3 Ways to Optimize Your Public Engagement Initiative Post-Launch
- Caitlin Ryan
- February 7, 2023
- 7 minute read
In this new three-part blog series, follow Adrienne Hamilton’s journey to get a client-side view of successful project planning, launching, and reporting of a public involvement initiative for transport. Learn how you can also create positive project outcomes with your online community engagement platform of choice. This second installment will focus on optimizing your public involvement initiative post-launch.
As the Denton County Transportation Authority’s (DCTA) recent Senior Marketing and Communications Manager, I was tasked with launching and optimizing the marketing and communications plan for the agency’s GoZone microtransit public involvement project in spring. This brand new service was slated to launch in fall – just a few months later.
DCTA’s ambitious public involvement project required a flexible suite of online community engagement tools to easily gather informed feedback from residents. In order to provide Denton County residents with an accessible, online platform, we decided that Social Pinpoint would successfully support our team’s objectives.
After a successful planning phase, DCTA’s GoZone public engagement initiative was launched! With the project underway, our focus shifted to analytics and optimization to maximize engagement results. In the public transit industry, it’s vital to have an adaptable public involvement plan when engaging your communities because external circumstances can easily shift things.
Using agile methodologies is a wise approach to public engagement because it allows you to be responsive to changing needs and circumstances, improving overall efficiency and satisfaction. Throughout the engagement, we were able to remain agile in our delivery and promotion as we could easily update and modify our project.
Here are three ways we optimized DCTA’s GoZone microsite post launch, and how you can duplicate these efforts for similar, positive outcomes:
- Keep your public engagement “hub” up to date.
- Use real-time data and analytics to pivot your engagement strategy.
- Incorporate new engagement tools and promotions to increase feedback.
1. Keep your public engagement “hub” up to date.
The GoZone public involvement microsite served as a community engagement hub that provided all key stakeholders up-to-date information and resources. And because we utilized a custom domain for the site, we could be confident in directing all online traffic to this space with zero disruptions to links or URLs. Having one centralized space to host all our project information and feedback gathering tools was incredibly helpful in keeping everyone updated.
Our team made it a priority to proactively update the microsite with new project information and announcements. We wanted to ensure all visitors always had the most relevant information so they could provide valuable feedback. We accomplished this by having a dedicated Media Center and routinely updating our Frequently Asked Questions.
A common best practice for any public transit engagement project is to incorporate a dedicated media center. This is important to include in your launch phase as it keeps your stakeholders and community updated on changes to your project, view key project collateral pieces and share current project news with others to increase community engagement participation.
Our GoZone public engagement initiative media center included project announcements, digital collateral, imagery, and logos. During the launch phase, DCTA had numerous project updates that were conveyed to the community such as:
- GoZone microtransit project news announcements
- Added virtual town halls for public meeting sessions
- New informational videos and new collateral for viewing and download
Frequently Asked Questions
Anticipating FAQs your community has about a public engagement initiative will help save your team a lot of additional admin time responding to the same question. Therefore, incorporating a FAQs section at project launch was essential for DCTA.
Even though our team did anticipate certain questions, we quickly noticed via the comments and feedback we were receiving, that there were noticeable gaps in information. We analyzed the feedback, collaborated with various internal departments and updated the FAQs section to ensure site visitors had the information they needed to provide conversant feedback.
2. Use real-time data and analytics to pivot your public engagement strategy.
The nitty gritty work begins after your microsite is launched! Making a dedicated effort to consistently monitor data and metrics is imperative to the success of your public engagement initiative.
Our team analyzed the GoZone microsite daily, carefully reviewing all responses and survey results, which enabled us to develop and present timely project updates. This meant that our board of directors were well informed and could refine their decision-making process for the proposed service.
A key advantage of Social Pinpoint’s analytics dashboard is that you can view all engagement metrics and performance in real-time. This meant we could easily track our public engagement performance against our goals. We also connected our microsite to Google Analytics to allow for advanced analytics measurement. Below is specific data we analyzed during the launch phase to help pivot our strategy:
|Social Pinpoint Dashboard||Google Analytics|
|Total number of visits/unique visits to the site||Top pages visited on the project site|
|Average time people are on the site||Top paid/organic referral traffic to the site|
|Unique stakeholders interacting with the site||Bounce rate|
|Total comments on the site||New and returning users to the site|
|Number of survey responses||Total page views on the site|
|Number of project PDF downloads||Average pages viewed per session|
Due to the dashboard and system integration offered by Social Pinpoint, we were able to strategically adjust our marketing budget to focus on tactics that were driving the most website traffic and public feedback.
3. Incorporate new engagement tools and promotions to increase feedback.
Public engagement initiatives call for a strategic and nimble approach. So, being able to effectively incorporate new tools and easily tailor upcoming promotions was a great advantage for DCTA.
DCTA could quickly adapt and add new digital engagement tools to increase public feedback with Social Pinpoint. A vital feature DCTA added post-launch was the ability to easily integrate and host virtual public meeting sessions. Like many other transit agencies across the country, DCTA faced challenges with in-person public engagement. This feature was invaluable and enabled DCTA to provide the community with virtual options to hear and view the public involvement presentations in real-time.
To keep engagement consistent, DCTA also implemented a weekly contest promoted via email, social media, and in collaboration with media partners. This promotional push was launched to help collect additional feedback on our engagement tools that were lacking participation.
Each week, we would feature one aspect of the GoZone microsite, whether it was our Ideas Wall, Interactive Map, or a Survey. Each visitor that interacted with the featured tool would be entered to win a prize.
This promotional tactic bolstered DCTA’s public involvement marketing efforts and provided a substantial increase in community feedback and responses. It also helped to ensure that DCTA were receiving a representative and diverse amount of feedback from a larger portion of respondents.
Now that you have the inside scoop from a recent client, reach out Social Pinpoint to schedule your demo and take your public involvement and community engagement project to the next level! Stay tuned for the final series topic that will highlight my reporting experience.
Adrienne Hamilton is an award-winning B2C and B2B marketing and communications professional with more than 10 years of demonstrated success in helping companies build and maintain a positive brand image and exceed business goals. Hamilton served as Denton County Transportation Authority’s (DCTA) Senior Marketing and Communications Manager and spearheaded the agency’s GoZone microtansit public involvement project in which Social Pinpoint was key to it becoming one of the most successful public involvement campaigns in agency history.