With such a diverse range of organisations and projects utilising EngagementHQ, we tend to see a lot different ways of setting up EHQ sites and running online consultations.
In this article, we look beyond the differences and instead focus on 5 best practice tips and tricks to help you improve your website.
5 Best Ways To Improve Your Website
1. Showcase your history of engagement
If you’re just setting up your new EHQ site or you’ve had one for a while, we highly recommend that you showcase all of your past projects.
Providing a link to all of your past projects helps to build trust with your community, forces you to close-off (archive) and update old projects with outcomes, and generally helps to establish your organisation as one which values transparency and evidence of engagement outcomes.
The simplest way to do this is to link to the All Projects page via the navigation menu of your site.
To learn how to do this read through our help resource – Use the All Projects Page to showcase your project history .
2. Promote all components of your project
Promotion is the most important ingredient in driving engagement with your online consultation. We highly recommend promoting all of the components of your consultation and not just the consultation as a whole.
This means advertising your key dates and events such as pop-ups, community workshops and drop-ins; updating followers on the progress of your activities using the newsfeed tool; asking people to RSVP for meetings and workshops using an EHQ survey; as well as letting your community know where they can collect hard copy versions of your consultation.
3. Make use of pinned surveys
If you are running a project and the only tool you are using is a survey, we highly recommend you pin the survey to your project page.
This will allow your community to fill in the survey directly from your project page without having to click away from your project information.
Learn how to Pin your surveys.
4. Use the Q&A Tool when formal engagement closes
Even after your engagement closes, you should still allow your community to get in-touch.
Using the Q&A tool after your formal engagement closes allows your community to seek clarifications, ask you questions and creates a more open environment for visitors to your project who might have missed the opportunity to engage.
This tool also allows you to dispel any mis-information which might arise from your consultation activities and helps you stay on the pulse of community sentiment throughout your decision-making stages.
As a mixed environment tool that allows you to answer directly to the question asker in a private setting or via the EHQ project page publicly, the Q&A tool is perfect for this stage of your consultation.
If you don’t feel comfortable using this tool, we highly recommend ensuring you have a Who’s Listening widget enabled with relevant contact details or a way for your community to get in-touch.
Learn how to Add the Q&A tool.
5. Remove social widgets which don’t add value
While social media will invariably be an important part of your projects communications strategy, you should think carefully before you decide to integrate social media into your online consultation space.
Just because Facebook and Twitter are easily embedded into your EHQ site, doesn’t mean you should and you should always ask yourself “does this add value to the objectives of my consultation?”
Social media can be distracting, drawing attention away from what you really need your community to do when they visit your project page.
It also has the disadvantage of accidentally drawing people into conversations outside of the official feedback channels you have setup.
Our advice… Use social media for strategic communications, including awareness campaigns and competitions but use it mainly to drive engagement back to your EHQ project page.
This will ensure that your community will be focused on how you want them to be involved and providing you with valuable feedback for your projects.