Thousands spent on promoted Facebook, Instagram posts and YouTubers to promote Doncaster Council's 'key messages'

Doncaster Council spent over £20,000 on social media posts to try and help promote the borough, figures show.

By George Torr, Local Democracy Reporter
Tuesday, 5th November 2019, 1:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th November 2019, 11:54 am
Social media spend has topped £20,000 over the last five years
Social media spend has topped £20,000 over the last five years

A Freedom of Information request found Doncaster Council officers had paid £19,383 to Facebook and Instagram in the last five years.

During 2015/2016, DMBC spent only £92 on promoted posts through social media companies – but this rose to over £6,000 by the end of the 2018/2019 financial year.

From April 2019 to September 2019, the council is nearing £3,500 worth of payments to Facebook and Instagram.

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A separate FOI has found Doncaster Council also commissioned seven videos at a cost of £200 each for two YouTubers to promote certain events like the re-opening of Doncaster Wool Market.

The seven videos pulled in just over 2,100 views between them.

One councillor said the local authority was ‘moving with the times’ but added officers should ‘think wisely’ before any spending decision.

The council defended the spend on promoted social media posts and said it ‘cost effective’.

Bessacarr Coun Nick Allen said: “I use Twitter a lot as a councillor and actually it costs me nothing.

“I use it to report back what I’m doing in my ward and things I’ve raised with the council. Local people also use it to contact me.

“Social media is a good thing but I’m not sure council officials think wisely before they spend our money.”

Coun Jane Nightingale, cabinet member for customer and corporate services, said: “Using social media advertising on specific council campaigns helps us reach hundreds and thousands of people in a more cost effective way than traditional channels such as newspapers.

“We reached more than half a million people during this time period costing a fraction of a penny each time the information was seen.

“This helped us share key messages, advice or support the council wants to share or is able to offer to specific sections of our community or in a geographical area.

“We do need to communicate using modern technology to help us help our communities and social media is just one way we do that.”