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Ultimate Quick Guide to Online Engagement Software

Ultimate Quick Guide to Online Engagement Software

Many organisations are using online engagement software to maximise their stakeholder and community engagement and are reaping the benefits of all the tools and features they offer.

 

What is online engagement software? 

Online engagement software is bespoke software for stakeholder, employee and community engagement. It normally includes:

  • An engagement website that you can design to suit your brand
  • Ability to create multiple projects and to update these anytime
  • Ability to have public or private projects so you can consult publicly or within a private group
  • Within each project, you can select from various tools to inform and engage such as Document Libraries, Surveys, Ideas Walls and many more
  • A database and reporting system which captures all the information and creates reports based on the data
  • Ability to have a team of administrators working on the site with various permission levels

 

There are various software platforms on the market and each offers a unique set of features and tools. Engagement Hub is the only platform to include these features as part of our standard licenses, a built-in Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM) system as well as the highest number of engagement tools.

 

What are the benefits of online engagement software? 

  • All your data in one place – An engagement platform brings together all your engagement activities in one place. Unlike any other platform, with Engagement Hub you can also import and add data on offline engagement and users so you don’t need multiple excel spreadsheets anymore. Learn more here about how to ditch the spreadsheets
  • Easing administration time and saving resources – online engagement software takes away many of the typical administration tasks – with scheduling, a built-in email system, a full list of all your stakeholders that you can segment and detailed reports that you can download with just one click
  • In-depth reports – Reporting is a major benefit of having online engagement software as it brings you up-to-the-minute reports on how your engagement activity is going, helping you highlight any potential issues/gaps and enabling you to generate a variety of post-consultation reports to help with decision making and evaluation. Unique to Engagement Hub, our text analysis tool helps you turn qualitative data into quantitative data saving valuable time
  • Communication – online engagement software automates processes such as confirming receipt of a survey submission and emailing out updates to projects. You can also build and send emailers out to your whole audience, segments or individuals. Find out more details here.
  • Tools – Rather than having data scattered across multiple software – your online engagement software brings together all the tools you need to inform and engage on your project into one place. Engagement Hub offers 29 tools – the most on the market with 16 information tools (like image & video galleries, FAQs, latest news, document library etc. Click here for a full list) and 13 participation tools (like surveys, polls, interactive maps, ideas walls, events etc. Click here for a full list)
  • Flexibility – Customisation is an important part of online engagement software – enabling you to create an engagement site that suits your brand and organisation, to switch tools on and off as you need them across a project lifetime and to use the tools and features creatively to suit your needs.

 

There are many other benefits of online engagement software. Read our blogs Benefits of an Online Platform for Community Engagement and Feature-rich online community engagement consultation tools for more detailed information.

 

Why you need online engagement software 

As most people move to digital methods for engagement, you could be missing out on conversations, audiences and receiving lower engagement without a central online place to engage. Stakeholder expectations are changing and people are now accustomed to and expect interactive tools and features online. In fact, engagement platforms are at the heart of transforming digital engagement, particularly in the public sector (find out more about this here) and how it can be the most efficient way of engaging your citizens here.

 

There are also major administration costs with managing and updating multiple spreadsheets, compiling data, creating reports and analysing feedback that could be saved with the use of online engagement software.

 

Whether you’re engaging the wider public, members, high-level stakeholders or employees – an online platform will increase your engagement rate, build relationships and save time internally.

 

To find out about more of the hidden costs of not having a platform, click here. and how it can prove beneficial in organisational success.

 

Find out more about why you need an online stakeholder engagement platform and why organisations are embracing Engagement Hub.

 

Can online engagement software address all areas of consultation? 

Consultation can take many forms – wide public consultation, targeted to a group, confidential and post-decision consultation. With the use of private or public projects, targeted segments and private invite-only links, engagement software is flexible enough to work for all forms of consultation. Read our detailed blog to find out more.

 

Does online engagement software foster an engaged community? 

Online engagement cannot replace traditional face-to-face engagement; however, it opens up new audiences who may not typically attend, creates new channels for feedback and can foster online discussions and communities that represent a much more diverse and representative population.

 

Engaging your stakeholders and citizens digitally via a platform creates a secure place for discussions to take place. For example, the Department of Foreign Affairs used their Engagement Hub platform to facilitate high-level minister and stakeholder discussions ahead of the COP26 Climate Summit. The software created a simple and easy way for busy stakeholders to engage with each other across Australia and submit ideas. Without a digital platform, this wouldn’t have been possible.

 

Find out more about fostering an online community here and how to engage your citizens digitally.  

 

What kinds of organisations use online engagement software? 

From Federal Government to Not-for-Profits to Corporate businesses, online engagement software works across all sectors.

 

In particular:

  • Government
  • Planning & Development
  • Health
  • Research
  • Education
  • Not-for-profit
  • Employee & Member Management

 

For detailed information on how engagement platforms can support each industry sector, find out more here.

 

How to choose online engagement software 

It’s hard to know which software provider is right for you. Across the 7 main online engagement tools, there are various differences. It’s important to know what features you are looking forContact us for a full market comparison.

 

Generally, there are several key areas to investigate when selecting an online engagement software provider:

  • Experience of provider
  • Support available
  • Implementation & Training
  • Website Functionality
  • Engagement Tools
  • Communication Tools
  • Security, hosting centre location and country of ownership
  • Accessibility (find out more about this specifically here)
  • Frequency of updates and development
  • Stakeholder Management System
  • Value for money

 

Read our 20 critical questions to ask when selecting an online citizen engagement platform article for detailed questions or our 6 important but often forgotten questions about digital engagement software here.  

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It’s clear that online engagement platforms are transforming what it means to engage and organisations are flocking to find the right solution for them. To find out more about how we compare to other platforms on the market, please contact us for a market comparison.

 

To see Engagement Hub software in action, visit our demo site or book a no-obligation virtual demonstration in our calendar now.  

Read more about how simple it is to manage, the benefits, reporting, security and more.

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