As community engagement trends transform to embrace digital platforms and tools it's important to do your research when choosing online engagement software. There are a wide range of options for engaging with communities and stakeholders online and it's important to be sure that the one you choose has everything you need for your specific consultation. Here are 8 things to consider when planning your digital engagement project.
1. Is the software user-friendly?
Ensuring that the software will be easy and safe for the community to use is essential to encourage your community to get involved. Make sure you ask for a demo of the platform before you sign-up to be sure that the software has all of the tools you need.
2. Does the provider have examples of similar case studies and projects to show its effectiveness?
The software that you choose should provide a project gallery for you to view examples of how the product was used, as well as provide you with education and training opportunities, and a newsletter to keep you up to date with the latest news and features of the project.
3. Is the platform suitable for all stages of your consultation efforts?
Many consultation projects have multiple phases where your community needs to remain engaged. Make sure that you choose an engagement software that has all of the tools you need to keep your community and stakeholders engaged throughout all phases of the consultation. Some of the tools that your engagement platform should include are discussion forums, stories, surveys, interactive maps, polls, ideation/brainstorming tools, custom domains, integrations, site analytics and custom branding.
4. Does it provide meaningful reporting with safe data storage?
Ensure that you can easily access the data and that it is fully safe and protected. Data reports should include all participant activity with the option of real-time reporting. Ensure the ability of comment tagging and analysis to enable you to categorize by key words or phrases. Your consultation data should be easily exportable.
5. Is the platform responsive and functional on all devices?
One of the main purposes of online engagement is that community and stakeholders can engage at any time and place that is convenient for them. Ensuring that the digital engagement software you choose is compatible on all sorts of devices is essential to making engaging easy and convenient.
6. Does it offer easy and automated moderation?
24/7 auto-moderation is extremely important in ensuring that inappropriate comments or bad language is automatically removed from the engagement site. Your engagement platform should include a moderation system that automatically removes unwanted language and sends you an alert notification.
7. Will you get technical and strategic support provided by engagement experts?
In a digital engagement space it's important to have more than a simple help desk to support you in your consultation. You must ensure that the company who provides your software are leaders in digital engagement software development and will provide you with around-the-clock technical support and engagement consultation advice.