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The importance of digital campaigning to a successful consultation

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Just over a year ago, Remarkable Group partnered with YouGov to produce a comprehensive report which focused on Councillors’ views on social media and the planning consultation process. The results were both striking and wholly unsurprising.

  • 75% of councillors said social media is an important or very important tool
  • 54% said social media carried ‘a great deal’ or ‘quite a lot’ of weight in the consultation process currently
  • 34% believe that public responses gathered via social media should be included as part of a Statement of Council Involvement (SCI)
  • 60% believe developers should be engaging with local communities through social media
  • 74% believe social media would add value when reviewing planning applications
  • 60% believe social media will increase in importance as a public engagement tool

What these statistics make clear is that as far as Councillors are concerned, digital tools should not only be forming an integral part of developers’ communications efforts in the future, but should also be used in an impactful way right now.

This is interesting, because from my experience, the uptake amongst developers for introducing digital elements into their public affairs strategies is remarkably low. Not only this, but when developers do decide to ‘go digital’, their campaigns tend to be poorly thought out and executed.

This is problematic for two reasons. Firstly, as we have seen, failing to invest in a well thought out digital strategy flies in the face of what 75% of local councillors want to see.  Secondly – and most importantly – there are a plethora of ways in which digital tools can not only please local influencers, but also help developers to build support for their proposals.

Why? Because as the digital and analogue worlds continue to merge and intertwine at an astonishing pace, people are spending more and more of their time online. Consider the following (also taken from Remarkable Group’s report with YouGov):

  • A third of millennials say social media is one of their preferred channels for communicating with businesses
  • Four out of ten adults get their news from online sources
  • 52% of adults now use two or more social media sites

These facts demonstrate what communications professionals have been saying for some time, but what so many businesses continue to ignore. Audiences are migrating online and they’re waiting for you to try and reach them.

At Remarkable Group, we understand the importance of integrating digital campaigning techniques into a public affairs strategy and have a proven track record of providing clients with positive results. Here’s just one example: we devised a digital campaign for a small development of less than 50 homes for a national housebuilding company. The results? 10 expressions of interest to buy, 33,200 impressions recorded, 190 clicks on links in posts and overall more positive responses than from offline only channels.

It’s clear that ‘Going Digital’ can reap great rewards. Developers – isn’t it about time you gave it a go?

For more information about Remarkable Group and YouGov’s report on Social Media and the Planning Consultation Process, please contact Alex Burchill at alex.burchill@remarkablegroup.co.uk or drop him a line on LinkedIn. 

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