Top of the Month: Doncaster Council’s social media team

What do a vicar, a tapas bar in Swindon and fearsome political journalist Andrew Neil have in common?

Posts by Doncaster Council's social media team have won the local authority new fans and high engagement
Posts by Doncaster Council's social media team have won the local authority new fans and high engagement

Don’t worry, it’s not an off-colour joke; they are all new fans of Doncaster Council’s Twitter feed – and the tapas bar wants to move there after the pandemic has abated.

Along with all the usual information you would expect from a local authority, Doncaster Council’s outstanding social media team has delved into the realms of history, comedy and popular culture – often to discuss the current crisis and its myriad effects, but with a deft touch.

Among its history lessons, Doncaster has focused on a war between the Ottoman and Hapsburg empires in 1788; the (bad) decision by officials in Oregon USA to blow up a rotting whale carcass with dynamite in 1970; and the life of Qin Shi Huang, emperor of China 2000 years ago and builder of the famous Terracotta Army, as well as the first Great Wall.

This tweet alone attracted approximately 130,000 likes, retweets and comments from Twitter users, while total engagement over the course of April with the Twitter account was well above 4m. The account gained more than 13,000 new followers in the same period, an increase of 56 per cent.

During these Twitter flights of fancy, the social team has never lost sight of its mission: to inform, educate and amuse the residents of Doncaster – all while conveying serious messages about coronavirus and the need to stay at home.

When was the last time you paid avid attention to a local authority’s social media feed – even your own, let alone anyone else’s? Never is the likely answer.

But Doncaster Council’s has reached the status of required reading – wherever you live – with its deft blend of wit and wisdom.

If the main purpose of social media in a public-sector comms team is to engage people with content and give that organisation a human face, Doncaster Council is winning on every front. If only every local authority was this good at it – they would have residents eating out of their hands.

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