Facebook isn’t just for looking up your high school friends anymore. The social network can be a powerful ally in your strategic planning initiatives. Eliciting input from stakeholders is a fundamental component of the strategic planning process and organizations have traditionally sought out this input through public meetings, surveys and one-on-one conversations with key individuals. While these methods continue to be successful, the role of social media in the strategic planning process is an option that few organizations have tapped. Let’s look at 3 reasons why you should go social.
1. Expand Your Network
Targeting a new group of stakeholders has many benefits, but mainly it allows organizations to seek out opinions from those previously left out. Many digital savvy individuals fall into the Gen X and Gen Y categories, two groups that rarely make the radar of traditional engagement methods. Ideas or issues may emerge that the organization wasn’t aware of, which could change the direction of their strategic planning initiatives. In addition, these digitally savvy users can share the page with their networks, increasing your reach free of charge.
2. Snowball Responses
Bringing the discussion online means that organizations can post targeted questions to followers to drive discussion. One response may spark an idea in another user, and so the conversation can build off of that. If a topic does catch fire, organizations can very quickly identify any trends that emerge from the responses. Furthermore, organizations seeking feedback have the ability to respond to the postings or ask probing questions. If there is a specific issue or interesting point that they wish to follow up on, they could respond to the poster directly, or to offer to take the conversation offline if necessary.
3. Personalize the Interaction
This may seem counterintuitive when being compared to a public meeting, but this real time, dynamic discourse is easier for some stakeholders to identify with. The return is immediate as opposed to feeding their answers into an anonymous survey that may or may not yield any sort of response. It also means that users have a vested interest in keeping up with the conversation since they have the ability to view comments on their post. This real time forum makes it easier to drive a sense of community that builds stronger engagement going forward.
The Take Away
Using social media to complement your traditional methods of seeking input can have powerful results. By moving the conversation online to sites like Facebook, organizations have the ability to reap the benefits that traditional methods fail to capture. If your strategic plan is up for renewal, take a moment to think outside the survey check box, the results will surprise you.
- Expanding your social network will allow you to solicit information from additional groups of stakeholders that may not have otherwise been consulted.
- Being able to view previous answers to specific questions can help build on future responses, making it easy to identify trends and respond directly to posters.
- Creating an online environment with ongoing dialogue fosters engagement amongst users that will translate back into the offline community.
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