Interaction and crisis communication: the city has arrived on social media

“Social media has become an important component of urban communication: We can reach completely new target groups with our information and receive valuable feedback through the channels. That is why it was important to me that the city of Wuppertal also get into social media – and as you can see: Many users have been waiting for it and are taking the opportunity to get in direct contact with me and the city administration. This is a real win for both sides, ”says Mayor Uwe Schneidewind, who himself has long been active with personal, independently managed accounts on Facebook and Twitter.

The city-wide Twitter account went online in mid-February 2021, and the city’s OB account started at the same time on Instagram. Since then there has been a lot going on every day: citizens come up with concerns that couldn’t be more different. Everything is included, from reporting a broken park bench to feedback and questions about urban events to suggestions relating to traffic planning, digitization and public participation. The focus is on the interaction between city and citizen: The press office responsible for the city-wide accounts attaches great importance to providing further help as soon as possible with questions and tips and, if necessary, to establishing contact between the user and the specialist department.

The city’s Twitter channel received special attention during the flood night in mid-July 2021. The large reach via the social network helped with crisis communication: the midnight tweet in which the city informed that the dam was overflowing was almost half a million Twitter user displayed. The actual range is likely to be even higher: Twitter users shared screenshots of the numerous urban flood tweets on other social media such as Facebook and Whatsapp, which reached even more people.

The dud discovery in September and the cloud of smoke that moved towards Wuppertal after an explosion in Leverkusen at the end of July also made it clear how helpful social media can be in crisis communication. The information and information relevant to the citizens could be published quickly, queries answered quickly and any uncertainties eliminated in this way.

The engagement in social media resonates with the users. Two followers on Twitter summarized their thanks for this new way of information and interaction as follows: “[…] Your commitment to @Twitter, especially today (note: press office: day of the explosion in Leverkusen) and on #Flutnacht gives me a clear plus in # quality of life here in the valley! “And:” Really great job, especially like your current events picks up and “uses” the interaction with us. “

There is also lively participation in the comment area on Instagram and in surveys or quiz questions in the story area. The Mayor’s regular Insta-Live formats are particularly popular – here Mayor Uwe Schneidewind answers questions from users and answers live to questions that are asked in the chat.

The Twitter account currently has 3,632 followers, the Instagram account is now already followed by 5,160 subscribers (as of October 28). New users are added almost every day, crises such as the flood night create a special dynamic.

When communicating via social media, nobody should be left out: All the current content of the city-wide accounts is under https://www.wuppertal.de/newsroom retrievable. The “newsroom” set up especially for this purpose ensures that citizens without a social media account also have uncomplicated access to the city’s postings.

The two citywide channels can be accessed and subscribed to here:
https://twitter.com/stadt_wuppertal and https://www.instagram.com/oberbuergermeister_wuppertal/

The city-wide channels are in good company on social media. Individual municipal departments as well as affiliated companies and institutions close to the city have in some cases been represented on social media for a long time. There is an overview of all accounts here.