Selwyn District Council

Residents Opinion Survey with social media boost and comms section


This Residents survey is conducted on an annual basis by Research First. In 2018, additional questions around communications preferences were included, and a social media promotion added to boost engagement.

What did Research First do?

The majority of the interviews were undertaken over the phone, with a minority also choosing to complete the survey online. In total 421 residents were surveyed as the core representation regional sample.

An online survey was also set up and promoted via the Selwyn Facebook pages that 210 residents completed.

What impact did it make

Telephone interviewing continues to be the most robust and representative way to reflect the council catchment area, and provides reliable comparisons year-on-year to measure resident views about council provided services.

The online survey that was set up and promoted via the Selwyn facebook pages did boost engagement with the survey and the council, but the sample was skewed and therefore reported separately:

  • Self selecting rather than randomly selected
  • Skewed towards females aged 25-44 years old, and the majority living in Selwyn central ward, so did not reflect the rural residents in the same way the telephone survey did.
  • Their views were also different to the main telephone sample – a little less satisfied overall and with variations in service experiences. This reinforces that some social media users are less likely to be ‘on the fence’ and have an opinion about services and therefore this method could miss the ‘silent majority’ or those who are less engaged with the council, or not online.

The communications section also shows key outcomes for this council:

  • The council Call newsletter has the highest readership of all council comms followed by the website. Social media sites have very limited traction with the general population.
  • Direct comms to residents about services/events etc is preferred via email followed by newsletters and written letters.
  • This also highlighted natural differences between the two samples – with the Facebook sample more digitally focused with preferences towards social media and online new sites.