Strategising digital engagement

Do you need a digital engagement strategy to get it right? Perhaps you don’t, but it can’t not help, surely.

Start with a vision. What do we want to achieve? Where do we want to end up? Pick an arbitrary date in the future – say 2015 – and imagine how you’d like things to be done then. What steps to get there?

One way I’d look at it would be that with budgets under lots of pressure, a digital by default (or design) approach has a load of advantages for organisations. You won’t reach everyone online, but you will get to plenty of people in a cost effective way.

Next, think organisationally. We want everyone we work with to get the benefit of this new digital way of working! How can we achieve that? It might be by having digital enthusiasts in each department talking regularly to their colleagues about how putting information and opening up services online can help improve things and make them more efficient.

Think about how having lots of people on Twitter and Facebook might affect the organisation. What training might they need? How can we know about all the profiles and pages that have been set up? How can you support people to keep up the momentum, or to help them make the right response to a question? How to help them not cock something up and get the organisation into hot water – or how to get them out of trouble if they do?

Consider breaking down activity into different types, such as having business-as-usual digital activity (ie ongoing), digital campaigns (ie time limited) and the difference between communicating, engaging and collaborating.

Now, write this stuff up on a sheet of paper. It shouldn’t take more than a side of A4. Show it to your boss, their boss, the chief exec. Get the most senior person you can to endorse it.

Start doing stuff yourself. Play with some tools. Find which ones work for you in your role, and for your team and service area. Monitor responses, successful interactions, not so successful interactions. Get your colleagues involved, ask them to cover for you when you’re on holiday, or off sick. Then encourage them to do their own thing once they realise it’s really not that bad. It’s actually fun!

Next, identify the willing. Find those digital enthusiasts, show them your bit of paper and the signature on it. Get them to show it to their bosses, and their bosses. Do talks at team meetings about it. Show people what you’ve been doing and how it worked. Tell them what went wrong and how you fixed it.

Get your digital enthusiasts to meet up every so often to share experience and stories. Maybe have an online community of practice so you can keep discussions going, even when you’re not in the same room. Encourage them, support them, cajole them, replace them when they leave.

Show other teams your community of practice. Show them how they could have one too, to share their learning, experience and problems with one another.

Revisit your strategy. Are you closer to achieving those goals? Is the organisation becoming more digital? Is the use of online tools for communication, engagement and service delivery becoming embedded in lots of people’s working lives?

What needs to change? What could be improved? Change it. Improve it.

Make it happen.

Need help getting the skills and knowledge to make this stuff a reality? Check out our online Successful Digital Engagement course now!.

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