If you promote it, they will come
We’ve all been there. We see a flyer on a street post inviting us to attend a town hall, only to realize that it happened last week. Or we made it to the event, but it was so crowded that the shy people at the back of the room, we didn’t feel confident enough to participate. All of this is gone when public engagement goes online.
Online, participants can provide input at any time, while unwinding at home, commuting to work, or during the lunch hour. Without the feeling that our comments might not be as smart as those of the person standing next to us, online public engagement makes us more comfortable to take our time to say what we want to say.
But this doesn’t mean that running public consultations online is easy. Like with any other social activity at scale, it requires that we give it enough support before, during and after we engage. Here are a few tips on how to let the everyone know about your project.
Public engagement promotion tips
If you build it, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will come. You will have to let everyone know that you want them to participate. Some of the best results we’ve seen in terms of promotion include:
Promoting on social media. Post a link to your engagement site on your Facebook page or Twitter feed. It’s free and if you do it often, it generates a good amount of traffic.
Boosting your social posts with paid advertising. You can exponentially grow the traffic to the consultation site by making sure your posts are seen by as many people as possible. Social networks and Facebook in particular, offer excellent targeting capabilities.
Identifying influencers. People that are not directly associated with your organization can have a powerful effect in bringing others along. Explore niche social networks such as Reddit and Nextdoor and contact natural influencers in specific communities of interest.
Sending out an email newsletter. If you have an email newsletter, include a link to the online consultation next time you send it out. These notices sent to people’s inboxes increase participation significantly.
Do these things during the entire consultation period. Also, make it easy for participants to engage once they get to the site. Keep registration requirements at a minimum or use lazy registration, keep the site mobile friendly and fast even on slower connections. Above all, make it interesting, relevant and fun for people to participate.
We would love to show you how 76engage can help with your next online engagement project. Drop us a note and we’ll give you a quick demo, no strings attached.