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01/06/2016

The other side of the consultation coin - Consultation Online

How the internet helps win planning

Imagine turning up at a party where you don’t know anyone. Imagine that you
then realise everyone else is speaking Russian. You don’t speak Russian.

But the conversation is clearly animated and lively. Colourful debates
are being played out. In some corners arms are waving and voices are raised; in
others there’s a more considered, quieter dialogue taking place.

You dearly want to know what is being said – you know too that it would
be to your advantage, but, because you are not equipped to communicate, you are
excluded.

This is what it is like if your business is not tuned into social and
digital media.

It’s not just about Facebook and Instagram and funny dog videos: Social
and digital media are now irrefutably essential and very powerful business
communication and consultation tools.

Today there are 41
million unique Facebook users in the UK. Half the world’s Internet users are on
Facebook. Almost 22 million people use Twitter in the UK.

As the Government puts
it, we are now in an age of “digital by default”.

But aren’t traditional
consultation methods simpler? What’s wrong with letters, meetings and
exhibitions?

Nothing. But online dialogue
is not ‘instead of’, it is ‘as well as’. It’s just the other side of the same communication
coin.

This new way of
talking, listening and engaging is like discovering you can speak another
language: It opens up entire digital neighbourhoods and communities.

So
how do you set about making sure you’re part of the dialogue?

The
first thing to do is find out who you need to talk to: Sophisticated software
and powerful online analytics tools can be used in conjunction with detailed
postcode-level segmentation data to pinpoint the communities you should be in
conversation with.

Set up a specialised consultation website and
you’ll have your own platform to set
out your case by sharing your information and perspective. It’s a vital way of
encouraging constructive opinions and feedback…Open feedback can be very
revealing.

By joining Twitter,
Facebook etc., you can start online conversations and you’ll have the
opportunity to scotch rumours, identify supporters and address objections.

At some point
you’ll want some hard evidence that all this talking is achieving something. As
well as helping to spot trends, it’s possible to measure the flow of
information and ensure the consultation is on track.

Learning a new
language is often difficult, time consuming and requires lots of practice.
Learning how your company can talk to stakeholders online need not be difficult
or time consuming and - with specialists already helping clients establish
their own consultations online through digital and social media - now is the perfect
time to join the party.

Download our new guide to Consultation Online – How the internet helps win planning approvals

Talk to us today about how you can use digital and social media to access and engage with the growing online communities of stakeholders and residents.

Call Catherine Reid 01962 893 893 or email Catherine.reid@remarkablegroup.co.uk

Blog, engagement