A skills training programme aimed at exposing and up-skilling eThekwini Municipality employees on the use and management of social media platforms for effective communication, took place this month at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
eThekwini Municipality employees, based at various service delivery departments benefited from the one-day “Exploring Social Media” programme which sought to inform and educate employees of key strategies to adopt when managing social media accounts at an organisational level.
Learning areas that were explored included:
- The link between social media and traditional media;
- Quality and Consistent Content Management;
- Social Media Policies: who is it aimed at and what is the content of a social media policy;
- Escalation process in addressing complaints online; and
- Mobile device management.
The skills programme had been structured to provide knowledge on approaching social media with a management mindset; understanding social media for business and learning how to better leverage social channels for better communication via the Municipality.
Chief Facilitator, Mr Bilal Kathrada indicated that eThekwini Municipality employees who undertook the programme were technologically savvy and desired to learn more about social media.
“Participants were an intelligent and responsive audience who were attentive. Participants were conscious about the quality of content in social media and technology in general.”
He added that social media for workplace productivity and customer relations could make a significant difference to improving the overall impression of an organisation in the public eye.
Manager for Electronic Communication at the eThekwini Municipality, Ms Siphokazi Mxinwa, indicated that social media was a powerful communication tool for the municipality to utilise in its dialogue with eThekwini citizens.
“It is therefore essential that eThekwini staff fully understand how these tools work so they can incorporate them into their communication activities in a thoughtful and strategic manner and by applying best practices.
Officials will benefit from the training as they will get a deeper understanding of the opportunities social media has to offer whilst mindful of the inherent risks it poses,” said Ms Mxinwa.
One of the participants, Ms Zanele Hadebe a Promotions Designer in the Electricity Unit’s Marketing Division said the programme on social media had been an eye opener for her. Ms Hadebe said that managing communication and content has been her department’s biggest challenge. She believes social media is a tool that “could better our services to customers” and assist in overcoming other communication challenges.
Another participant, Mr Hoosen Moolla, a Senior Manager for the Safer Cities and I-Trump Project said the programme had been a good learning experience, especially since he has been equipping himself with social media knowledge in the past.
Mr Moolla believes the use of social media for the purposes of communication between the Municipality (service delivery departments) and the public would be a positive move. “It will put pressure on Council in terms of its response rate. I would like people to engage positively with the Council. It must not be a complaints desk only. The effective management of such a programme is important as it will encourage communication between the community and the city,” he explained.
MANCOSA’s Executive Education Manager, Mr Abdulla Sardiwalla said: “MANCOSA’s Executive Education seeks to provide skills programmes which are relevant and current which will assist delegates in their continuous professional development. To this end, we pride ourselves in considering the unique skills requirements of any organisation and to provide a customised training solution that will meet the desired and targeted outcomes.”