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Going Viral: Boosting Stakeholder Engagement via Social Media Responses

My colleague Lauren Lane recently wrote an article on how to manage and cultivate meaningful online relationships with stakeholders. The steps she outlines lay the foundation of how to build a stakeholder engagement strategy that will resonate with and retain 21st century audiences. Once your organization identifies its target audience, assesses current social media activities and refines its digital strategy, it needs to decide how to package content in a way that invites stakeholders to not only read, but to comment, share, and come back for more. How do you avoid crickets on social media? Well, here are 5 ways to distribute content through social media channels that guarantee more active stakeholder responses:

Ask Questions Questions are natural calls to action and produce higher levels of response than simple statements. While a carefully crafted line may resonate or conflict with your stakeholders’ opinions, they’ll often see it and leave it alone after reading. Questions allow followers to contribute their point of view to the conversation, interact with likeminded peers, and could even lend new insights to how your organization is perceived by the public. Try bookending your next blog post or white paper with a question so that your audience has something to react to.

Prioritize Multimedia Content Response rates also increase when you pair thought leadership with visual content. Social Media Engagement is becoming more dynamic and visually interesting through infographics and tools that support interactive client-side behavior. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn allow your organization to post images and video, so take advantage of this opportunity to show off your group’s personality and charisma. In an environment where audience attention spans are shortening, mediums like webinars and podcasts can also help cut through the noise. If you’re linking your social media posts back to your organization’s website, try embedding your site with high-level programming languages like JavaScript or Ruby to animate infographics and reports.

Follow Friends and Influencers Add your followers to your network, strike up conversations with them, and be proactive in liking or sharing their posts. Social Media is a two-way street, so your brand can cultivate a loyal, energized readership by reading and commenting on their ideas. By responding quickly to your followers’ questions or posts, you show that you value the audience’s time, input and satisfaction.

Be Consistent Posting content regularly helps your website’s chances of getting page views and rewards your ranking on search engines since you’re tapping into a wider breadth of keyword phrases. Sticking to a consistent blogging schedule also lends credibility to your organization as an expert on key industry issues. Inconsistent publishing may imply to your stakeholders that your organization is unreliable or timid in other areas of its mission.

Reward, don’t Spam Resist the urge to self-promote honors or accolades on social media. Stakeholders want to stay informed and participate in your organization’s mission, so offer them complimentary giveaways, insider information, or opportunities to interact with your organization’s leadership. Doing so will boost brand exposure, edify stakeholder loyalty, and guarantee that you’re not picked up by @Humblebrag.

How has your organization improved response rates to Social Media? Which of these practices are most important to a successful Stakeholder Involvement Strategy?

Interested in more tips and best practices for social media? Check out Corner Alliance Social Media for Government Toolkit!

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6 Key Elements of Successful Cross-Agency Collaboration

Many problems in government are best solved collaboratively working across multiple agencies. Unfortunately this can be a frustrating and unproductive experience for many government leaders. Sometimes your partners aren’t as interested in the goals as you are. In other cases they don’t want to give up the territory by sharing efforts and then there’s the simple fact that many of the people you are working with are just plain busy and distracted. If your mission depends on working collaboratively across agencies there are at least 6 things you can do to improve your chances of success:

  1. Think about your strategic planning process as a recruiting process. Your chances of getting full support and participation increase greatly when you involve your partners in the development of your strategy. Interview and/or survey them on what their priorities are. If at all possible, pull them into your prioritization process. If they have input on what initiatives or projects get prioritized, they are more likely to contribute resources and provide support for them. Everyone likes a deal they were a part of making.
  2. Make your partners’ customers, your allies. Knowing your partners’ customer is one of the best ways to get their attention. If you are able to access information on the needs, requirements, and motivations of that customer and relate it to your effort, you are well on your way to building a successful partnership.
  3. Brand your effort. Giving your effort a brand helps to build support. A branded project feels more significant and helps to tell a story about why what you are doing matters. It gives something for people to rally around.
  4. Communicate your progress. Many cross-agency projects fail because the participants don’t have a clear sense that progress is being made. As the lynchpin of a collaborative project, you need to continuously tell the story and show forward movement. You need to find interesting ways to communicate that information like infographics, blogs, and/or video to engage your partners.
  5. Make quick wins an explicit part of your planning process. I’ve seen many government leaders come out of a strategy session raring to go. They have an ambitious agenda, but once the reality of their day-to-day demands reemerges, the new initiatives can feel overwhelming. Inevitably the overall project peters out soon after this. It is crucial to first pick off some low hanging fruit to show what you can implement. Success breeds success. Find initiatives that require little effort to declare victory and that have the potential to build follow on activities.
  6. Resource the strategy. If you take one thing from this whole blog it should be this point. Most strategies fail because they aren’t resourced. Leaders go into a room and come up with a bunch of great ideas and then assign them to team members as add-ons. If you want something done, you have to have someone who focuses on it. That means hiring new people, contractors, or ending other projects to shift resources. It won’t happen magically. You need to talk with your partners and your organization at the beginning about how you are going to resource any outcomes.

Now it’s your turn. What do you think the key elements of cross-agency projects are?