Janine Marin - communications expert
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How to manage negative comments on your social media page with less risk and less stress

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There’s a lot of contention surrounding councils after it was announced 19 councils across Sydney and NSW are merging. Is this a good idea? Who knows, but what I do know is that rebranding one brand is a delicate operation, let alone merging two or more distinct brands into one.

So, how do merging councils survive this ultra delicate operation without causing a significant scar?

First, you have to decide if you’re going to combine your brands or work your brands in tandem with each other. The way to assess the best option for you is to audit your existing brand by looking at:

How big your community following is across all digital channels (social media followers, website traffic and app downloads/usage). Look at the numbers over the past three years and see if your online community has grown or gradually declined.

If you find your website traffic and social following has increased significantly and has remained steady or continues to increase, then you have a strong brand presence that should be maintained.

Do you have brand advocates? These are supporters of your council and you can tell them apart because they sing your praises on social media and post positive comments in retaliation to negative comments and engage with you constantly. Brand advocates exist because of a strong brand and they are major assets for you during this transition.

Have you got a distinct brand voice? Can someone tell your council apart from another purely based on the tone and type of content you promote? A brand voice is what differentiates you from everyone else.“Brands that communicate successfully are successful brands. And in order to communicate successfully, you have to distinguish and define your voice” (Contently). Developing a definitive brand voice isn’t easy, though if you have achieved this over the years it is worth maintaining your brand and keeping your voice heard.

If there are two or more strong brands at play, a strategy is to combine them all into one ‘main’ brand and create sub-brands of each council before dropping the weakest-performing brand over time.

Whether you opt for sub-brands or not, merging your brand and adopting a new identity provides a clean slate to engage your existing community and create new audiences. “By adopting a completely new identity, these companies can signal to customers that they have acquired fresh capabilities because of their merger. ” (HBR)

If you are merging brands, here are some questions to consider:

  1. Do you share the same goal?
  2. What are your strengths and what your weaknesses?
  3. Is your audience online similar or vastly different?
  4. What value does brand each provide?
  5. How will your new brand be promoted?
  6. How will you measure the success of your rebrand?

I know it’s not going to be easy during this transition but I hope this helps you decide the next steps for your council’s brand.

For merging councils only, we are offering special consulting packages for marketing, communications and social media to help you get a get head start and avoid losing community engagement.


Before I start, I need you to do me a favour and say this out loud: “I’m more than my job”.

It’s a blistering shock when you find out you’re in the firing line for redundancy you don’t want or expect. It stings for a long time. And when you’re a career woman, this sting can end up a throbbing wound that scars you and the success of your future career. However, it doesn’t have to be that way.

“Redundancy occurs when an employer decides they no longer want a job an employee has been doing to be done by anyone, and terminates their employment. The job itself, not the employee, becomes redundant” (from Fair Work website).

I’ve read somewhere that when you’ve been made redundant you shouldn’t take it personally. Whoever wrote that has never been made redundant.

I know this because I’ve experienced five restructures and one redundancy in my corporate career. Yep, I’ve applied for my own job more times than applying for a new one in another company.

I’m not going to lie – during that time I was stressed, emotional and angry, experiencing all the emotions of someone who has felt as if they’ve been attacked personally. But there are positives. And for those of you who have been or will be in a situation like the one I’ve found myself in, here are some tips to transform your redundancy into a career renewal.

  1. I remind my clients that redundancy doesn’t mean your skills are obsolete. Sure, the workload is given to someone else but they won’t work exactly in the same manner that you do; they will work differently and if that’s to the company’s benefit or not, is ultimately not your problem.

    No matter how much you train your replacement or the copious amounts of handover notes you have to create, what you’ve learned and your experiences gained can never be transferred. You are one-of-a-kind and being made redundant doesn’t change this.

  2.  Take this time to figure out if your career makes you happy. After the redundancy shock think about YOU – not the money, not how you will pay bills, not how to screw over the company (…although the last one was a recurring thought of mine…).

    Seriously take this time to consider YOUR happiness in your career and what that looks like. Write a list of your dream job(s) – what it entails and how it makes you feel. Then write a list of your ex-job (the one that you were made redundant from) thinking about what you liked about it and what you didn’t.
    Firstly, are there more likes than dislikes? If not, then hooray for redundancy! Clearly you weren’t happy there and they PAID you to realise that. Kinda cool, huh? If there are more likes than dislikes then marry that list to your dream job list and see if there are similar points on each because if there are that means you’re on the right career path and that helps you narrow down your job search.

  3.  Dream. BIG.

    When I was made redundant I cried when I received my last paycheque but then I smiled at the realisation that now I have an opportunity to focus on my dreams. I’m sure you have many and now that your career is shedding a new skin (so to speak) you owe it to yourself to give more attention to those fleeting thoughts about running your own business, taking up that tech class or travelling.

    If you have a family to support or mounting bills to pay then grab whatever job you can but I urge you to remember your dreams or create new ones. Who knows when you’ll have this opportunity again and what’s stopping you from working on your dreams? Absolutely nothing.

If you’ve been made redundant or could soon be then remind yourself daily that you’re more than your job. Redundancy doesn’t mean you’re not good enough. Redundancy is an opportunity for personal renewal, to create fulfilment and joy in your life that was lacking in your previous (or current) job. And in the wise words of Sheryl Sandberg “do all you can to kick the shit out of option B”.