In March 2016 PBNI launched a 4 week social media campaign called ‘#ProbationWorks‘.
The concept behind the campaign was to showcase in visual and creative ways how and why probation in Northern Ireland works that can be easily understood by a wide audience.
Probation tends to be less well known and less understood than other parts of the criminal justice system. Therefore this campaign was an opportunity to show probation makes a difference in reducing crime and preventing re-offending. The campaign used infographics, case studies, pictures and videos to tell the story of probation.
Using the twitter account (@PBNINews) for the campaign plus LinkedIn, and Youtube in conjunction with the website (www.pbni.org.uk) PBNI has showcased to the public our work through ‘day in the life’ accounts from the frontline staff, videos of service users, PBNI staff and stakeholders on the importance of Probation, and infographics to show visually the work that probation does. These included case studies and videos from people under PBNI supervision to communicate how they had been able to turn their lives around as a result of probation’s supervision and interventions.
The Twitter #ProbationWorks campaign was well received, with 110,000 impressions, 5339 profile visits, 76 new followers, 72 mentions, 260 retweets, and over 350 extra hits to the PBNI website as well as direct contact from local media, politicians and academics. One of the most viewed tweets was of Nicola Carr from Queens University Belfast who explained on Youtube why social work was an essential part of a probation officer’s training in Northern Ireland with almost 10,000 impressions.
This campaign showed that Probation can widen the awareness and heighten the understanding of what it does by using social media sites through the use of stories, video and infographics to make it connect more with the public. In this way the campaign has facilitated the Probation Board for Northern Ireland’s objectives of reducing offending and encouraging rehabilitation through openness and engagement. The Probation Board will continue using the positive message hashtag #ProbationWorks.