City of Wolverhampton Council is now on Instagram to showcase beautiful and thought provoking images and videos of the city.

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The account - @WolverhamptonToday - will combine images and footage taken by the council along with those submitted by residents and partners.

The aim is to foster a sense of civic pride and challenge the often unfair and negative stereotypes some people have about Wolverhampton.

The account will highlight things like architecture, parks and green spaces, wildlife and the people who make the city special.

Growth in the use of social media in recent years has opened up new opportunities for the council to engage and inform local people.

Across all of its social media channels, the council has developed an audience of over 226,000 followers receiving information on everything from bin collections to gigs at the Civic Halls.

On Facebook - the council's Wolverhampton Today page has more than 46,000 followers making it one of the largest of its kind in the country. The average number of followers for a council Facebook page is just 5,000.

The council uses Facebook as a platform for sharing council updates as well as stories from across the city to help bring people together.

The council is also active on Twitter, YouTube and Flickr and has plans to start using Pinterest and Snapchat.

Councillor Roger Lawrence, Leader of City of Wolverhampton Council, said: "As a council we recognise how essential social media is to help us communicate directly with our residents and partners.

"This fits into the council's wider digital transformation programme where we are trying to provide as many services as possible online so that our customers can access them how and when they want to.

"The same goes for the way we inform and engage local communities. Social media channels such as Facebook help us to inform people and get direct feedback on what they think. This helps shape the council's thinking and policies.

"The amount we spend on traditional advertising, aside from statutory notices which we have to pay for, has declined as a result of this digital revolution. This means we are able to deliver cheaper, more targeted and more effective communications."

"An example of this is the 'Terrific for Twos' free 15 hour a week childcare offer. The campaign, funded by central Government, but delivered by the council achieved an 80% take up rate - compared to a national average of 68% - and was commended by the Department for Education as an example of best practice. A big slice of the £14,500 spent on Facebook advertising in 2014 to 2015 and the £42,800 in 2015 to 2016 helped support this campaign.

"Online advertising has also helped the council recruit new foster carers. Again, Facebook is an effective way of encouraging would be foster carers to attend recruitment events.

"Effective foster care recruitment helps us save on using more expensive commercial foster care agencies which, on average, costs the council £10-18,000 more a child every year. Our approach, helped us recruit 23 foster carers last financial year which is a potential saving of up to £437,000.

"Digital advertising on social media also helps us to get hundreds of thousands of people into the city to visit council venues such as the nationally renowned Civic Halls, Art Gallery and Bantock House. The Civic Halls alone bring £330,000 visitors to the city each year, generates £4.3m for the local economy and sustains 360 jobs."

The council's spend on Facebook advertising in the last 3 years was:

£12,104 in 2014 to 2015, £42,789 in 2015 to 2016, £23,236 in 2016 to 2017 and £13,374 so far this financial year. Between April 2014 and the present, the council spent £17,191 on other online advertising including £9,000 of central Government funding on the free childcare offer for 2 year olds.

  • released: Wednesday 8 November, 2017