What is digital engagement?
Like ‘social business’, digital engagement is a phrase often used quite loosely, sometimes to mean any use of social media by a corporate organisation, right through to more specific definitions around how public sector organisations promote participation in policymaking.
As Tim Lloyd puts it at the start of this video interview, “it’s anything and everything that involves a conversation online”.
It certainly looks like lots of different things:
- individuals using platforms like Twitter or Facebook as part of their professional work
- organisations establishing social media channels on Flickr, YouTube, Twitter or many others to interact with stakeholders and customers
- making contact with third parties who run forums and sites, and establishing two-way partnerships with them
- getting people to give feedback, leave comments or vote/rate things online using simple digital tools
It involves all of the areas below, but isn’t quite covered by any individual element. It’s definitely about customer service (answering questions, handling enquiries, providing answers) but it’s also about internal comms (helping staff adopt new tools for themselves, encouraging professionals to share knowledge with their colleagues and stakeholders). It’s not just a ‘marketing’ thing, for sure: in digital engagement, organisations often have relatively little control over the channels and messages being communicated – and done well, digital engagement isn’t just something run by a corporate Communications team.
If you want to attempt a definition, you might say that digital engagement:
- uses digital tools and techniques
- to find, listen to and mobilise
- a community
- around an issue
That might involve getting them to talk about it, give you their views or take action in pursuit of a cause they care about.
This site tries to illustrate this through examples, and provide some templates and samples of the kind of strategy and process that’s likely to be useful when embedding this way of communicating online in a public sector organisation.
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