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Cutting through the noise to engage citizens and lead through crisis

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Social media has been recognized as one of the quickest and most responsive ways for government to communicate with the public, yet its uptake along with the widespread implementation of coordinated social media strategies has been slow.

Whilst most departments have established a social media presence, few departments have leveraged the full potential of social media to raise their profile and reiterate their organizational bottom line. Some of the barriers to this include effectively engaging audience through platforms and content, efficiently managing platforms on a limited budget, building trust and credibility and communicating via social media during a crisis.

The 3rd Annual Social Media for Gov NZ will address the key challenges and trends affecting the government’s use of social media and explore how it can best utilise these platforms to engage with the public. Delegates will also be provided with tools, practical strategies and best practice case studies from within New Zealand government to develop their social media strategy, cut through an oversaturated market and utilise data analytics to maximise the impact of their communications.


Why attend this forum

Increasing your social media engagement and cut through the noise

Develop cost effective social media strategies to achieve goals and return on investment

Utilise data analytics to target and reach audiences effectively

Embrace new technologies and advance your utilisation of social media platforms

Increase citizens' trust and confidence in government through strong and credible social media strategies


Eileen Carter

Social Media Director

City of New Orleans 

Don Martin

Head of Communications and Content

Palmerston North Council  

Kate Whitley

Data, Insights and Channels Manager

Ministry of Health  

Ben O'Sullivan

Government, Politics and Advocacy Partner


Teresa Burnett

Group Manager Communications

Auckland Transport  

Matt Coote

Head of Agency Partnerships ANZ

Snap Inc

Nicole O’Rourke

Social Media Manager

New Zealand Post  

Hannah Henderson

Acting Manager Communications and Marketing

Porirua City Council 

Claire Roper

Principal Communications Advisor, Digital and Design

Porirua City Council

Paul Petrone

Head of Academic and Government Marketing


Naomi Fergusson

Group Manager Marketing and Communications

Hastings District Council  

Joan Zhang

Head of Social Media

Tourism New Zealand 

Suzanne Knight

Acting Director Communications and Education

Electoral Commission
Te Kaitiaki Take Kōwhiri

Christine Yuen

Social Media Manager

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise 

Bede Dwyer

Communications Manager

Te Ohu Kaimoana

Liz Grey

Social Media Manager

University of Sydney 

Melissa De Coster

Head of Content


This conference was excellent. I am hugely inspired by the speakers and their presentations, and I have returned to work with the motivation and enthusiasm to apply many of the things I learned.

University of Auckland

The content and speakers were fantastic. I have so much to take away from the event and will be applying it to my job immediately.

Ministry of Social Development

It was a great chance to hear from others in this niche industry and discuss the challenges we are all facing. I really enjoyed hearing case studies, stories and tips from the speakers.

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

I found Social Media for Govt NZ valuable as not only did it give a lot of practical advice, but gave me the feeling of being part of a social media in Govt community for the first time

Creative New Zealand


08:00 AM | Registration Opens 

09:00 AM | Opening remarks from the Chair  

Naomi Fergusson, Group Manager Communications, Hastings District Council  

Develop strategies to increase trust and confidence in your organisation during times of crisis 

09:10 AM  | Case Study
 The role of transparency and authenticity in credible communications 

  • Humanising your brand to build trust with your online audience
  • Communicating openly and transparently with citizens to enhance their perception of your department 
  • Clear communications: Acknowledging the good and the bad 

Don Martin, Head of Communications and Content, Palmerston North Council  

09:40 AM  | International Keynote 
Developing trust and confidence in your department through effective communications 

  • Pre-empting potential misunderstandings to your social media strategy and adjusting accordingly 
  • Making your organisation’s social media channel the first point of trusted information 
  • Presenting information in easily accessible and preferred formats 
  • Collaborating with social media influencers to advance your reach, cut through noise and create relatable messages 

Eileen Carter, Social Media Director, City of New Orleans
*Virtual presentation

10:10 AM |  Scaling your capacity and capabilities to become video fit and video first

  • Capitalising on the boom in preference for video content on social media  
  • Scaling you capacity and capabilities to become video fit and video first   
  • Leveraging video and analytics to measure the performance of your video content 
  • Impactful PSA videos: some case studies

Melissa De Coster, Head of Content, Shootsta

10:40 AM |  Morning Tea  

11:10 AM |  Developing credible communications during times of crisis 

  • Breaking down the essentials of communicating during a crisis  
  • Exploring the use of influencers to increase credibility   
  • Mitigating the risks associated with mistrust on the long-term future of social media  

Teresa Burnett, Group Manager Communications, Auckland Transport  

11:40 AM | Case Study 
Adjusting your communications in real time to deliver timely and relevant content 

  • Utilising social media as a means to measure concerns, issues and general sentiment  
  • Responding to crisis with agility, adaptability and with a small team  
  • Prioritising content and the allocation of limited human and financial resources  
  • Navigating the need for clear and empathetic messaging for sensitive communications  

Hannah Henderson, Acting Manager Communications and Marketing, Porirua City Council  

Claire Roper, Principal Communications Advisor, Digital and Design, Porirua City Council  

12:10 AM  | Case Study 
Leveraging social media as a response tool during times of crisis 

  • Outlining the role of social media in crisis management and its role in communicating a message of hope 
  • Staying agile and responsive with your communications in an environment of rapid change and disruption 
  • Creatively using strategies to advance and protect the long-term interests of your organisation going beyond a pandemic 


12:40 PM | Networking Lunch

1:40 PM | Navigating the intricacies of communicating with the Māori community 

  • Developing a social media campaign for the Maori community 
  • Supporting engagement and building trust with your audience 
  • Identifying some common mistakes and where social media managers go wrong 

Bede Dwyer, Communications Manager, Te Ohu Kaimoana 

2:10 PM | Measuring the impact of your communications on your ROI to achieve tangible, practical goals 

  • Delivering ROI with minimal or no budget  
  • How to demonstrate ROI on social media campaigns  
  • Answering the question of what works and what doesn’t – the role of analytics in determining what hits the mark  
  • Identifying strategies that generate concrete and demonstrable communications outcomes   

Kate Whitley, Manager Communications, Channels and Insight, Ministry of Health  

2:40 PM | Panel discussion  
 The case for organic vs paid content strategies to reach and engage your audience 

  • Is engagement through organic posts a realistic and achievable goal in the new age of online saturation?  
  • Navigating the challenges of engaging your audience through organic and paid posts  
  • Allocating your budget effectively by ensuring you put your money behind the right content   

Nicole O’Rourke, Digital Media Specialist, New Zealand Post 

Claire Roper, Principal Communications Advisor, Digital and Design, Porirua City Council  

Joan Zhang, Social Media Manager, Tourism New Zealand   

3:30 PM | Afternoon Tea 

Measuring ROI and achieving targets with limited budgets

4:00 PM | Building your in-house capacity to develop quality content 

  • Outlining the skills required to succeed in a social media role and upskilling your department  
  • Obtaining management buy-in for the ongoing allocation of resources  
  • Exploring strategies to effectively produce cost effective and interesting content  

Nicole O’Rourke, Digital Media Specialist, New Zealand Post 

4:30 PM | Developing concrete and practical goals for your social media strategy  

  • Creating a social media strategy that is guided by your communications strategy and organisational bottom line 
  • Reinforcing information about services and content to boost recognition  
  • Ensuring that your social media messaging is linked to the achievement of broader organisational goals and purposes

Liz Grey, Social Media Manager, University of Sydney
*Virtual presentation

5:00 PM | End of day one and closing remarks from the Chair

08:00 AM | Registration opens 

09:00 AM | Opening remarks from the Chair

Teresa Burnett, Group Manager Communications, Auckland Transport 

Embrace new technologies and advance your utilisation of social media platforms 

09:10 AM | Aligning your use of social media platforms with your target audience

  • Identifying social media trends and characteristics of your target audience 
  • Balancing the need to utilise new and upcoming platforms with their effectiveness and potential risks
  • Addressing the challenge of reaching digitally excluded audiences
  • Engaging the public with voting during elections  

Suzanne Knight, Manager Communications and Education, Electoral Commission

09:40 AM |  Utilising LinkedIn as a platform to reach your target audience 

  • Optimising your use of LinkedIn as a part of your social media strategy 
  • Driving website traffic and brand awareness about your department 
  • Defining and achieving your goals through LinkedIn Analytics 

Paul Petrone, Head of Academic and Government Marketing, LinkedIn
*Virtual presentation

10:10 AM | Panel discussion 
Balancing the opportunity and risk associated with upcoming social media platforms 

  • Keeping abreast with the constantly changing social media landscape 
  • Navigating the use of new and upcoming challenges and weighing the value in being a first mover with the risk associated 
  • Weighing in on the need to broaden the use of social media channels to maximise your reach 

Naomi Fergusson, Group Manager Communications, Hastings District Council 

Suzanne Knight, Manager Communications and Education, Electoral Commission

Nicole O’Rourke, Digital Media Specialist, New Zealand Post 

11:00 AM | Morning Tea 

11:30 AM | Understanding how to leverage Facebook as a part of your social media strategy 

  • Tackling the challenges of staying updated with the constantly changing social media landscape 
  • Keeping abreast with changes in algorithms, objectives and features in platforms  
  • Evaluating and re-evaluating the metrics by which you assess the performance of your posts  

Ben O’Sullivan, Government, Politics and Advocacy Partner Manager, Facebook 

12:00 PM | Broadening your social media reach through Snapchat 

  • Breaking down the essentials of reaching your audience via Snapchat 
  • Effectively using this platform to capitalise on the preference for video content 
  • Building the business case for the use of new and innovative platforms 

Matt Coote, Head of Agency Partnerships ANZ, Snap Inc
*Virtual Presentation

Increasing citizen engagement and cutting through the noise

12:30  PM | Case Study
Understanding your social media purpose to help engage your audience 

  • The importance of a robust social media policy 
  • Clarity of purpose from a clear social media strategy 
  • Getting staff and internal stakeholders onboard 
  • Driving engagement through authentic and relatable content.  

1:00 PM |  Networking Lunch 

2:00 PM | Panel Discussion  
Managing and maintaining social media channels 

  • Improving your ability to deliver exceptional customer service through improved response times 
  • Reducing burnout and social media fatigue by effectively allocating workloads and limited resources 
  • Creating clear and transparent expectations with your audience regarding response time and account monitoring 

Don Martin, Head of Communications and Content, Palmerston North Council 

Christine Yuen, Social Media Manager, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise  

2:50  PM | Effectively increasing your social media engagement 

  • Breaking down engagement – what are the critical factors to success?  
  • Identifying how to generate engagement during low activity periods thorugh content and platform features 
  • Understanding how to drive engagement through your content 
  • Accurately identifying your target audience and strategising to maximise your reach 

 Christine Yuen, Social Media Manager, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise  

3:20 PM | Afternoon Tea 

3:50  PM | Cutting through the noise in an oversaturated market 

  • Tackling the oversaturated digital space caused by COVID-19 and resulting lockdowns  
  • Cutting through the noise through well targeted and differentiated content  
  • Adjusting the frequency, tone and type of messaging you use to maximise engagement 

Naomi Fergusson, Group Manager Communications, Hastings District Council  

4:20 PM |  Integrating insights from target audience research into your social media strategy 

  • Benchmarking your achievements via social media with comparable industry peers  
  • Implementing actionable insights gleaned from your data analytics  
  • Tracking your growth patterns to increase your social media presence and reach  
  • Utilising A/B testing, insights into content preferences and how people absorb information  

Joan Zhang, Social Media Manager, Tourism New Zealand 

4:50 PM | End of day two and closing remarks from the Chair 

9:00 AM – 12:00 PM | Workshop A 
Driving engagement through video content 

With the rapidly increasing preference for video content, social media managers now have more creative content options available to them than ever before, however, effectively utilising this format in an engaging, cost effective manner that will drive tangible outcomes is a delicate balance that must be constantly prioritised.  

With the increasing noise on social media and the need to engage the right people at the right time, it’s never been more critical for departments to ensure that they are using video content in the most engaging ways.  

Attend this practical workshop to learn how to: 

  • Develop an effective strategy to generate engagement through video 
  • Align your choice of video content through platform use 
  • Create strategies to tailor video length, content and timing to maximise reach 
  • Use tools to monitor and track social media performance

Nicole O’Rourke, Digital Media Specialist, New Zealand Post  

1:00 PM – 4:00 PM | Workshop B  
Utilising  social media during times of crisis 

Responding quickly and presenting relevant information when it’s most needed to your audience has never been more important than whilst managing social media communications during a crisis.

With the vast amounts of misinformation and a noisy and overcrowded online space, gaining citizens’ trust, establishing your social media channels as a voice of truth and understanding the impact of your social media posts in citizen perceptions of your department is critical. 

Don’t miss the chance to learn how to: 

  • Balance the need to respond quickly with the need for quality, credible communications 
  • Respond to crisis with a small team and prioritise the use of limited resources 
  • Strategise with industry peers to learn from some of the best responses to crises 
  • Learn from practical, hands on case studies on social media use 

Teresa Burnett, Group Manager Communications, Auckland Transport 


Venue details:
James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor
147 The Terrace, Wellington Central, Wellington 6011, New Zealand

The event will be conducted following a COVID-Safe plan to safeguard the health and safety of all attendees. 




Government Rate
  • 2-Day Conference Only
Save $300
Government Rate
  • 2-Day Conference + 1 Workshop
Save $300


Government Rate
  • 2-Day Conference + 2 Workshops
Save $300


Early bird discount

Book now and save $400

Team discount 

Register 3-4 delegates and receive an additional 15% DISCOUNT off the standard price
Register 5-7 delegates and receive an additional 20% DISCOUNT off the standard price

To The Event


Become a sponsor

Bring your brand, product or solution to the forefront of social media professionals as part of the New Zealand’s premier conference of the year.

Gold Sponsor

Calling out a professional crew can cost between $5-$7k. This is a budget many businesses can’t afford. Because of this, video output is irregular, the messages are mixed and there’s no consistency for viewers.

We came from the corporate video production world and constantly had clients tell us they wanted to produce internal, marketing, or promotional videos every week but it was just too hard and too expensive. We realised if we could equip companies with the right gear and training they could film their own content and we could do all the heavy lifting with the post-production. And that’s when Shootsta was born.

Contact Us

  • +61 02 9247 6000


  • James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor 147 The Terrace, Wellington Central, Wellington 6011, New Zealand

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  • #SocialMediaforGOVNZ