Social media engagement should be at the top of every organisations’ Christmas list this year, and our Engagement Santas have had repeated requests for Tweets, Vimeos, Snapchats and Pinterests to name but a few.
Often when we look at traditional engagement methods, we tend to face the same people and speak with the same organisations time and time again. However social media engagement is helping to enable organisations to interact in a new way with a range of people whose voices and opinions we may not otherwise hear. With Generation Now, social media is quickly becoming an efficient alternative to interact with those who make up a large part of society, but whose views we hear little of: young people, working adults, the socially isolated, for example, who may have a presence on social media, or enjoy the virtual freedom of expression that it allows.
It is estimated that by 2025, 66 per cent of the world’s population will be connected to the internet, so as social media evolves and grows in popularity, there is now an expectation for organisations to have a digital footprint. How many of us do not even think twice about looking up an organisation/news/weather online? But that’s tip of the iceberg, really. If we are aware of these trends, we should be well aware of the opportunities it presents too.
Having advised numerous clinical commissioning groups on special projects and service reconfigurations, a top tip that I find really helps with any social media engagement activity is the creation of a digital stakeholder map. This will help you to identify which social media platforms your stakeholders use so you can ensure your social media efforts are focused on, or complement the appropriate platforms. Take Twitter for example: its transparency allows you to get involved in and identify influential accounts that could support your own engagement activities.
Having said all this, there is always going to be need for traditional engagement methods, and it can never replace face-to-face engagement. But in order for engagement to be more representative and effective, we all need to understand and play our part in social media engagement. That is the future.
So are you ready to take engagement to the next level?