‘Social Media: Finding Your Voice’ – Conference Update

26 November saw us hold our annual winter conference at the Royal College of Nursing in London. We had a great turnout for the event, which saw several social media professionals from top professional bodies speaking on key issues in their field. All delegates attending agreed that the day gave them a great insight into the subjects of policy, practice and risk (and much more!), leaving them with plenty to think about for the future!

Our conference chair was the brilliant Kevin Green, Chief Executive of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC). He did a great job of maintaining a high level of engagement throughout the day and provided some really insightful key learning points gleaned from each of the speakers.



Kicking the morning off was Georgina Goode, our keynote speaker who joined us from the Cabinet’s Government Digital Service.  Georgina spoke about the huge role social media plays in service delivery, stating that social media acts as an extension of customer service: ‘If your service doesn’t work, social media will only make it worse.’ She also highlighted the importance of maintaining consistency of messaging across your social media output, reiterating the crucial message that the user should always be at the forefront of social activity.


Charlotte Garfield used this graphic to illustrate her message about ‘slowing down the hamster wheel’



We then heard from James Murphy, Global Head of Digital Services at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), on how to utilise social media within your organisation in order to benefit your external network. James introduced the group to Yammer, a social network which RICS are piloting in their quest to break down silos and connect staff in order to ultimately become more externally focused.

Next up was Charlotte Garfield, Social Media Manager at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). Inspiring the group with her take on ‘slowing down the hamster wheel’, Charlotte delivered a talk on the significance of producing quality content that stimulates conversation and engages your audience, something which really struck a chord with our attendees.

Selman Ansari delivers his talk on policy and risk management on social media



Later on Selman Ansari of Bates Wells Braithwaite LLP provided a much-needed and surprisingly accessible legal angle on social media at professional bodies. Selman spoke about the difficulty of defining what exactly constitutes ‘inappropriate conduct’ on social media and the impossibility of maintaining a personal sense of privacy on the Internet. This definitely highlighted the crucial role risk management plays in social media policy.

Adding an interactive element to the day, our very own Rob Denny (Head of Research) and Laura Tinner (Senior Researcher) spoke about their findings from the in-depth research PARN conducted into how professional bodies interact with social media. Sending a shockwave through the audience was the statistic that organisations without a social media strategy generally have more followers across their social networks!

This was followed by a workshop which gave attendees a chance to discuss their findings from the day and share thoughts on how far organisations should exert a level of control over employees’ social media output.

PARN research shows social media strategy in a new light!



David Smith, Head of Public Affairs and Research at the British Parking Association (BPA), wrapped the day up. Equipping the group with a handy list of the ‘7Cs of social media’, David reiterated the importance of understanding your audience as well as communicating with them.


Thank you!

Thank you to our headline sponsor BWB, as well as our sponsors Sterling, ASI, Core, Silverbear, Research Media and
Unicorn for their support of this event! Thanks also to all our delegates for making the day such a success. We particularly appreciated your contributions to our TweetWall using the hashtag #SectorVoices.

Didn’t make it to the conference? Our follow-up webinar containing key snippets from PARN’s in-depth research into social media use at professional bodies will soon be published on our blog. The presentations from our speakers are also now up in our Members Area!

Under Control: Social Media at Professional Bodies is the accompanying book to our conference. Highlighting interesting practice and exploring the insecurities around social media, the publication is a must-read if you want to learn more about the continuing and growing presence of social in the sector. Buy it here.


A snippet of PARN research


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