There was a time when sticky notes on a wall used to be enough for your engagement projects.
Now, there’s an increasing emphasis on using a mix of online and offline practices to help reach your audience. With internet access in 86% of Australian households, online engagement tools are fast becoming the quickest, easiest, and most cost-effective way to reach a large number of people and maximise inclusiveness. But with so many apps, software systems, and tools available, it’s not easy to decide how best to engage with the community when you’re implementing a new project.
We’ve compiled a list of 5 of the best online engagement tools and how they can benefit your project
1. Engagement HQ
Engagement HQ helps you to hear what your stakeholders have to say about your project by combining tools like surveys, forums, guestbooks, and Q&A sections. It also offers the opportunity to use ideation boards and digital mapping to present project information to your stakeholders, as well as reporting and analytics to review the performance of your engagement.
Australia Post’s National Conversation page has made great use of Engagement HQ tools to encourage conversation with their stakeholders. On the site, users can take polls, respond to news stories, and provide their opinion on issues of debate.
2. Social Pinpoint
Social Pinpoint combines online engagement with digital mapping so that your stakeholders can provide feedback more interactively. It’s most useful for projects or plans that are dependent on geography and thus can be visualised on a map. In contrast to social media, Administrators have access to comment moderation and live reporting – ensuring rapid response to emerging issues.
VicRoads use Social Pinpoint effectively to involve the community in their many projects by encouraging residents to leave feedback about policies and projects relating to road networks, safety and licensing. Separate maps have been created for their numerous projects like the Hoddle Street-Punt Road consultation, where stakeholders can easily leave comments with positive or negative feedback in specific geographic locations.
3. Spatial Media
Spatial Media specialises in 3D production, with a focus on communicating concepts to your stakeholders. They integrate 3D design with apps and web content to effectively deliver your ideas to your audience, and their feedback analytics allow you to determine how the online community is responding to the project.
Spatial Media was used for the successful public announcement of the Cross River Rail project proposed by the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads and Struber Communications. The 3D visualisation of the proposed development helped stakeholders to more easily understand what was involved and how the project works within existing infrastructure.
4. Harvest Digital Planning
Harvest Digital Planning also creates online engagement in the form of surveys. Their approach is to “communicate plans and strategies over the web through meaningful and interesting content.” The surveys are designed to be enjoyable and interactive to encourage richer feedback from stakeholders.
Harvest Digital partnered in the creation of a website for the Albert Park Master Plan Project that demonstrates the potential of these surveys. The website allows Parks Victoria to provide information about the proposal, while providing the opportunity for stakeholders to contribute feedback and input directly to the project via the interactive survey questions.
5. Consultation Manager
Consultation Manager is the one tool that can consolidate all of your online and offline data into a centralised knowledge-base in the cloud.
It creates a complete history of all your interactions with stakeholders and the community across single or multiple projects.
As well as storing, tracking and reporting on your data for you, Consultation Manager provides automation and communication tools like Webforms, eNews, SMS, calendars and email integration.
The Australian Rail Track Corporation Ltd.’s (ARTC) community consultation for the Inland Rail project uses both front-end and back-end online tools. At the front-end, ARTC offers stakeholders and the community the opportunity to provide input into the project by completing a Webform facilitated by Consultation Manager software. At the back-end, ARTC can track this and other engagement with different stakeholders and report on what people are concerned about.
Learn how other organisations manage small and large-scale engagement projects. Download the free information sheet for your industry.
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