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How to use digital platforms to make your organisation more efficient

Interview with Ross McCulloch, founder of Third Sector Lab and Be Good Be Social, and speaker at this year’s Scottish Factoring Network Conference.

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Ross McCulloch, founder of Third Sector Lab and Be Good Be Social, will be leading a workshop ‘Communications and Social Media’ at this year’s Scottish Factoring Network Conference. The workshop will offer tips on how housing associations can communicate effectively with their customers and highlights why organisations benefit from digital change. Mollie Stephen, SFHA Business Development Intern, spoke to Ross to get an insight of his work before the conference.

How do you think social media has changed the way organisations communicate?

Ross: I would like to think it brings a closer connection between housing associations and their tenants and other users. It works as a tool to understand what their users want, as it’s a housing association’s legal obligation to listen to them. It also helps organisations keep in contact from day to day rather than, say, a survey once a year. It’s all about understanding what people want and need.

When and what made you realise there was a gap in the market for what you do?

Ross: I started organising social events for people who were interested in communications and thought about how it might work for charities. There was no grand business plan, I just started holding more events, working with more organisations and speaking at more conferences until it evolved into a business from there.

You mainly work with the third sector, is there a reason behind this?

Ross: I was working in development in the charity sector before I started my own business and came to find that people needed quicker and more efficient communications. I also find the third sector more nimble and more open to ideas. I find it exciting how innovative they can be.

What is most challenging about your work?

Ross: I would probably say getting buy ins is the most challenging thing about what I do! You get cases where frontline staff see the advantages new digital platforms can bring to their organisation yet their chief executives or managers do not and vice versa. So it’s really about communicating our usefulness to others that can sometimes be challenging. It’s all about getting people out of their comfort zone and finding those who have an appetite for it. Also, figuring out what platform would suit organisations best can be challenging.

Your work centres on digital marketing and technology. What piece of technology would you be most lost without?

Ross: My mobile phone – like everybody else! Well it’s between that and my coffee maker, as I need that to help me get up in the mornings and get some work done!

Finally, what does the future hold for your organisations?

Ross: Digital leadership and digital change! I facilitate a digital leadership programme which shows organisations what digital platforms they should use. I like to show them how they can use digital platforms to explore data, spot trends and save money. I want to show people and organisations it’s more than just about social media and that many different digital platforms offer a range of opportunities.

This year’s Scottish Factoring and Network Conference is taking place on the 6 December at the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow. Prices start at £229 for SFHA, GWSF and SHARE members and costs £319 for non-members. The day features sessions that highlight and offer solutions to relevant current issues, including the implications of the Grenfell fire on factoring, how to lone work safely, how to use communications and social media to get the most out of your organisation, sinking funds and how they could be used in Scotland and many more. To book a place or for the full programme please visit the SFHA website www.sfha.co.uk/whats-on