Guide to using Nextdoor

This is an introductory guide for local councillors on how to use Nextdoor. The guide provides advice and guidance on how to get started, how to get involved in your neighbourhood and how to keep yourself safe using the platform.


An introduction to Nextdoor

    • What is unique about Nextdoor

Signing up

Making use of Nextdoor as a councillor

    • Using the newsfeed

Posting and reacting

    • Bookmarking posts
    • Private messages


Nextdoor for Public Services

Limits to using Nextdoor as a councillor

How to post safely

    • Dealing with negativity and abuse
    • Deactivating and deleting your account

Social media guidance for councillors

The LGA has produced a series of guides to support councillors in using social media.

An introduction to Nextdoor

Nextdoor is one of the newest social media platforms in the UK having been launched in 2016. It has grown quickly and there are now over 15,000 Nextdoor neighbourhoods across the UK.

Much like how Facebook offers various tools and functionalities for people in your friendship network or who share similar interests, Nextdoor offers a similar place for people in the same local community to interact with one another.

Nextdoor allows users to start conversations about local issues and have other neighbours contribute using comments and direct messages.

Nextdoor serves as an excellent tool for councillors to keep on top of local issues and understand what people in their area are talking about. It is worth bearing in mind that Nextdoor is not yet as ubiquitous as some other social networks (as of 2021, one in seven UK residents were using it), and therefore does not reflect the entire range of views or issues that your local ward may contain, but is still an excellent means of engaging directly with residents who themselves are aware of and concerned about your local community.

What is unique about Nextdoor?

What makes Nextdoor unique is that it offers a private network for ‘neighbourhoods’ which are usually defined as villages or areas of towns. When registering, users must prove where they live either by providing a post code or phone number. They are then allocated to their neighbourhood, but, unlike other platforms, they cannot see posts in areas outside their local neighbourhood and neighbourhoods that are geographically very close by.

This makes Nextdoor unusually well suited to kinds of activities carried out by councillors and councils.

Nextdoor serves as an excellent tool for councillors to keep on top of local issues and understand what people in their area are talking about.

Signing up

Creating an account on Nextdoor is fairly straightforward, and can be done either via the website ( or through one of the mobile apps. After providing your address details you may need to verify your account using either your phone, an automatic geo-location or by receiving an invitation letter with a verification code. Nextdoor uses these to ensure that people are only able to join local communities that they live in.

Much like Facebook, Nextdoor uses real names instead of aliases or usernames, so bear in mind that all comments and posts you make will be attached to your identity and not an organisation or anonymous profile. When creating an account on Nextdoor, you are doing so as a private citizen and not as an elected representative (more details on this below), and unlike other platforms you cannot create a separate page or identity for your political work.

Making use of Nextdoor as a councillor

Nextdoor has a number of clear uses for councillors and can be used very effectively. Some of the uses that councillors find for Nextdoor include:

    • meeting residents
    • asking questions or posting a poll
    • organising events
    • getting recommendations
    • posting alerts.

As a local councillor you will be able to see how issues are being received in your local community and put up questions and polls to gauge opinion. It also allows you to organise and support local events.

Using the newsfeed

Nextdoor’s Newsfeed is the first thing you will see on the website or app once logged in, and displays a stream of content posted by other Nextdoor users in your area.

By default, the Newsfeed will be sorted to show the most popular posts first, but you can change this by:

    • clicking on your name in the top-right of the website
    • choosing ‘view profile’
    • clicking on the settings cog icon, ‘Account settings & preferences’
    • choosing ‘Newsfeed Preferences’ on the left
    • then choosing to sort the Newsfeed by recent activity (i.e. latest comments on a post) or the most recent posts themselves.

Choosing to change the sorting option to either of these means you might see a wider range of content on your Newsfeed, whereas leaving it on ‘Top posts’ means you’ll be more likely to see the most popular content first.

You can post to the Newsfeed at any time from the top of the Nextdoor homepage or app, and in doing so can add text, photos, images, a poll (survey), a marketplace listing or create a post about a safety issue if you want to raise awareness of suspicious behaviour.

Posting and reacting

Just like other major social media platforms, Nextdoor allows you to post and react to posts by other users. The main feed that you see is in a discussion forum format which allows you to see all activity in your neighbourhood.

You will also have a series of preset reactions available to you. They are different to the ‘Like’ function on Facebook and are more geared towards thanking neighbours for recommendations and information. You can also welcome new members and respond to posts with a message of your own.

Bookmarking posts

If for any reason you want to keep track of a post on the Newsfeed and make it easier to find in the future, you can choose to ‘bookmark’ any post by clicking on the three dots menu in the top right of it and selecting ‘Bookmark’.

You can then access your bookmarked posts at any time by clicking on your name in the top right of the website, then ‘View profile’, then ‘bookmarks’. On the mobile app, this can be accessed from the home screen by simply clicking on your profile icon in the top left, and then similarly selecting ‘bookmarks’ from there.

Private messages

As well as discussing issues in groups and on the Newsfeed, Nextdoor allows you to contact individuals directly using messages. To do so, click on the name of the person you wish to contact and click the ‘Message’ button on their profile. You can choose to have a copy of any correspondence sent to your email address as well, but make sure that you do not use this feature to directly undertake any official Council business or casework (see below).

You can quickly access all of your Messages discussions at any point on the website by selecting ‘Messages’ from the left hand menu, or by tapping the speech bubbles icon in the top-right of the app.


‘Connections’ allow you to connect with individuals on Nextdoor, in a similar way that you may follow or add someone as a friend on other platforms. When you connect with someone that you know (and they accept your connection request), their posts will appear at the top of your Newsfeed, their comments on other posts will be highlighted, and you will receive notifications when they post new content. You will also be able to include them in messages and comments by ‘tagging’ them – to do so, simply type the ‘@’ followed by their name and Nextdoor will automatically add a reference to them to the post and notify them.

To connect with someone at any point, click on their name from a post or comment and select the ‘Connect’ option on their profile.

Nextdoor for Public Services

Nextdoor for Public Services allows local councils, police forces, fire services and NHS bodies to operate as organisations on the platform. This means that public bodies can post content as an official, verified account about events, services and important news items.

Nextdoor members will be automatically ‘subscribed’ to receive messages from the services that serve them. Public services also have access to special tools, such as emergency alerts that can be used to notify local residents about things such as  unplanned road closures, missing persons and other immediate threats.

If your local council is using Nextdoor as an official Public Service, it may choose to allow some officers to post updates themselves using official identities underneath a Public Service account, or it may choose to post content as a standalone organisation. When a post is made from a Public Service account, you can identify both the organisation and the individual who created it at the top of the post itself, for example ‘Merton Police – PCSO John Smith’.

All verified Public Services receive a green tick badge on their profiles and all posts to ensure that Nextdoor users can easily verify that content is from an official source.

Limits to using Nextdoor as a councillor

Whilst Nextdoor permits the discussion of relevant local political issues in the Newsfeed, it strictly prohibits the use of the platform to discuss or organise political campaigning, and to promote campaign events or fundraising.

Similarly, as an elected Councillor, you are not permitted to use your personal Nextdoor account to directly handle casework or any other official business, and must instead direct people to contact relevant departments or representatives through their official government email address(es).

How to post safely

Nextdoor is widely considered to be a ‘friendlier’ platform than other major social media platforms. More of its content is uncontroversial such as people selling things or promoting local events. It does not generally see the same level of trolling and abuse that is seen on some other platforms. That is not to say that it never happens, but it is less common.

It is though very important that councillors are careful about which issues to engage with. Nextdoor’s highly localised content can be a double edged sword as the issues can quickly provide a lightning rod for residents. Councillors should remember that they can refer issues back to the official channels rather than taking it on themselves.

Be sure before you post. Make sure you have checked the facts in anything you are sharing or promoting.

Dealing with negativity and abuse

Don’t be afraid to block or report people: If you think accounts are fake, block them from your profile. If you get aggressive or many negative comments from followers you can delete comments and block those people. Don’t hesitate to report people (including to the police) if you received messages or comments that would be classed as a hate crime.

Deactivating or deleting your Nextdoor account

You can either deactivate or delete your Nextdoor account at any time. There is an important difference between the two actions. Deactivating your account removes your profile but leaves your historic posts visible to other users. This means that you can reactivate at any time by just signing back in. Deleting your account removes your profile and all of your posts and cannot be reversed.