So what is digital engagement? (Inspired by Steph Gray @lesteph)
Well it’s a mind-set, an approach and a process that some digital tools make easier to implement.
What kind of mindset?
It’s a willingness to talk to audiences and engage with them. Sometimes we might not always like what they say but at least we will know what they think. If we give our audiences a voice we increase the chances that they might just help us and also give their insights.
What kind of process?
The diagram below gives a feel for the process.
The key point is that is a process not just a one off isolated activity. If we follow the whole cycle we will gain the greatest benefits.
If it sounds complicated it should not be and you might already be doing it.
Listening and understanding
You could already be using one of the dashboards created by the Knowledge Centre. Or you might be following a topic on Twitter; or a be member of a specialist LinkedIn group.
Communicating and explaining
This typically happens when an output is published. Traditionally we might issue a press notice, though increasingly we are using a range of our digital channels to publicise our messages. We probably could do more and be a little more innnovative.
Engaging and gathering views
You might have already ran an online surveys? But have you ever thought of allowing feedback on a draft toolkit, inviting people to comment on each section, and then publishing revised draft? Have you ever thought of asking a community about what are their burning topics so that we could get ideas for new studies?
Extending reach and impact
How often do we really do this? Could we for example partner with an online public finance community, or a think tank, to feature an article or guest entry by the NAO with links to an NAO report/tool?
Supporting a community
Here is a tricky one – do we know who your our audiences are and who is in this community? Who are the key influencers? Can we talk to them online? Will they spread our message for us? Will they be our advocates?
Evaluating and improving
How often do we look back to check did we communicate what we expected. If we ask for user input did we go back to them and tell them what we did with their input?
You might now think – yes I have been doing this already – but have you just done more than one stage? What about the other stages? Do you really know who your audiences are and their concerns?
(This is something I wrote for colleagues)