Remarkable social media performance testament to Victorian community spirit

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Victorians suffered more than most from the 2020 effects of Covid with councils on the front-line of managing the disruptions that lockdowns created. What’s remarkable is local government’s response from a social media perspective with core-metrics soaring to new heights as communities rallied together and communications ramped-up during the crisis.

A six-year Shunt analysis of Victorian councils has revealed that the number of posts published has doubled by +107%, while audience engagement climbed a massive +245% as the performance of posts (an engagement to productivity ratio) also tracked upwards by +67% from the period encompassing the start of 2015 to the end of 2020.

Posts published top 50,000

Massive growth has defined the Victorian LGA landscape as it relates to social media over the last six years as productivity improved by +13% (2016) then +39% (2017), then by a further +2% (2018) and +8% (2019). Totalling 42,292 posts in 2019, the state was on-track for more of the same in 2020.   

Even with all the chaos associated with Covid lockdowns, Victorian councils were able to further increase their work rate with growth of an additional +19% in 2020 as total posts published raced to a new high of 50,376.  

Engagement soars past 2-Million, in spite of Covid

While the internal productivity systems and processes across Victorian councils has continued to improve unabated the outlook for audience engagement (total Facebook reactions, comments and shares) has been even better as progressively more engagement has flowed back from followers.  

2016 engagement levels were up 21% on the previous year, with 2017 posting another impressive return of +67%, then +6% (2018) and a further +25% the following year.  

As with each state Shunt has assessed to date, these results were sustained through 2020 with total reactions, comments and shares up another 481,000 from the 2019 high to 2.15 million last year – representing a +29% increase.

Post-performance keeps getting better

The real test of the health and robustness of a LGA’s social media presence is the performance of posts published. This simple ratio that divides total engagement by the number of posts is a key indicator of how efficient and effective they are.

Where productivity has consistently increased year-on-year, engagement growth has kept pace from 2015 to 2018 which has resulted in a steady improvement in post-performance from a 2015 result of 25.63 average engagements through to a new-high of 42.75 in 2020.

2021 Productivity bumping along

As per other states Shunt has analysed to date, the productivity profile of Victorian councils has remained relatively stable through a year impacted by Covid. 2020 started with a combined total of 4,606 then got as high as 4,687 in May before dipping as low as 3,161 (October) before eventually seeing the year out on 4,275.

For continued monitoring are results from 2021 with productivity slipping to a little over 3,000 (3,228) in January (down -30% on the same time last year) before an increase in February to 3,646 (up +9% on the same time last year).

Audience engagement’s roller-coaster ride

January 2020 was a strong month for the local government sector in Victoria as it topped 200,000 reactions, comments and shares with additional +200K results in April and a high of 242,600 in August.

On the ‘downside’ there were several notable dips including February (153,319), June (179,059) and in particular October (101,294). Of potential concern is the November 2020 ‘mini-peak’ of 170,206 followed by four successive falls in engagement to a low of 117,573 in February this year.

Is a solution to this recent trend simply to post more? Answer: Maybe.

A recurring social media theme is that engagement typically tracks closely against productivity. The golden rule being that the more you post, typically the better the audience engagement response.

Melbourne in a class of its own

As at late March 2021, the City of Melbourne remains in a class of its own with 160,060 Facebook fans – the only council in the state with an audience in excess of 100,000. The nearest challenger to its preeminent position is the Ballarat Council (42,575) who has a comfortable gap to third placed City of Casey (29,299).   

(2021) Latrobe and Hobsons Bay trade places

The Latrobe City Council has once again been quick off the blocks in 2021 already racking-up 292 posts through January and February knocking ‘arch-rival’ Hobson Bay into second place.  

(2020) Hobsons Bay cracks 2K milestone

There were some huge post publishing outputs from Victorian councils through 2020 with all of the Shunt Top-10 pushing through the 1,000 plus barrier. Of this group, Hobson Bay City Council actually managed to crack 2,000 posts equivalent to 5.5 posts-per-day. An incredible feat.

Next best and no slouch was the Latrobe City Council (4.75 posts-per-day) with the Brimbank City Council in third (4.01 posts-per-day).    

(2021) The City leading the way

The City of Melbourne led the way into the new year with 51,900 reactions comments and shares racked-up already after just two months.  

(2020) Ballarat best of the rest

No great surprise that the City of Melbourne finished on top last year for total reactions, comments and shares on Facebook with well over 300,000.

Full credit to the Ballarat Council whose tally was around half that tally. The goldfields council is well clear of third placed Hobsons Bay who have proven (once again) that high productivity rates translate into audience engagements with a total of 71,980.

(2021) Melbourne lands on 666

Looking to February 2021, it’s the City of Melbourne setting a benchmark for other LGA’s to follow with around 666 average engagements per post. Spooky!

(2020) Big bunch on the right-side of 40

Shunt’s performance metric is all about striking the right balance between content quality and quantity. With the City of Melbourne well and truly out-front, the high-performing Ballarat Council cruised into second on 123.36 engagements per post followed by Greater Geelong on 66.04.

What’s interesting is how close the rest of the Shunt Top-10 is with fourth (Kingston) to ninth (Wangaratta) all landing in the 40-50 range. Even tenth (Mornington Peninsula) is only just outside this group on 39.50.

Research notes;

72 Local Government Authorities from around Victoria with a Facebook page were analysed as part of this report. Results are for Facebook only. Annual data from January 2015 to December 2020 inclusive. 2020 results from January 1st to December 31st inclusive. 2021 results from January 1st to February 28th inclusive unless otherwise stated.  

Uncertain as to what 2021 has in store?
You’re not the only one! Throughout 2020, Shunt doubled-down on its local government social media data research so as to further improve our situational awareness as to what is happening across the sector. If your council is interested in tapping into this resource and improving its social media performance then let’s chat. Get in touch at info@shunt.com.au

 

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