Tech tricks that will increase community dialogue


October, 2016

The Castlemain team loves adopting the latest tools and tricks from mainstream marketing to build stronger Indigenous communities.

It might sound like a contradiction, but it brings communities together. And we’re not the only ones doing it: just take a look at the communities using new apps to keep their language alive, or the experts using the latest mapping software to retain and protect traditional knowledge.

Try pairing these 5 tips with a clear and consistent strategy to give your community engagement a boost!

1. Contact info is key.

Our online world is full of endless distractions. If you want people’s attention you’re going to have to work for it! Mainstream marketing is doing this by collecting your contact details and targeting you directly by email, phone, text and through adverts online in places where the know you spend time. They learn a little every time they do it and call it ‘big data’. You can do the same! Start by collecting a list of member and partner contact info. Every time you send out information, keep a log of what works and learn from it for next time.

2. Think carefully about how to use Facebook.

Did you know that you can create a custom list of your members on Facebook from phone numbers and email addresses? And with that, you can create adverts that only your members will see? It’s called ‘Custom Audiences’ and works really well – in one recent survey we ran about 25% of responses came from this. It’s just one of the clever little things you can do using tools like Facebook.

3. Give your leaders a voice.

Tools that send out mass phone messages or emails mean that your leadership can contact members directly more easily than ever before. It’s something people really appreciate. We heard a touching story recently about a grandmother who saved a voicemail from her community’s Chief and played it to her grandchildren to explain important decisions for their community.

4. Keep it simple.

It is likely that some of your citizens have a slow internet connection and/or that they look at information on their phones. That means that for them to engage with you, information must work on a slow connection and a small screen as 51% of users now use mobile devices. If you build a website make sure it uses simple code and is on a good server so that it loads quickly. If you are putting information about a community event online, make it bold and easy to read.

5. Lastly… don’t think that tech replaces everything!

Tech tips and tricks are great for reaching many parts of a community – especially those living away from the reserve community. But don’t forget that not everyone is online. And not everyone that’s online is paying attention. And if you don’t have someone’s email address or phone number they can miss information. Remember to keep using the things that you know work well in your community – such as mailings, door-to-door visits or community meetings.

“Engaging Indigenous communities is unique. Learn how to use tech tricks from the marketing world and apply them in a way that works for you.”

What did we miss?

These are just a few examples of how tech tricks can help boost engagement in your community. Do you have other ideas to share or questions? Get in touch with the Castlemain team on 1-877-475-0754, email or leave a comment below. You can also see some examples of how this has worked for other communities by looking at our case studies.

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