Nextdoor has been quietly making a mark in communities across the UK. Communicators now need to take a long look at this platform. Lucy Salvage has been comparing the Nextdoor v Twitter data.
Forget Twitter. Nextdoor is the social media platform you didn’t know you needed.
Following on from my previous guest blog post on Nextdoor vs Facebook (April 2021) I’ve been doing some further research into how the newer social plaform compares to our old faithfuls.
We’ve known for a while now that the Twittersphere isn’t once what it was and the OfCom stats prove it. Twitter is the main social media account for only 5% of 16-24 year olds, and the older folks don’t rate it much either, with only 4% of 65+ year olds tweeting on the regs.
Ofcom Adults’ Media Use and Attitudes report 2020/21
But it’s not just about the newest Salt Bae memes and trending famouses for getting ‘cancelled’. I was surprised when the majority of our council audience told us that they mostly used Twitter for keeping up to date with news. Not that surprising I guess, coming from people who choose to follow their local council on social media (we can’t all be as good as @MyDoncaster, we can only dream).
More interesting than that I discovered, was the engagement and reach the poll received compared to similar polls on Facebook and Nextdoor. A not too shabby 8,154 people made up of residents and businesses follow Wealden District Council on Twitter – yet only a measly 19 of them responded to our poll, with 47.4% of them saying that news was the main reason they used Twitter. The post itself received 428 impressions – slightly above average for one of our Twitter posts.
@wealdendistrict on Twitter
I put the same question to our 6,029 Facebook followers. The post reached a pitiful 398 people, and only TWO people responded (and one of those was a member of staff!). Not even Destiny’s Child era Beyonce could entice them to take part – her penance was to be permately deleted from the GIF library.
@wealden on Facebook
But this is more interesting still…
A similar poll put to our Nextdoor audience attracted the attention of 2,392 residents. Even more surprisingly 127 of them took part in the poll and confirmed what Twitter had already alluded to – that our audience loves themselves a bit of news. I was very pleased to see that 48% used Nextdoor predominately for news and alerts, especially seeing as this has been the focus of our strategy for posts to this platform.
Wealden District Council on Nextdoor
What the data says
I’m not sure why I was so surprised at the power of polling on Nextdoor compared to that of Facebook and Twitter, as I have seen many times before on organic posts how it knocks the socks off of both for achieving higher rates of impressions and engagement – certainly for Wealden anyway.
This could be for a lot of reasons, but scoring highly is the fact that Nextdoor want public sector authorities to use its platform, and so they want you do well and get good results. They are the only social media platform I’m aware of that offers a personal service targeted at local councils, police forces, fire services and the NHS. Their pesky algorithm isn’t trying to thwart you at every turn and bury your very important messages. It scores particularly highly with me that you can target audiences at a granular level for free at the click of a button. This is another reason I think our posts do particularly well on Nextdoor – because they arrive unfiltered and uninterrupted directly to the people who need to see them.
Here’s a comparison of some recent posts to our council Facebook, Twitter, and Nextdoor account. The messages were all identical. The only difference being with the one highlighted, that it was only sent to residents of Crowborough and its surrounding areas on Nextdoor and not our entire following. The same post was also shared with Crowborough Community Group on Facebook as well as our own Facebook page, and yet Nextdoor was still able to achieve 186 per cent more impressions than the same Facebook post.
Data: Nextdoor v Twitter v Facebook
|Household Support Fund
|Covid mobile testing (Crowborough)
|WDC reception still closed
|Fly tipping appeal
|Open spaces consultation
Wealden District Council – social media reach and engagement comparison
We had just as well not bothered with Twitter. In fact, when putting this table together and seeing the data side by side for the first time, I did wonder why we bother with Twitter at all when the reach and engagement is so poor. We’ve tried threading, and not including links to other sites to appease Twitter’s algorithm, as well of course being strategic with our use of hashtags, but the numbers just never seem to change. As you’ll also see from the table, there are instances when I have chosen not to post some stories on Twitter at all, as I know full well it won’t perform anywhere near as well as Facebook and Nextdoor.
One thing I can be certain of, is that our audience loves a good fly-tip and any news relating to the possible development of open spaces in the district. Nextdoor may certainly trump Twitter when it comes to the performance of posts on these topics, but where I’m from, Facebook will always knock it out of the park if so much as a crisp packet or brick is out of place.
Time to venture Nextdoor
I’ve seen a lot of posts over the last 18 months from social media managers saying that they’re “thinking” about venturing into Nextdoor, but either haven’t gotten around to it yet, or haven’t been brave enough to test the water. As I mentioned in my previous blog on the subject, I was incredibly sceptical about what it could bring to the social media table. Not often am I happy to be proved wrong, but in this case as a long-time lover of Twitter I will happily state on record that in the workplace, if it were Twitter and Nextdoor face to face in the dance off, I’d be voting for Nextdoor to stay and dance another week leaving Twitter to waltz off into the sunset.
Sadly, this is not a paid for ad, and I am not on any commission with Nextdoor although I probably should be. For anyone who has been unsure up until now, I hope that the data speaks for itself and you’re tempted to dive straight in. Your engagement stats will thank you for it.
Lucy Salvage is Media and Communications Officer at Wealden District Council.