interacting with stakeholders

#Trending: How Social Media Can Help You Better Understand Your Stakeholders and Their Interests

Ever wish you could know what your stakeholders are thinking? It can be tough to figure out if you don’t have the right tools. Using traditional lines of communication like email or in-person conferences can become logistical nightmares when your organization works with large, diverse groups. Thankfully, social media offers a variety of methods to effectively engage with stakeholders. Here are three ways social media can help you better understand your audience. Hashtags = #InstantInfo People use hashtags to participate in conversations with a larger community. The tags can be based on anything from recent events or popular causes. To see what topics your stakeholders are interested in, try capitalizing on hashtags that are currently trending, and keep an eye out for any hashtags they may use. Hashtags are a great way to reach your current stakeholders and any other individuals who may be participating in the conversation. As always, be sure that you understand the intent of the hashtag before posting. Many organizations have faced public backlash when they incorrectly utilized popular hashtags.

Metrics To realize the full benefit of social media, you have to take the time to measure results. Metrics allow you to understand what kinds of content stakeholders find most interesting, which is invaluable when refining a stakeholder engagement strategy. Luckily, Facebook and Twitter both have built-in tools to track interactions and analyze trends. Utilize these and other resources on a regular basis to determine which efforts resonate with stakeholders and which ones fall flat.

Scalability One of social media’s great strengths is its ability to facilitate interaction between vast audiences. A single statement can be shared among many different groups, providing a potentially massive return on investment. This also means the stakes are higher, and any missteps will be exponentially more costly. Organizations that successfully utilize social media to learn about their stakeholders do so because they take advantage of scale. Responding to comments, posting calls to action, and integrating a variety of platforms are great ways to learn about stakeholders. They also have the added benefit of taking place in a public forum, meaning others can join the conversation.

These are just a few ways social media can help you better understand your stakeholders. What other methods have you come across?


Social Media Toolkit

Do Your Stakeholders “Like” You?

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!


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