Best practices for virtual engagement and online outreach

Making valuable interactions is key to continuing to engage your clients, customers, staff and communities during COVID-19. During a recent webinar, C2 Strategic Communications strategists shared their best practices for virtual engagement and their favorite tools for continuing important internal and external outreach.

“Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should,” said C2 Strategic’s Andrea Brady. “Set yourself up for success by making sure your outreach is necessary and helpful.”

Best practices for virtual engagement included:

1. Create your team. One person can’t do it all! For a virtual meeting or conference, make sure you have a host and a technical moderator to make sure meetings run smoothly and you have backups.

2. Plan and practice. Well-executed meetings require a lot of planning and virtual meetings require even more. Do a dry-run to iron out the kinks in your presentation.

3. Define what success looks like. Make sure that you know the metrics, the number of attendees and input gathering needed to make your meeting or outreach items worthwhile.

4. Pick the right platforms. There’s no shortage of video conference tools and survey platforms available. Do your research to make sure you have the capabilities and flexibility you need.

5. Expand your reach. Not everyone is tech-savvy or has ample access to the internet. Look at where you can work with partners, community leaders and more to be sure your message reaches all your target audiences.

6. Look professional. Good lighting, sound and backgrounds can make or break any virtual meeting. Check out a recent Building Kentucky article on styling your setup.

7. Gather better feedback. Write and organize your survey questions or input options to be accessible and easy to use. Offer options for open-ended and limited choice questions so that different types of useable feedback can be collected. Keep your key data needs in mind to get the most insight in the fewest amount of questions.

8. Take advantage of being virtual. Online tools mean you may be able to secure a high-profile speaker for your conference, grab more attendees to your meeting because they can pop in from home, or catch your presentation later via a recording.

C2 Strategic works with multiple public, private and non-profit clients to stay on top of their virtual communications needs. This includes hosting stakeholder meetings online, training leaders through webinars, conducting research using survey tools, filming commercials by video conference platforms, and conducting conferences virtually.

Brady gave examples of how Kentucky Transportation CabinetRepublic BankKentuckians for Better Transportation and Kentucky Association of Health Care Facilities used the best practices outlined in the past six months.

— Rachel Nix

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