Social media engagement characteristics
Cost Scale: up to £3000/month for detailed capture and analysis.
Time Scale: 0-1 month to implement. For lengthier activities such as research or community building, the time taken to develop the programs will depend on the expertise available to the policy maker and the nature of the program.
Social media engagement differs from social media monitoring in the nature of the interaction with participants. Whilst social media monitoring gathers information from users, social media engagement is characterised by an online dialogue between policy makers and participants, allowing policy makers to get a deeper understanding of their views.
The dialogue of social media engagement allows users and policy makers to discuss the issue at hand. Users can indicate which elements of an discussion are of most interest to them, either explicitly through mechanisms such as voting or implicitly through the overall level of engagement with each element.
Whilst social media engagement and monitoring are similar in respect to reach, the reach of social media engagement is more variable. Some social media engagement are in more closed environments, meaning they have less reach. This may be the case for sensitive topics, where participants contributions may be confidential and more moderation is required.
More involved forms of social media analysis allow policy makers to create online communities, where policy makers and public can engage in dialogue remotely. The remote nature of social media influences the nature of the engagement, and participants are able to engage with the process at different points in time and to different extents.