3 Must Haves for Digital Engagement by Local Governments
There are so many options when it comes to using digital tools to engage the public, it can be hard to know where to start. I’m working with the team at HB Lanarc Golder to write a digital public engagement guide for Alberta Municipal Affairs, and came up with what I think are the three must-do things for every small and medium sized municipal government.
If you only do three things to engage the public online, here’s what they should be:
1. Regularly updated website
For many people, your website is their first stop to your government. Work with your colleagues to set up an easy to navigate and easy to maintain website that connects visitors with the information they are looking for. There are plenty of very reasonably priced Content Management Systems out there to help you do this.
Bonus points: work on your search engine optimization so your audience can easily find your government website through a search.
2. Public feedback mechanism
Choose one way that the public can get in touch with you online, whether it be a simple email address, online comment box, or Twitter account. Then, be sure to monitor and offer replies on a regular basis.
3. Choose one social media site to be active on and foster relationships with your constituents
In your community, where are the active online people and what are they talking about? Choose one online community location (social networking site, local newspaper discussion forum, community blog) and commit to active participation. This will invest in relationships for future public engagements, provide a direct insight into that community’s views on issues that matter to you most, and begin to build your staff’s social media capacity.