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Local governments, just like other institutions, must introduce innovation in how they communicate. In the past, towns or cities only needed to create websites and post upcoming events; some places don’t even have an online presence, choosing instead to rely on traditional methods like physical newsletters or bulletins.
Creating an Omni-Channel Engagement System
Today, though, citizens prefer that their governments communicate directly with them through messages containing only the information relevant to their daily lives. It means websites aren’t enough to engage the members of a community. Local governments need to invest in creating channels that will streamline communication with their constituents without adding to the workload of their administrative teams.
In 2020, direct citizen participation became even more crucial for cities and communities. The pandemic, wildfires, hurricanes, and other catastrophes required people to coordinate, act together, and inform each other quickly about developments. Governments have various options for harnessing omni-channel communication; keep reading for more ideas on how to engage the constituents of an area.
Use Digital Sign-Up Forms
For citizens to receive targeted messages, they should have a way to opt into these updates. It is why municipalities and communities should still maintain official websites—a website can be a community’s centralized area for online communications.
Online sign-up forms hosted on the town or city website allow people to opt into getting contacted easily. The administrators of the community’s website can even use the data they collect from these forms to make online profiles and further personalize messages they send out.
Create Social Media Channels
Another innovation local governments should use is social media. Today, more and more people are moving toward these platforms, using them to access news instead of turning to traditional media like radio and television.
Private companies have realized that diversification and expansion into the online world let them reach more customers—you can apply the same principles to municipal governments.
Use social media to promote special programs, post sign-up forms for events, and make announcements about local initiatives. Create a Facebook or Twitter page and ask citizens questions through these channels. You can even share photos and videos from current and past events on these platforms and encourage constituents to do the same.
Send Out Email Newsletters
Finally, providing citizens with email newsletters is a time-tested way to update them on what’s happening in their backyard. A monthly or bi-monthly letter tailored to recipients’ interests will get them more interested in participating or supporting community events. Municipal governments could also send links to fundraising landing pages through email.
With clearly written, engaging content, a local government can facilitate smart transactions and enable people to support their community from the comfort of their homes. What’s more, email newsletters take away people’s fear of getting inundated with “useless” or “spam” emails—when you can record citizens’ preferences and interests, you can put them on lists dedicated to special interests.
It is a myth that people have no sense of civic duty—they want more communication channels. Today, citizens want to interact with their governments in ways that offer choice and convenience. As such, government information officers must embrace innovation and an omni-channel approach to engaging constituents.
Besides leveraging omni-channel engagement systems, governments should invest in digital infrastructure. Trust Informatics to create specialized e-government software solutions for your city. We create end-to-end, integrated solutions for everything from public transport systems, welfare benefit databases and systems, vehicle registration, and more. Contact us today for inquiries!
Written by Daniele Paoletti