How to Improve Stakeholder Engagement with Digital Tools

January 29, 2019

Your stakeholders are a critical part of your business. Whether there is a legislative issue your organization cares about or a brand message you want to share widely, your stakeholders have the interest and influence to make an impact on your bottom line. Given the impact of stakeholders on an organization’s ability to move the needle on issues you care about, public affairs professionals are always looking for ways to improve and modernize their stakeholder engagement work.

So, how can your organization improve its approach to stakeholder engagement? Digital tools.

With a digital stakeholder engagement tool like Quorum, you can improve a number of aspects of stakeholder engagement:

Identify Your Champions

While you likely have an existing list of your organization’s stakeholders, it is worthwhile to continue to research potential stakeholders and champions of your issue or organization. A digital tool with social media monitoring can help identify new champions. For example, there may be a member of Congress who your office hasn’t met with before, but mentions your issue frequently on Twitter and Facebook. With a tool that includes social media monitoring, you’ll never miss a mention of issues your organization cares about and can identify new champions (or detractors) on your issue.

Map Stakeholders by Interest and Influence

Stakeholder mapping is a critical step in your stakeholder engagement strategy so that you can identify and track your most important stakeholders. With a digital tool, you can identify an individual’s level of interest in a given issue using tools like social media monitoring. Or, you could map interest based on the frequency that a stakeholder has attended your organization’s events or responded to email communications. Then, use tags on a stakeholder profile to track the level of influence your team believes a particular stakeholder has.

With Quorum, users can then build a spreadsheet with columns of influence and interest, and map these onto a graph showing where stakeholders land—high interest and influence, high interest and low influence, low interest and high influence, or low interest and influence.

Survey Your Stakeholders

Your stakeholders have valuable information that can help your organization move your issue forward, and surveying them can help uncover that knowledge. For example, by surveying stakeholders, you can find which stakeholders have personal relationships with particular legislators and use that knowledge to build new legislative champions. You can also use the survey opportunity to learn a stakeholder’s desired level of engagement with your organization, like their willingness to participate in a fly-in.

Log Meetings with Stakeholders

Is your team concerned with maintaining institutional knowledge? Getting new employees up to speed with your team’s relationships? Logging meetings with stakeholders in a digital database is an effective way to improve stakeholder engagement as it provides a searchable resource so that any member of your team can be up-to-speed on conversations with each stakeholder. A best practice—set a standard for how your team will organize the content of meeting notes so that its easy to quickly find the information you’re looking for within each logged meeting.Logging meetings with stakeholders also helps measure the impact of your stakeholder engagement work. Did the stakeholders you met with most frequently become more invested in your issue? Were meetings with a particular member of your team especially effective at moving the needle? All of this data is easily accessible with a digital database of logged meetings.

Communicate Your Message to Stakeholders

A best practice to communicate your message to stakeholders is to plan out a policy reputation calendar for the year, with each month having a theme that you want to communicate to stakeholders. For example, November may focus on a theme of how your organization aids veterans, coinciding with Veteran’s Day.

To do this effectively, use a digital system that allows you to tag stakeholders by their interests, so you can make sure each stakeholder only receives the messages that are most relevant to them. This will keep stakeholders most engaged rather than being overwhelmed by too many messages.

Measure Success of Stakeholder Engagement

Measuring your stakeholder engagement efforts helps identify what strategies move the needle on your issues. What activities are best at pushing stakeholders from detractors to allies, or allies to champions? With this knowledge, your organization can adjust the allocation of time, money, and resources to better focus on the parts of your stakeholder engagement strategy that drive results.

To effectively measure your stakeholder engagement work, map each stakeholder to a numbered tier based on their current level of interest and influence in the issues your organization cares about. Then, track your engagements with those stakeholders, and move them to a new tier of interest or influence as necessary. At the end of the year, evaluate the factors in your stakeholder engagement strategy that were most effective at moving stakeholders to a new tier.

To see how Quorum can improve your organization’s stakeholder engagement work, request a demo.

Public affairs professionals should have modern software built for them. Request a demo today to learn why.