An increasing number of local authorities across the UK are using social media to deal with customers, with Facebook and Twitter being the primary networks used.

In the recent survey, which was conducted by BDO, it was found that 98 per cent of UK councils are using at least one social media channel. This reflects the country’s figures for social network usage, which show that 75 per cent of consumers have a Facebook account.

Around 66 per cent of councils are also using Twitter or Facebook as a substitute for traditional press releases.

BDO is a professional services and accountancy company which works closely with local councils. The firm claims that there is a governmental drive, facilitated by the Cabinet Office, for digital consumer services within local authorities. It has been estimated by the Cabinet Office that the roll out of digital services can cut costs to the tax-payer by approximately £1.2 billion over the next two years.

Consumers are increasingly seeking access to governmental digital services via their mobile devices. In London, one council revealed that over 70 per cent of visitors to their website were using mobile devices.

Like their counterparts in the private sector, local authorities are realising the advantages to using social media for customer services activity; 66 per cent of local councils use social media to handle customer enquiries.

Social media networks are an integral part of life in the UK. With local authorities reflecting the practises of private sector companies, social media is being seen more and more as the best way to disseminate information and deal with customer service issues.