iConstituent has released a new white paper for State and Local Government Staff looking to improve their communications. It discusses the expectations that constituents are placing on their government in terms of transparency and engagement and how to ensure that those are met. It also shares how new processes developed for the digital age can streamline constituent conversations and allow additional staff time for in-depth discussions that help develop policy.
One of the white paper’s key findings is that as media has evolved into the digital age, citizens are increasingly looking to their government to keep them informed on critical local issues. By ensuring that communications are transparent and informative, governmental organizations have the opportunity to use this communication channel to build trusted connections and engagement with their constituents. Maintaining their position as a trusted source of information is critical in overcoming the misinformation rampant in social media.
Alongside combating misinformation, the government can use communication and engagement to help their citizens in this challenging time. Many people are hurting because of the pandemic, and engagement can help identify which citizens and areas are most impacted. This can help the government focus its efforts in a way that is most effective and impactful. For example, knowing that travel is challenging for low-income families and elderly populations, organizations can develop mobile and pop-up vaccination campaigns to ensure those populations are addressed directly. Similarly, knowing that certain demographics are less likely to trust vaccination information, educational campaigns can be directed to them.
Along with changing expectations, the tools that are used have changed in ways to expedite communication while making it easier for staff to communicate with thousands of constituents at once. One of the newest tools is Smart Text Messaging. Text messaging, coupled with a 200M+ constituent database, allows staff to pinpoint target messaging based on location, demographics, voter sentiment, or other key factors to ensure that engaging, targeted messaging is received by the citizen. With a 93% read rate within 5 minutes of delivery, text messages are a game-changer in terms of speed and engagement. In fact, in one study, SMS surveys had a 1,100% higher response rate than the same survey sent via email.
SMS messages allow individuals to respond to texts from government officials quickly, yet AI tools and automation allow staff to verify constituents and automatically respond with pre-planned scripts so that one office can engage with tens of thousands of constituents at once. This tool can be used in conjunction with social media and traditional outreach to ensure that critical messages are received. The white paper discusses how this blended approach can be best used to ensure effective communication.
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