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Community Engagement Tools Are Rewarding

Community engagement is one of those phrases that has been tossed around a lot lately. We all know the importance of gaining support from people and building relationships but that doesn’t mean it is an easy task.

I can’t just set up a Twitter account and call that my community engagement plan. Resources to support your community require a lot more thought and development. Here's how to get started:

Community engagement basics

You need to begin by assessing your community's needs and interests. The reasons for this are obvious; you are aiming to build long lasting relationships with readers and/or consumers.

The rules of engagement are simple; answer all questions, address criticism in a responsible manner, share good responses, always acknowledge good tips and don’t be afraid to admit when you make a mistake.

Set yourself targets

  • Better on-site engagement
  • Improve company brand
  • Use Twitter or LinkedIn more
  • Engage more directly

Social engagement across digital media and other social properties

Are you getting the most out of your Facebook or Twitter accounts?

Twitter

Before diving in consider carefully where Twitter fits in your strategy. Are the people you need to reach on Twitter? Do you have the resources to properly monitor and respond to an open platform like this? How are you going to use input from Twitter in your decision processes? Are you ready to handle community backlash if it comes? Deciding not to use Twitter is perfectly legitimate. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you otherwise.

If you decide to go with Twitter, here’s a few things you should do:

  • Follow the right people, set some targets.

  • Show recognition - By all means, followers are good, but retweets, replies, and favorites show your community are really hearing you.

  • If you’re using Twitter as a customer service channel consider paying for 24/7 monitoring to ensure you don’t miss anything.

  • Don’t be a news robot - be more personable, tweet more than links, openly engage strangers and always respond. Use Twitter to direct the community to relevant information to encourage a more informed debate.

Facebook

People sometimes wonder what to write about on Facebook—which is funny, since they should just write. If you’re working on a project, think about using Facebook as it was originally intended: a social site where you let people know what you’re doing.

The difference between Twitter and Facebook is that Facebook is more of a closed network. You will need to operate off the ‘friend’ basis. Adding people or getting people to ‘like’ your page. Facebook is more visual than Twitter however so you have more opportunity to entice people with images etc.

Setting up events and sending out invites to grow your community is also easier on Facebook.

Facebook allows you to develop your brand's personality, show your own research, share what you are reading and even comment on stories in your field.

Wordpress

WordPress is an open source platform, which can be used to build a great looking website in a much shorter time than conventional websites. WordPress has thousands of available themes and plugins that you can use to change the look of your website and add functionality. It’s easy to manage your own pages and blog content with WordPress – it’s what is commonly called a CMS (or content management system).

Wordpress is an excellent engagement tool for a number of reasons. Community engagement doesn’t work as an afterthought. Engaging is hard work, and won’t get the time and attention it needs if the organization doesn’t stress its importance. More important, the community is smart and people will quickly recognize when engagement is lip service, rather than a priority.

You need content that people want to share, respond to and talk about. That’s partly a matter of producing good content (storytelling still counts). And it’s partly a matter of thinking of ways for people to interact with the content, whether that means providing polls asking people what they think or presenting the content in a game or providing links where people can express their views about the story to a city council or school board members.

Civis Connect

Civis Connect is a cloud-based solution for managing stakeholder engagement and public consultation. It is entirely mobile and facilitates better data collection, communication & database management

Civis Connect aims to unlock the full potential of your community. It provides flexible and powerful tools that leverage the latest Cloud and mobile technology to change how your organization manages mission-critical stakeholder engagement processes. Any organization which needs to forge an authentic and lasting dialogue with people that matter to it can benefit from community engagement and this is where we come in, take a demo here below.

Communities range from the residents living near your proposed infrastructural project to high-level stakeholders involved in your corporate governance. Research has demonstrated that making clear efforts to engage communities in an organization's decision-making process leads to stronger two-way engagement and gives them a powerful sense of 'ownership' over the consultation's outcome.

Voxcitio can help with community engagement through email blast functions, issue tracking, tags, filters to segment your contact database, helping to organize your team members, map features and much more.

Planning, canvassing, analyzing results and follow-up are the four components that make Voxcitio stand out amongst many community engagement tools.

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