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Housing developers urged to engage ‘silent majority’ via social media

Words: Huw Morris
Engaging the silent majority through social media / iStock-502157614

Developers should step up their efforts on social media to communicate with the ‘silent majority’ of the public who support housebuilding, according to latest research.

An analysis by Shelter of a YouGov survey of 20,000 people found housebuilding supporters are more likely to be members of social networks, particularly Twitter. Opponents of housebuilding are relatively light users of social media with more than a quarter not members of any networks.

The research, commissioned by consultancy Meeting Place Communications, found that although traditional news channels have wide appeal, active supporters of housebuilding are very close followers of websites, with opponents relying on radio and print. It suggests that billboard and direct mail are good channels to reach people who support development but who are not necessarily active.

Active supporters and opponents share a high interest in their communities but differ on the impact they think more homes will have. This suggests that convincing opponents of some of the benefits to the community of new development is key to neutralising opposition.

The analysis is an update of earlier findings from the survey which found that 69 per cent of people are positive or neutral about housebuilding in their area, with supporters outnumbering opponents by a ratio of 5:3. Only 11 per cent are strongly opposed.

People aged 25-34 and renters tend to be the most supportive of development, reflecting the groups most affected by housing shortages. Although opponents are more commonly found among Telegraph readers, Conservative voters or retired people, they still do not outnumber supporters in these groups, according to the analysis.

Image credit | iStock