Online communications have revolutionized how information is discovered, consumed and shared. Ratepayers expect information to arrive on their virtual doorstep. They don’t want to have to go chasing after it. This common perception makes online municipal communication strategies very important. It is imperative that local governments learn how to navigate this landscape, before they venture into the newest opportunity to engage their constituents.
That being said, neither traditional nor online communications should be executed without a digital plan, and that plan should identify your audience, your message and your media.
Who do you want to communicate with?
- Business Owners
What is your message?
- Updates from public works or planning
- Promotion of good governance
- Benchmarking activities
- Promote local businesses and tourism
- Advertise events
- Engagement effectiveness
- Transparency regarding programs, services, and decisions that affect stakeholders
Next, what are the best ways to get the message out? It used to be print media, direct mail, radio and television, calendars, inserts, council meetings and committee minutes. Then there was the internet: email, social media and a website. Now research indicates that although there may still be a place for each of these outlets, the undeniable trend is to mobile: snackable, portable, interactive, convenient and immediate.
Let me repeat. There is evidence that shows a strong movement toward mobile engagement and that it is a very different medium than print or online. Mobile requires a specific technology and content development and mobile cannot be ignored.
If your municipality does not yet have a communications plan that includes a mobile presence, now is the time. Consider what your options are, including the IHUBApp which has unlimited communication channels, event management, polls and surveys, and real-time updates.