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?