Archive for the ‘Tools & Techniques’ Category

Train from anywhere – IAP2 USA offers NEW online courses!

June 22, 2017 Leave a comment


Summer is here and we are excited about these upcoming courses. We have three new courses just for YOU! You can expect that every one of these courses will give you real, usable tools and techniques apply in REAL WORLD situations. Topics include Participatory Budgeting, Social Media, Evaluation, and Tools & Techniques selection. There is a course to fit every p2 professional no matter your experience level or area of discipline. Read more…

IAP2 Core Values – The Origin Story

June 16, 2017 Leave a comment

2017 (1) Core Values Header

By: Lauren Wirtis
IAP2 USA Intern

Six P2 Practitioners walk into a bar…

There always is more to the story. That’s why I became interested in public participation. As an urban planner, I soon found that there is more to any urban landscape than the underlying zoning, the frequency with which buses are available, the width of the sidewalks, or parks per capita.

“So I’m guessing you heard the story about the group of us in a bar.”
“Yea, that’s what I heard.”
“That’s part of it.”

This was my introduction to IAP2’s Core Values The story everyone knows and the story everyone doesn’t. Today I’ll share both with you. But first, why are we here? This is the first of a four part series on the Core Values. Today’s article will focus on how the Core Values came to be and Core Values one and two. For each piece I’ll be interviewing trainers, practitioners, and Core Values Award judges. For this piece I talked to IAP2 Founders Marty Rozelle and Lewis Michaelson as well as IAP2 Canada Trainer, Lara Tierney

First things first. The story that always gets told and the one that doesn’t. Read more…

Technology Corner by Adriana M. Hemzacek

November 4, 2015 Leave a comment
Adriana Hemzacek

Adriana Hemzacek

Social Media Content Tactics

I just left Simply Measured’s LIFT Social Conference in Seattle. I learned all about data and metrics – most of all – using the right metrics to make decisions regarding your content and reporting. I also learned some best practices in the social media business from keynote sessions, breakout session presenters, and coffee station conversations.

LIFTListAre you always looking for good social media content?

Do you love your followers?

Love how your clients/ customers are using social media?

Do they publish great original content?

If so, then repurpose it! Have someone else do the content creation for you.  Many say that customer-generated content elevates your brand’s reputation.

So, where do you start? How do you get your customers to do this work for you?

  • Your Best Work: Interview a client and write a blog post about it. Or ask them to write it themselves. Prepare a few questions in advance so the advantages of using your product or service will be highlighted. Do it live via Periscope and save the recording to post online.
  • Video Collaborations/Compilations: Work with a client to create a resource that would be useful to all followers? A video piece is the best type of content here. Remember to keep your videos to a 15-second or a 30-second spot. Keep all brand logos at the end of the video. Your audience will most likely catch the first 5-seconds of the video and your logo is not something that will entice them to continue watching.
  • Storybook Spotlight: There are a variety of ways to promote your customers, most notably by social media. Consider doing something more comprehensive like using an aggregator, such as Storify. This tool is free and reads like a book. Best part – it notifies each person involved in your “story” of the Storify. (Hopefully they will RT).
  • Lessons Learned: Write about a customer service experience and what you learned from it.
  • Live Tweet Sessions: Does your customer/client engage in industry-related webinars? If so, register for those webinars, listen to what they say, and (hopefully) the content goes back to your great work. If that is the case – tweet it! Showcase it in the form of a graphic or a quote. Always tell the client that you plan to do this – they will love it!
  • Photo and video galleries: This might be to show off examples of work or products – also great for photos of your happy customers. Consider Facebook albums and Instagram that easily integrate photos. If you want to showcase a video, post the video directly to the Facebook video gallery and not through YouTube or Vimeo. Your video will be seen for a longer period of time if the user does not have to click through to another platform to view. Remember to always ask for permission first, though.
  • LIFTwithTeaTestimonials: This needs to be a key piece of your content strategy. Start a process to regularly solicit testimonials from your customers/clients. Grab onto unsolicited testimonials, such as tweets about your service. Put the testimonials on your website – and everywhere else. Consider using a testimonial to preface your success story or case study. (Video testimonials are the best!)

Technology Corner by Adriana Hemzacek

August 25, 2015 Leave a comment

10 Ways to Get Social Media Content from a Conference


10-Ways-to-Turn-a-Conference-into-Social-Media-ContentFrom Twirp Communications

We all need to engage in professional development from time to time. Being with my social media peers always has a refreshing, invigorating and inspirational effect on me. If you’re going to take time away from your busy work schedule, and financial resources from other business building activities, you need to recoup what you’ve spent in other ways. There is a plethora of ways to turn a conference into great social media content. Here are just some of the ideas I came up with at my most recent professional development opportunity.

1. Write a Top 10 list of things you learned.

Here’s my Top 10 Takeaways from Social Media Marketing World.

2. Do a recap of each session you attended.

I’m still working on this one. I did write one recap of the Instagram expert’s Top Instagram Tips so far.

3. Create a Storify of the best tweets from the event hashtag.

I didn’t do one for #SMMW15, but many others did. Here’s one I like from Hootsuite. I tried to embed it here for you to see, but it takes up too much space. So go have a look, then come back…it’s ok…I’ll wait.

twirpcominstagram4. Create graphic versions of the best quotes from the event and publish on your networks.

I found a great app for my phone called InstaQuote that is super easy to use and makes great quotes, perfectly sized for Instagram. My favourite quote from Social Media Marketing World 2015 on Instagram is to the right.

5. Keep a list of blog ideas on paper during the conference and then write them.

My list from the conference included this blog you’re reading now, the recaps, Ideas for Periscope, and many others I may never get to. I’d rather have too many to choose from than struggle to think of something.

6. Do a complete conference recap with photos of the event, graphics, links to your favourites, and so on.

I didn’t do this at the time and I wish I had…now the memories of what some of the pictures represent are faded.

twirpcominstagram27. Record videos, if you’re allowed, and embed them on your blog and social media. Even better, can you Periscope something from the conference and embed that later. Periscope wasn’t on Android while I was at the conference, so Instagram video was the best I had.

I managed to record two Instagram videos. One from Guy Kawasaki by Twirp Communications, giving a shout out to my friend Adam Purcell, @CaringCounts, and another from CS Penn with a shout out to the Halifax PodCamp founders. For me, it was a great excuse to talk to these two social media celebrities without asking for something for myself.

8. Turn some of these blogs into SlideShares and post on LinkedIn.

This one is coming soon.

9. Write a post about all the new tools and resources you learned about.

I’ve been writing about Instagram and Periscope and some of the tools to work with those.

10. Create one master blog post that lists all of your posts to do with the conference.

AHEM. See what I did there?

Of course, you should also be taking pictures and sharing them on your social networks. Not only is it fun, but your clients like to see that you’re participating in professional development. It builds trust! What other ideas do you have for turning a professional development opportunity into social media content?

Originally posted on the Twirp Communications blog by Anita Hovey.

Technology Corner by Adriana Hemzacek

June 25, 2015 Leave a comment

Budgeting, It’s a Balancing Act

Adriana HemzacekHave a voice in your government. Show your elected officials how you’d balance the budget.

Budgets are, arguably, the most direct way a community expresses what is important. Should the focus be parks and recreation? Public health? Police? Helping the homeless? If the answer is yes to all—how are we going to pay for it?

Balancing Act is a fun and easy way for residents to learn about public budgets and the choices their elected officials face in the budgeting process. It allows participants to try allocating funds— expressing their priorities and preferences — but also requires them to balance spending and revenue.

Balancing Act was designed for those individuals interested in taking an active role in making their community better by sharing their voice. It is an interactive, online budgeting simulator for state and local governments’ residents.
Balancing Act brings people and government officials closer together in an informed conversation about what priorities are in everyone’s best interests. Because it is online it is accessible to anyone at any time and is far more convenient than a traditional public meeting or budget hearing.

Currently, Balancing Act supports municipal budgets. County, school district and state budget models will be added later in 2015. More to come for 2016! Keep an eye out for this one!

Categories: Tools & Techniques

Technology Corner by Adriana Hemzacek

April 20, 2015 Leave a comment

Just Analyze It

Adriana Hemzacek

Adriana Hemzacek

Look no further – Simply Measured provides free social media analytics tools.

  • Learn about your twitter followers, from interests to influence.
  • Measure your Instagram engagement, content, trends and more.
  • How healthy is your Facebook Fan Page? Study trends and timing.
  • In-depth analysis of your Facebook Fan Page visitors’ demographics and activity.
  • Compare your Facebook Fan Page against your competitors’.
  • Analyze the performance of your content on Facebook.
  • Understand your Google+ Page “circlers” engagement and more.
  • Study your LinkedIn Company Page followers and your content performance.
  • Analyze the performance of your Vine clips on Twitter.
  • Find out how social media impacts your website performance.

Learn More >>

Categories: Tools & Techniques

Technology Corner by Adriana Hemzacek

March 26, 2015 Leave a comment
Adriana Hemzacek

Adriana Hemzacek

You might hear someone in your organization, community, or neighborhood talking about Buffering….but, what does that mean?  I use it all the time as a noun and a verb. For example, “I love Buffer”…or….”just Buffer that!” Buffer is an application – free to download and accessible from your pc/tablet/smartphone.

Buffer is a great tool that will help you in two main ways. First, you can write a bunch of posts at one time, and choose which social profiles to send them to, and then Buffer will spread them out throughout the day or week so that you don’t have to be at a computer all the time in order to have a social media presence. Second, Buffer shortens your links. They provide more analytics than if you just were to post to Twitter or Facebook directly. For example, Buffer will tell you exactly how many folks clicked on each of your links.

There are a few simple steps to getting set up. First, connect your social media profiles.  Then, for each profile, hop into the “Schedule” tab to choose the days and times that your posts will go out.  To add a post, click the “what do you want to share” box at the top of the page, and type or paste in your post. Then, once you add it to your Buffer, you will see it under the “buffer” tab for those profiles.

I use it for all four of my twitter handles, LinkedIn, and Facebook accounts! The content is fun, invigorating, creative, motivational, inspiring, and different. Go ahead – try it out! Give your social media profile a lift! Buffer it up!


Categories: Tools & Techniques

Social Media & Technology Corner

January 31, 2015 Leave a comment

As social media users, we seek likes, shares, comments, and retweets as at least a surface indicator of how we’re doing with our Facebook Page/Twitter Account/LinkedIn Profile. We facilitate conversations and encourage interactions, creating opportunities for fans and followers to build connections. The question is – how do we source and leverage great content to boost interactions? Here are few ways:

1. Be Visible with “Weight”
With the launch of Facebook Timeline, engagement is increasingly important for achieving visibility in users’ news and activity feeds. We know that Facebook’s complex algorithm for determining visibility is largely affected by three factors: affinity, weight, and timeliness. Posts that contain videos, photos, and links hold more “weight.” These shareable posts appear in more feeds and incite more interactions, ultimately increasing reach potential. The bottom line is this: the ultimate driver for high visibility and ongoing engagement is compelling, quality content.

2. Monitor and Join Ongoing Conversations
Photos and videos are highly shareable, but real-time conversations provide great opportunities to make you visible. Look at trending topics on Twitter and craft real-time tweets to weigh in. See what topics are gaining steam on your own personal Facebook feed, and determine whether you could offer a meaningful contribution to the conversation. If your followers enjoy your posts, they will engage with and amplify your content.

3. Go Where Your Followers Spend Time
This is the one time where it’s socially acceptable to invite yourself to the party. Seek out the forums and discussion boards where your followers are sharing ideas and links. Look at their conversations on Twitter. Read the blogs they follow and the ones they share on LinkedIn. Glance at their Pinterest boards. Go where your followers spend time and talk about what they talk about. Use your creativity and start conversations about what matters most to them!

Sources: Edelman Digital

Categories: Tools & Techniques

MetroQuest–Innovative Technology

August 18, 2014 Leave a comment


By Adriana Hemzacek

Have you tried MetroQuest?


MetroQuest has been designed around the following formula:


broad engagement + informed input = community support for great plans



What is MetroQuest?

  • A highly-visual engagement tool designed to be fast and fun for participants
  • An online tool that collects meaningful input from a broad demographic
  • A flexible and cost-effective way to engage the community for any planning project
  • A viral tool that is so appealing that most participants learn about it from friends
  • Frequently cited as a best practice by planning and public involvement leaders
  • A tool that can be accessed on the web, smartphones, kiosks or at workshops
  • Used successfully by hundreds of cities and planning agencies across North America



Want to check it out?

MetroQuest is one of the public engagement tools that will be represented during the Tech Fair at the 2014 North American Conference in Winnipeg this fall.



Categories: Tools & Techniques

March Tip of the Month

March 6, 2013 1 comment

The request at a recent community meeting seemed innocuous enough.  Neighbors and others interested in the future of a large park in Austin, Texas, were reviewing design proposals as part of a master planning process.  Abruptly, one longtime resident living very close to the park asked the designers, “Will there be an opportunity for homeowners to have a meeting with the designers?” He insisted on an answer to the question before the meeting could continue.

Perhaps inadvertently, the resident brought up a great topic for the fields of public administration and public participation.  Across the country, governments at all levels—particularly local, county, regional, and even state—take on projects that affect a specific place.  When they do, people who live, work, and/or own property nearest to that place often feel they hold the deepest “stake” (from the term “stakeholder”).

The consequences for that perspective can be significant.  When longtime, nearby residents want a park or other public works project to go in one direction, while newer residents or those who use the park as visitors to the area want something different, how should a public administrator address that?  And in the specific context of public participation, when should a specific group get the opportunity to have a private meeting with decision-makers?  If administrators have to evaluate competing views, what value gets added when one specific group gets additional access to the administrators?

Of course, groups and individuals often get private access to administrators and, especially, elected officials.  They may develop power through campaign contributions or community organizing, and that may enable them to speak directly, and privately, with decision makers.  Public administrators are undoubtedly besieged with requests for their attention via meetings, calls, and emails (or even tweets and Facebook posts!), and it would be impossible to prevent administrators from speaking privately with members of the public.

But as more and more agencies embrace a new paradigm in public involvement, where all of those who may be affected by a governmental decision have an opportunity to have a say in that decision, administrators should consider how to balance public input delivered publicly and public input delivered privately.  When a group requests a private meeting, there may be real benefit to the decision-makers—they may share some ideas in that setting that they wouldn’t share more publicly, for instance, or the meeting might be more convenient for some people to attend.  But public administrators should take great care to enable more than just one requesting group to have that kind of audience.

In some ways, this gets to the heart of one of the challenges for public administrators everywhere—the increasing polarization of views, the tendency to gather and talk with only those with whom you agree while demonizing opponents’ views.  The new era of public engagement in which we find ourselves provides a challenging opportunity to administrators.  Can we convene diverse audiences (diverse not just in terms of ethnicity but viewpoint) to have respectful conversations that involve conflicting ideas?

This is the heart of public participation–creating a safe space for all voices to be heard and for the public to use their voices to find, build, and sustain consensus.  It is much, much easier to sit within a group of people whom you know and with whom you expect to agree most or all of the time than it is to reckon with people who have different perspectives, but on nearly every project public administrators tackle, they must bring those multiple perspectives together.

So, when someone else requests a separate meeting and states directly or implies that they don’t want to be bothered by the opinions of a group of people with whom they vehemently disagree, I would recommend that we indicate some willingness to consider a separate meeting but that we also ask some follow-up questions–either at that time or later.  It’s important to know what someone wants from a separate meeting that they cannot get from the community meeting, what they want to say then that they cannot say now, or what they are hearing now that makes them want to talk again later.

The only way communities will realize their dreams for their future is by convening these challenging conversations–not among the homogeneous groups of the like-minded but among the heterogeneous potpourri of people who all want a say.  Let them have their say–and have it in front of each other, peacefully, respectfully, and with an eye towards consensus.  That is the hard, necessary, and potentially quite rewarding work before us.

 Larry Schooler

President, International Association for Public Participation (IAP2 USA)

Categories: Tools & Techniques