Incubating Social Media Communities & Advocates

Creating deep engagement, from the bottom up. 
Incubating Social Media Communities & Advocates

Your monthly progress report on your social media campaigns is due: you cross your fingers that your fan acquisitions have increased with more likes on your Facebook page and more follows on your Twitter site. After all, aren’t these numbers supposed to indicate the level of success of your social media endeavours?

Or so we think. In fact, as we mature and move towards Government Social Media 2.0, we are actually more concerned with the quality of engagements, as the real measure of the success of our social media communications. This means looking beyond acquiring likes, shares and follows, to developing strategies to build advocacy from the online community as a powerful tool of influence, since 90% of online participants trust peer recommendations, compared with 14% who trust advertising.

As such, we’ve refined an Integrated Social Media Engagement framework to help government enterprises establish and sustain public engagement, for tomorrow.

1. Listen
Enterprises should closely monitor online conversations, to decipher pertinent issues and pick out key trends, tonalities and sentiments. In short, take a macro perspective of the online conversation landscape.

2. Profile Stakeholders
No two stakeholders are alike, so to conduct deep engagement, we must recognise their diverse positions and concerns. This means understanding the ASPINE (Actions, Sentiments, Perceptions, Interests, Needs and Expectations) of stakeholders, and leveraging these as key target points of engagement. Using ASPINE as a tool, government agencies might uncover blind spots and anchor constructive points of engagement that relate to stakeholders.

3. Communication Strategy & Roadmap
We need to ask, what are our desired communication outcomes? The answer: Mindshare, Heartshare, & Action. Mindshare refers to creating stakeholder awareness and interest in your engagement; Heartshare, to the buy-in through positive influence and support engendered; and Action, to the acting on your engagement. Use this framework to guide your engagement strategies.

4. Engage-Influence-Advocate
Manage and influence the relationships and experiences of online stakeholders. Don’t go in with a transactional mindset. Rather, execute your engagements in a way that supports conversations on a personal level. This could mean adopting a people-oriented tonality of engagement, addressing each participant in person; or sustaining real two-way conversations.

Do this and you will then develop a credibility that gives people compelling reason to engage you online. Because they will start to see that you’re not merely keen to “market” to them the government, but you’re listening and empathising with them, as real people with real concerns.

So for government agencies thinking of how best to move forward beyond Social Media 1.0, start by putting the “social” back into social media: build relationships through quality conversations and focus on the online experience of your stakeholders.

Norman Ng is an Engagement Strategist, and is the Managing Director of Icon Media Group. He has delivered consultancy and enterprise capability development solutions to Fortune 500 corporations and public enterprises. He adjunct lectures at the Civil Service College on various programmes covering traditional-new media and public communications.

    Sep 18, 2012
    Norman Ng
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