A crucial part of the DMLIG project was to engage with the wider community, decision-makers, staff, and visitors alike. Without raising awareness of the aims of the project and gaining wide public support the project would not have been a success, nor continued beyond the funding period, far less create a wide-reaching legacy of DMLIG style projects from Craigavon to America, and Mid Ulster to the Netherlands.
The project used a variety of methods to promote the DMLIG message including, traditional newspaper articles, getting good local and national coverage, with local government ministers mentioning the project in media statements and in parliament. A dedicated website and Facebook page were created to engage with online and social media communities, sharing to posts and articles on partners platforms too. Alongside face to face interaction at DMLIG events and training sessions, other events such as Airwaves airshow and the Salmon & Whiskey Festival.
A celebration event was also held, to promote the successes of the project and thank the volunteers, with Simon King as guest speaker.
The project engagement, understanding and popularity has been monitored in the variety of way:
Public Perception Surveys
Public perception surveys were carried out each year to gage the level of public understanding and engagement with the project and the wider environment. These surveys showed a growing level of project engagement, along with a strong appetite for DMLIG grassland management and other biodiversity projects.
You will find the full results of these surveys in the Economic Appraisal section of the toolkit here.
The website was regularly monitored, producing reports on page views and engagement levels etc. Each year the website has witnessed a steady increase in the total website visitors.
Social Media Analytics
Throughout the project, social media has played a significant role in disseminating the DMLIG story. In particular, our dedicated Facebook page, where our audience has been growing steadily over the life span of the project, with ever-increasing engagement levels, as well as the overall reach of social posts. As of December 2019, there were over 2960 followers.
The growth rate would normally have been expected to stay at a similar level as project awareness grew within the Council area. However, thanks to Fourteen Forty Design the organic reach has grown steadily and by creating a strategically placed advertising campaign, with minimal expenditure, to grow our audience at a faster rate than before. In addition, the most crucial factor in continuing this growth and popularity of the project Facebook page was Donna Rainey, project volunteer, taking over the day to day running of the Facebook page which enabled excellent engagement with the followers and regular up to date posts.
You can see these full reports within the reports section here.