Going Social in an Election Year
Thursday, 13th June 2013 at 10:49 am
With the Federal Government election less than 100 days away, it is time to think about how it might impact upon your organisation and why it is so important to ‘go social’ in the political lead-up, according to communications strategic advisor Jo Scard.
Scard was one of the keynote speakers at the Not for Profit Agenda Conference held in Sydney on Wednesday.
The conference shared information and best practices for all areas of the Not for Profit sector. It looked at how recent changes to State and federal laws will affect NFPs, new research ideologies, more effective marketing techniques, including the latest in social media marketing, as well as more effective lobbying practices.
Scard said it was important to think about how the election year might impact upon an organisation and emphasised the necessity of “going social” in an election year.
“It’s fast, it’s vital, it will spark engagement, and it’s free,” she said.
“But most importantly, we run the risk of becoming irrelevant if we don’t do it properly.People are using social media to communicate. They want their elected officials to respond to them quickly and instantly.”
She said it was important to “go social” in an election year.
Scard said it wasn’t necessary for an organisation to invest in a new website in order to better communicate on a social level.
“Taking part in the election year conversation can be via a Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Tout, YouTube video, Google Hangout or webinar,” she said.
“All these options are accessible and cheap.”
Scard said organisations must ask themselves, ‘what’s our vision and what do we need to be saying to Government?’
“First up, it is important to remember it is much more than just a plan,” she said.
“Government relations is an important part of your vision. It’s more than just engaging.
“To ensure your long term sustainability government engagement needs to be strategic – and it needs buy-in. It needs to be part of everything you do.We need to think about our operating environment. What is it really like inside the building? And what role do external stakeholders like you play?,” she said.
“We need to pause to think about the challenges – the extraordinary environment and the time pressures.And most importantly – they never want to watch an eight minute video or go through a 24 slide presentation. You’ll have lost them right there, before you even start.”
- First of all sit down and draw up a ‘mud map’
- Where do you want to be in 12, 24 months? In 5 years? What’s the vision.
- Are your objectives realistic and measurable?
- National organisations, Not for Profits and lobby groups will form coalitions around issues that will grow quickly.
- De?ne what you want to achieve and develop strategies and protocols to guide you
- Invest in the sta? and budget to run a program in-line de?ned goals
- Have ?exibility to respond and inform – shape engagement around peoples needs
DIFFERENT APPROACHES TO ENGAGEMENT
- Engagement needs to be relevant, timely and appropriate
- Choices are important and consider your options and timing
- Meetings-Parliamentary hearings and committees, informal gatherings, presentations, forums, events or via social media.
FOLLOW UP AND REVIEW
- Stakeholder engagement is an ongoing process.
- Following up is vital for continuing the relationship.What are the next-steps and how will you make them happen.
- Staying in contact is a positive to develop trust.
- Think about how you can continue to build the relationship and develop future connections.
- It is important to think about what happened and review the engagement.
Scard has played a unique role as a senior adviser in the Australian Federal Government for over a decade. She’s also worked as a communications strategist in London, a TV political journalist (Australia/UK) and as a strategic adviser to countless corporates and Not-For-Profits across the globe.