By now, we’ve all heard that online social networking and information-sharing services are the foundational components to any successful stakeholder engagement strategy. As a savvy leader, you asked your team to create a Facebook page, Twitter account, and YouTube Channel. Don’t pat yourself on the back just yet. Unfortunately, too many organizations create platforms and expect interaction with minimal work. Do your stakeholders “like” you – on Facebook? Do they “follow” your organization closely – on Twitter? Do they “watch” and admire what you’re doing – on YouTube?
Monitoring and pushing content through your social media channels is not enough. Meaningful online interactions are the result of an on-going management process that you must practice indefinitely. It is your job to maintain motivation, keep stakeholders informed, and find meaningful ways for them to contribute. So how do you do it?
Search for Existing Conversations Stakeholders are likely already talking about your organization on social media, but it might be behind your back rather than on your account. Some comments will be positive. Some comments will be negative. Social Mention captures the tone of an online conversation to show whether followers positively receive your efforts. Use data mining tools to seek out those conversations, respond to them, and create a permanent relationship.
Map Online Influencers Online organizational reputation and branding is less under your control. Influencers shape thoughts and perceptions of a hyper-connected audience. Those influencers may or may not be affected by you, but they can make or break your social media presence. Awareness of and interaction with these individuals will help you decide how to marshal support, involve promoters, and neutralize potential threats.
Make it Easy to Take Action Social media engagement is not about checking off a box. Maybe you want to identify gaps, or maybe your organization needs to develop a participatory process and establish buy-in. Whatever the reason, you hope stakeholders “like” you enough to take some form of action and improve your program. Don’t make it hard for them to help you. Generate targeted content, get the word out across all your platforms, offer incentives, and cut the red tape.
If enough stakeholders don’t “like” you, your organization may need to conduct a social media assessment. Are your activities aligned with your goals for action? Does your team spend time on the right platforms? For more advice and information on how to answer these questions and craft a compelling strategy, download our social media toolkit!