So, now that there is a clear understanding regarding the challenges and barriers to participation involving government organizations and digital transformations, it’s time to shift our focus on implementing a government transformation strategy.
It’s is nerve-wracking when being tasked with improving digital presence, which is ultimately an excellent way to engage with citizens. Keep in mind that the private sector raised their expectations in terms of quality. Therefore, it’s critical that government organizations aim to provide an experience that aligns with the goals of the local government and needs of the public.
Here are a few ways that government leaders can position their agency for success and make the process more manageable:
1. Positioning the Government as a Resource and Thought Leader
People expect their governments to keep their fingers on the pulse of everything local. While sites like Instagram and Facebook assist in accomplishing this goal, it doesn’t really position leadership as an authoritarian or resource. Social media is better suited for the ‘softer side’ of government and critical messages that affect the community-at-large.
The best way to position the government as a resource and thought leader is by strategically crafting messages that can easily be updated or repurposed as needed. Government technology officers can implement a citizen relationship management (CRM) to assist in this effort.
2. Putting Service First
The primary function of the government is to serve its citizens. When implement a complete government transformation strategy, it’s critical to be aware of the government’s primary focus. Consider how John Q. Public might be spending time searching online as it relates to government service. This framework is an excellent way to begin strategizing local government efforts.
3. Leverage the Power of a Website
A website is more than just a business card for local agencies. Instead, it’s a vehicle through which agencies can share information, provide updates, and communicate the ‘brand personality’ of a local government. When you are coming up with ways toward community engagement, consider how citizens find information. Now, this can vary from community to community, so it’s essential that the tone matches the expectation throughout the transformation process. Otherwise, it leaves people wondering what’s really going on.
Email marketing is one such approach that communities can take to leverage the power of their websites. It’s an opportunity to collect names and email addresses of the citizens who care about the world around them the most. And these individuals demand that their governments are going to provide an open channel of communication.
Social media is another avenue that agencies can take to share photos, event updates, and other happenings in and around the town, county, or state. Plus, it showcases the local government as approachable, transparent, and on-trend with current communication channels. When a link back to the government’s website is included, then naturally, more clicks and visits travel to the site.
4. SEO for Government Entities?
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a vehicle in which to engage citizens at the information-seeking level. Often, people are looking for resources through Google, Bing, or Yahoo!. It should be every government entities’ goal that the jurisdiction’s website appears in relevant search results. Imagine a non-related site ranking higher for search results under the query, “where to pay parking tickets in Austin, TX.” It’s a lost opportunity for the government, and it’s frustrating for the citizen.
Using SEO is a way to combat that. As an organization plans out its website content, consider how someone finds information. Using the previous example, government website administrators may discover that hundreds of people are using the same search phrase month after month. Therefore, the parking enforcement webpage may want to place a header that reads, “Where Do I Pay a Parking Ticket I Got in Austin, TX?” Search engines can translate that header to mean the same thing for which the citizen was searching.
The preceding is example is one way in which government entities can transform their own communities. As leaders plan their own strategies, keeping SEO needs on top-of-mind is critical to the success of the transformation initiatives.
5. Power Efforts Using a Citizen Relationship Manager (CRM)
As previously mentioned, a citizen relationship management (CRM) system is the technology to use when you want to be able to get deeper insights into the interactions between your residents, businesses and staff. In short, a CRM like our Rock Solid OneView solution, integrates existing systems into a single place for your team to quickly receive, manage, and resolve issues. Read our post on 8 requirements of a government CRM to see what you should be checking as you consider a CRM for your complex needs.
Not only does a robust CRM, manage every interaction with citizens on mobile, digital, and traditional methods of communication during your transition to improve your agency’s digital presence, but it also provides community leaders with actionable insights regarding how and why their residents are engaging.
Final Thoughts and Considerations on Increasing Digital Presence
Local governments that work with their citizens, not against them, stand to fair well when undergoing a digital transformation of their own. It’s a unique opportunity to pave the way in this new era. Ways that governments can increase their digital presence with a community should take care to:
- Position government leaders and agencies as a viable resource.
- Take a citizen service-minded approach when crafting strategic messages.
- Websites are more than calling cards. They are the central hub of digital transformation efforts.
- Use SEO so that citizens can easily find information and build more trust within their governments.
- Implementing a CMS is the tool to use when trying to manage every aspect of a government digital transformation strategy.