Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Northern Ireland councils defend £200k bill for social media use

Belfast City Council's Twitter page
Belfast City Council's Twitter page
Belfast City Council's Flickr account
Belfast City Council's Flickr account
Belfast City Council's YouTube channel
Belfast City Council's YouTube channel

Councils across Northern Ireland have spent more than £200,000 on social media since 2010, it has emerged.

Despite spending nearly £8,000, Antrim Borough Council has just 60 Twitter followers.

Belfast City Council is a social media giant with more then 25,000 followers on Twitter and 16,000 on Facebook.

But it is also a spending giant – £109,000 has been spent on staffing and maintaining the sites.

A series of Freedom of Information requests by the Daily Mail revealed that councils across the UK spent £3.22m on social media since 2010 – and Belfast is one of the biggest spenders.

Newcastle Council spent the most in the UK with an £147,480 investment, while Belfast is one of just seven others spending more than £100,000 on social media.

Lord Mayor Mairtin O Muilleoir is currently one of the most active politicians in Northern Ireland on Twitter with 10,890 followers. He posts frequent updates on his daily events.

A spokesman for Belfast City Council said: "As technology constantly evolves people expect to be able to get information where and when they want it, and they expect organisations to respond accordingly."

Other big-spending councils in Northern Ireland include Craigavon and Newry & Mourne.

Craigavon Borough Council spent £28,845 on social media, although it has just over 1,000 followers on Twitter, and just over 2,600 'likes' on Facebook.

While Newry & Mourne District Council has 1,128 Twitter followers and 2,544 'likes' on Facebook, for a spend of around £14,000.

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