This year, the Community Transport Association was honoured to be supported by KPMG for our 2016 Roadshow events in England. KPMG’s offices in Newcastle, Liverpool, Birmingham, Cambridge and Southampton provided the perfect setting to gather as a sector and talk about the CTA’s vision and strategy for the future; the current policy landscape that we’re operating in; how we can improve the services that we offer; and how we can all champion the vital work that community transport does.
Each roadshow event comprised of a number of different sessions and you can find their respective recap blogs below.
For the final session of the day, Tom Jeffery, CTA’s Marketing and Business Development Executive, discussed the power of Twitter and digital media in championing the work that CTA members do. At the CTA, we’ve spent the last year putting much more of a focus on our digital communications: starting a blog and becoming more active on social media. As a result we’ve been able to raise awareness of community transport to a wider and more diverse audience than ever before.
We’ve used our blog, for example, to share member’s stories: promoting examples of the vital and indispensable work that they do in their communities. Our ‘community transport at Christmas’ series of blogs, where we received stories from our members about the work they do ensuring that those in their communities don’t spend the holidays alone, were viewed hundreds of times; they even ended up being used in a parliamentary debate on the provision of accessible and inclusive transport. Because we shared their stories on our blog, they were seen by a wide and varied range of people including Members of Parliament.
And it’s working: since it was set up in September, our blog has been viewed by 3,000 people over 10,000 times and our Tweets are seen by an average of 40,000 times a month. It has meant that the stories of our members have made their way into Parliament and it has led to a number of members receiving invitations to meet with the Prime Minister in 10 Downing Street.
This demonstrates the impact that an increased presence on social media can have, and at the Roadshows we used this to encourage members to become more active online.
For community transport operators, Twitter is a great way to spread the message of their organisation to people who otherwise may not come into frequent contact with it. At each roadshow event only a minority of members said that they used Twitter.
However, it is a tool used by many of our members. For those that do use it, they are followed by local councillors, MPs, and members of devolved legislatures. They’re followed by grant giving charities, volunteering networks and civil servants; all people to whom it is good practice to promote their organisation.
Members such as Fermanagh Community Transport in Northern Ireland, for example, use Twitter to great effect: frequently posting positive stories and images of how they’re a vital force for good in their communities.
As a result of this session, a number of members set up Twitter accounts including Cumbria Community Transport and Chelmsford Community Transport: make sure you follow them at @CumbriaCT and @Chelmsford_CT respectively to keep up to date with the work they do. In the next issue of the CTA Journal, we’ll be discussing some top tips on the best way to take advantage of social media and we’ll be putting together further resources soon.
For more on this year’s CTA Roadshow, you can find our other recap blogs at the links above, and you can take a look at #CTARoadshow on Twitter for photos and quotes from each event.