Town and city councils often need to land dry, sometimes unpopular and (particularly throughout 2020 and 2021), hard-hitting public safety messages at scale. It can be challenging to earn shares and engagements on content like this and generate the reach needed.
The team at Doncaster Council have had us chuckling at their social media since the early days of Lockdown #1. They excel at taking dry topics and adding humour and humanity, an approach which has grown their social media audience to 82,000 followers and has seen their X (formerly Twitter) engagement more than double that of many similarly-sized councils.
How do they do it
The council uses social media to deliver the usual messages you would expect from a local authority or council but the story is often told with a typically 'Donny' tone of voice. Northern humour, dry wit, and straight talking are what really separates Doncaster Council from many others.
Unlike Facebook and Instagram, every piece of content you create is shown in the feeds of whoever is following you on X. X presents a real opportunity for the council to get as many eyes as possible on its content. On X, the Council likes to have a laugh and engage residents with a bit of topical wit and banter. This tactic helps them amass reach and following size, meaning more people will see the heavier and more important stuff that they want sharing as widely as possible.
Landing the right tone for your social media posts is crucial. Even with tough subjects, humanity and friendliness is always present where it's not appropriate to use humour, and Doncaster Council ensures that essential information leaves no room for misinterpretation.
“Doncaster Council is a great example of a council getting things right on social media. They see enviable levels of engagement because they are unafraid to be human and inherently local. Their approach ensures they get eyes on the vital messages and they land them in a way that is personable and engaging without coming across as flippant”, says Polly Barnfield OBE, Maybe* CEO
How you can succeed with social like Doncaster Council
Be human. Residents will more likely engage with you if you appear to be less formal
Ensure your use of humour is appropriate.
Make sure hard-hitting and critical communications are delivered with clarity.
Review the tone of your post before you press ‘post’.
Show you are proud to be part of your town or city and don’t be afraid to use local colloquialisms.
Tag in local businesses or other local stakeholders to your content to help spread the word and use place hashtags eg #doncaster or #loveMCR
Find out how you can engage with your audience on your social channels.