stakeholder engagement

#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

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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