There is now a significant range of tools available for organiations to engage or consult with a specific community. This might be part of a new policy development process, as part of a market research project or part of your ongoing social media evaluation strategy.

The tools range in their interactivity, complexity and cost. Some of the community engagement and consultation tools we have used include:

  • Online Forms (e.g. SurveyMonkey, SurveyGizmo)
  • Email
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • 3rd party tools (e.g. BangTheTable, Delib)
  • Unique link tracking services (e.g. bit.ly)
  • Forums / existing web spaces

Ultimately, the key aim of any community consultation process is to ensure that you collect as many data points from as many people as possible. These data points need to be centralised and turned into a format that allows analysis so that you can answer the question(s) you’re looking to answer. The tool(s) you select should be based on the ways that you can ensure that as many users will provide as much data as possible, alongside factors such as budget, viability and existing processes. An analysis should always be conducted prior to selecting a tool to ensure it is the most appropriate one for that specific situation, rather than tools being selected prior to considering the consultation’s audience.

We often draw up flow diagrams like below to determine the ‘touch points’ for people and how best to encourage them to complete as many data points as possible:

Online Consultation Strategy Flow Diagram

The Dialogue Consulting team has extensive experience planning for, conducting and analysing community consultations on a range of subjects. Whether you’re looking to get some basic information about a target audience or build a regression forumula of a consumer’s decision-making process, we can help you reach your audience, get their thoughts and analyse the results.

We have an online consultation whitepaper available that provides a bit more detail about some of the processes we have used. Download our online consultation whitepaper now.
 
 

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