The internet and social media are changing the way we communicate at every level, both personally and professionally: 58m individuals in the UK use the internet regularly and this is increasing by 1.5m people each year. Local authorities are among those significantly increasing internet usage, with all planning authorities now required to publish planning documents online. Unsurprisingly, the internet is increasingly being used as the main means of discussing local issues – including planning applications.
Online communication reaches new audiences – particularly the young and the time-poor and those who for other reasons are unable to engage via traditional methods.
An increasing selection of new online communication channels is now available; perhaps most significantly, communication via mobile-ready websites and apps. 83% of the UK’s internet users access the internet using a mobile network or WiFi hotspot.
Online communication is a medium in which people choose to communicate. By targeting residents via their preferred means of communication, you are more likely to gain their support.
The internet is a powerful way to communicate a message: each message posted online reaches an average of 140 people. Consulting via traditional means alone frequently fails to reach most local residents. 12% planning applications fail to get planning consent because of issues related to consultation but methods used by ConsultOnline have attracted significant praise from local authorities and significantly increase the likelihood of gaining planning consent.
Online communication is fast and responsive – enabling us to become aware of, to understand, and to correct any misconceptions immediately.
Online communication is easy to monitor and evaluate – comprehensive usage statistics are available on an ongoing basis, enabling us to both report on a regular basis and adapt the product as necessary during the consultation process.