images that go alongside the figures to add commentary and context to our publications and they’ve worked well.

We continue to assign tweets we think they could add value to and they’re also proactively engaging in conversations themselves. It also helps when publishing the latest stats at 9.30am not to bombard the corporate account as we have so many areas we cover and we don’t want to be seen to spam anyone. It’s handy to split these up and our statisticians are able to delve deeper into their specific subjects with their already engaged followers who have chosen to follow them as they’re interested in their specific areas.

Some of our newer tweeting statisticians share their experiences on what it’s like representing ONS on Twitter and some of their favourite tweets they’ve received:

Paul Vickers, Population Statistics:

“Since using twitter we have seen our data being questioned and used in new ways by a wider range of users and we have been able to engage with more people and respond to many more queries, helping people to better understand our data. We have seen a lot of people using our content as a teaching resource and as well as the impact on policy, demonstrating how we can really add value to the work we do if we can reach the right people.”

Liz McLaren, Births, Deaths and Marriages:

“I’ve been tweeting since July and have found useful for a number of reasons:

  • Good to see misconceptions and be able to explain things to people or point them in the right direction
  • Gives you an idea of what areas of interest there are and where you could potentially be doing more of or explain better
  • Able to keep an eye on what other organisations are saying, within UK and internationally, and pick up some useful documents to use as references

One thing that has surprised me on twitter that people are more polite than I was expecting – I’ve had lots of ‘thank you’ tweets back!”

The network continues to thrive and we continue to grow. Everyone involved enjoys seeing our stats being discussed in all sorts of contexts. Whether it’s setting Manchester City FC straight, in discussions around methodology, suggestions for further analysis that have been picked up, and keeping people in the loop going back to those who have asked questions.

The @ONS account and our official spokespeople have built such a strong reputation on the channel for helpful and timely customer service, so before we take on new statisticians and promote them to our followers they need to be responsive, proactive, open and quick to answer queries. Continually pushing this message that our statisticians are helpful and on hand means many of our followers now know to go direct to them, and are even sharing this message with their own followers!

Lauren Bradford

Social Media Manager

One comment on “Stattos get social – one year on”

  1. Very interesting stats! Thank you!

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