EuroPCom, the European Conference on Public Communication, is the meeting point for communication managers and senior experts from local, regional, national and European authorities. The seventh edition of European Conference on Public Communication – EuroPCom 2016 focused on many interesting topics. With a theme ‘Reflecting on Europe’ the sessions concentrated on empowerment of citizens, open data, effective campaigning, online transparency, and communication of European project. Key note lectures, workshops and ideas labs brought many other pressing issues into the spotlight, such as lessons learned from communicating TTIP locally, or communicators’ roles in boosting investments.
Europolitan Trends once again took part in the conference. This year, however, Europolitan Trends organized one of the ideas lab sessions on Communicating EU Policies and Projects Through Innovative Social Media Channels. This session went beyond the ‘EU policies and projects’ niche, and it touched upon ideas that would be the future of effective (online) communication for public institutions and organizations. Boro Milovic from the Europolitan Trends spoke at the closing session of EuroPCom 2016 and shared the conclusions and recommendations of the ideas lab.
The impact of digital communication and engagement with citizens is widely known – many institutions, governments and organizations are already exploiting this potential. Unfortunately, this way of communicating policies and institutional developments often becomes standardized without creating desired and meaningful engagement with citizens. Europolitan Trends strongly suggests that innovative ways of reaching out to people give effective and efficient results in communicating policies and projects and engaging with citizens.
Through sharing local stories and experiences from cities and regions across Europe, Europolitan Trends has built a popular communication tool. In a creative way Europolitan Trends communicates the values of the EU integration particularly focusing on EU cross-border regions, EU-funded projects, regional development, urban issues, future of cities, and views of officials/stakeholders and their visions of Europe.
Europolitan Trends believes that the potential of new methods – storytelling, smart use of social media channels, engagement of influencers and digital ambassadors, communicating Europe locally, content collaborations, and creation of digital communities – makes a difference and smashes the usual wall between the institutional communication practices and new approaches to online social engagement.
In short, we recommend the following strategies for better engagement with the public:
- Use creative ways of communicating the values of EU/public policies/projects etc. Focus on storytelling. Use real-life examples, rather than dry and boring content. Use the power of external ambassadors, who can add value to the existing institutional channels and reach out to new groups of people.
- Use innovative channels and innovate in the use of existing ones. Facebook and Twitter are already heavily used and thus, you need to differentiate in order to become noticed. Focus on brining fresh, new perspectives in different ways. Go live on Facebook. Go live on Periscope and connect it with your Twitter account. Do not forget to add a visual content – visual content has a higher response rate. Reach out to new groups of people – Instagram is, for example, a super-popular, visual, mobile and relatively unexplored social network among institutions and organizations. Europolitan Trends serves as an example that stories from the EU, cities and regions, as well as other related topics, can be communicated in a SAPI (simple, appealing, personal and innovative) way.
- Engage with your audience. Invite your audience to contribute with their own content and share it on your institutional accounts. Use the power of online and offline communities. Create new online communities to reach out to those interested in specific subjects or interact with the existing groups and try to engage with them.
In order to better visualize some of the ideas that were discussed at the Europolitan Trends policy lab, we shared the drawings made by Drawnalism during the sessions.
More details about the conference – Committee of the Regions website.