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How important is Redbridge Council’s Twitter feed?

How important is Twitter for councils? How important is Twitter for councils?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014
10:46 AM

Redbridge Council has published a detailed and defensive response after it was placed 235th in a list of the best council Twitter feeds – with statistics claiming just one in 44 residents follow @RedbridgeLive.

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Yesterday, Redbridge Council posted this detailed response to an article in Monday’s Daily Mirror listing it as just 235th in a list of the best council Twitter feeds.

The Trinity Mirror table was based on the number of followers compared to the borough population, with statistics showing just one in every 44 Redbridge residents follows the council’s account @RedbridgeLive.

But taking the comparison to heart, the council issued a lengthy response to its bottom-half placement yesterday – citing children, people without internet access or those who “simply aren’t interested in using social media” as reasons.

What do you think of the issue? Is it important for councils and politicians to be “good” at social media?

Here’s what Redbridge Council had to say on the matter:

“We’ve been asked questions about the number of Twitter followers we have compared to Redbridge’s population, following a recent article in the Daily Mirror.

It lists the Council as being followed by one in 44 residents.

It’s really difficult to get accurate figures about how many residents follow us on Twitter as the account has more than 6,500 followers which include organisations, businesses and even idle accounts.

Also, like any area, not all of our residents are on Twitter, maybe they’re children, people without access to the internet, or simply aren’t interested in using social media.

There are also other factors to consider, for instance areas with a high population of older residents or under 10s are likely to have fewer followers.

Similarly places like tourist destinations will have more followers but they won’t necessarily be local.

We know it’s important to be on twitter and try to make our feed as interesting and useful as possible.

We’re seeing a steady increase in the number of residents that contact us through Twitter, talk about us on there and visit our website for more information as a result of something we’ve posted.

For us, these numbers are really important as they tell us that residents are reading what we’re saying and responding to it.

We believe it’s about communicating and talking to residents through a range of channels.

Not everyone will choose Twitter, but they may choose to engage with us through one of our enewsletters or perhaps Facebook.

We try to balance that carefully by putting out information in a number of different ways to reach as many residents as possible.

We have a number of enewsletters tailored to areas of interest for residents such as things to do, jobs and training, and community safety.

We also have almost 28,000 subscribers for our monthly enewsletter Redbridge Live. This is in addition to more traditional channels for residents who are less likely to be online.

We’re always looking at examples of good practices on all the channels we use, and we’re constantly looking at adapting the way we use twitter to keep it interesting and informative.

This includes exploring using Twitter for residents that are interested in particular subjects, such as our @WorkRedbridge and @LBRRecycling accounts.

We promote the feed on all printed materials, on the pages of Redbridge i and in all of our online communications. We’re always keen to encourage more residents to follows us and we’re keen to hear feedback from residents on what they’d like to see on twitter. We’ll keep looking at ways to make sure all of the channels we use are useful to residents.”

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