How Doncaster Council’s cross-channel social strategy keeps residents engaged (and laughing)

The team at Doncaster Council have been smashing their social media content out of the park since the early days of lockdown. They caught ours, and Twitter's, attention with their refreshingly humorous approach to explaining complicated lockdown restrictions through funny GIFs. Hilarity and some much-needed light relief ensued.  

Social Media is a tough gig for councils who are often tasked with delivering unpopular news, and heavy hitting topics, but six months on, Doncaster Council is still nailing it.  Here we explore the Council's cross-channel social strategy strikes the balance between essential and engaging social media content.

Know what works . . then keep doing it

Doncaster Council’s approach is very human and personal which lends itself to driving engagement in the tens of thousands. On Twitter the Council’s tone is self deprecating, playful and shows that it is unafraid to mince words.

Facebook retains realness in the language. The Council creates less social media content there. But updates tend to be longer and more detailed. The content is still direct, and while not as playful as the approach on Twitter, the tone steers clear of anything that smacks of stuffy, no matter what the topic.

How to replicate this technique

Tracking your engagement shows you what content is working for your audience and inspiring them to communicate with you.

Landing tone is crucial,  especially with tough subjects, but you still must be human and demonstrate an understanding for the impact of your content.

What is your audience saying?

The conversation about Doncaster Council is dominated by its Twitter handle ‘My Doncaster’. This demonstrates how much of the conversation about it, takes place on this channel.

Phrases about local MPs and other place terms such as 'Doncaster is great' also appear.

How to replicate this technique

Being aware of how you are talked about on social media can help you understand what hashtags you should use on your own content. If you are a Council and a popular tag about your place already exists, use it rather than trying (and likely failing) to reinvent the wheel.

How does your audience feel?

Tracking the sentiment of the social media conversation about you shows how positively you are seen. You can engage with both positive and negative feedback, and learn from it.

Doncaster Council sees a fair amount of negativity. It's no great surprise that litter, bins, and parking really do annoy people, and that they're prepared to voiced their frustrations on social channels. But the majority of the conversation about the council is positive.

On September 9 the council saw several retweets of its own content driving both positive and negative sentiment up with pne good news story, and one that landed slightly harder. Either way this shows just how good a job Doncaster Council do at creating content that is relevant and engaging. They are unafraid to lean in to the good, and bite the bullet with the bad.

How to replicate this technique

Be ready to respond to comments and feedback. If you are a Council, use the sentiment report to understand what you are doing well for residents and locals, and what messages are likely to be unpopular.

Key takeaway

Whatever social media content you’re creating, ensure that it's engaging, shareable and relevant - this will drive engagement across your channels and make your content work harder for you and in turn drive improved results. When it’s appropriate to be humorous do so, but ensure essential information leaves no room for misinterpretation and is crystal clear. In short, when you can,  be more Doncaster! 

We're making the Doncaster Council conversation free for everyone.


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Maybe* is a social media engagement platform that provides easy to use tools for you to engage with customers, and insights so that you can make social media work for your business.