The importance of staying visible and connected to stakeholders

Choice is now an expectation of our society, and ways of working introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic are now engrained into our everyday practices. As such, it is important to ensure you stay visible and connected with your stakeholders and their audiences. COVID-19 has forever changed the communications landscape and not everyone has or will return to offices to work a five-day week, nine-to-five. As a result, not all stakeholders require or will want to meet and be engaged face-to-face. For this reason, ways of staying visible and connected with stakeholders need to be a top priority. Outlined below are four steps you can take to stay visible and connected with your stakeholders while working from home.

Step One: Audience audit

While your stakeholders may not have changed, their movements and behaviours likely have. Understanding when, where and how your audience is currently consuming content is critical to ensuring your messages are still being heard and are motivating stakeholders to participate. To conduct an audit of your audience, take note of changed behaviours and engagement metrics, such as:

  • Are your company social channels experiencing less traffic at peak commute times?
  • Are you noticing traffic peaks throughout the day as users scroll feeds while waiting for Teams meetings to load?
  • Do your employees now seem to be constantly connected?
  • Is your 5pm newsletter no longer getting opened as workers disconnect for the day and step into their kitchen to cook dinner?
  • Are your pop-up consultation sessions at shopping centres attracting reduced numbers?
  • Have stakeholder priorities changed?

No matter what your business, project or priority, COVID-19 has forever changed how internal and external stakeholders engage with content that requires proactive and on-going review.

Step Two: Revisit business objectives and communication plan

Once you have determined how the behaviours of your target audience and key stakeholders have changed, revisit your business objectives, KPIs and communication plan to see whether they are still relevant and achievable. Adjust your strategy and implementation plan as required to reflect changed audience behaviours and to achieve business objectives.

Step Three: Keep all communication lines open

COVID-19 continues to push people to virtual connection. Traditional ways of communicating such as face-to-face town hall assemblies, pop up stands and door knocking are being supplemented by new technologies and communication channels including:

  • virtual meetings
  • virtual town hall meetings
  • access to live chats
  • QR code questionnaires
  • social media channels.

Enabling stakeholder participation via multiple channels at suitable times, is essential to encourage collaboration and engagement while maximising participation. The adoption of new ways of communicating in addition to traditional ways will be imperative as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be unpredictable and on-going.

Step Four: Go back to basics

While yes, digital channels are important, so too are the hard-to-reach communities that have either disengaged from online activity or haven’t downloaded the latest version of app XYZ. Traditional media and letterbox drops have stood the test of time, proving that no matter your preferred medium for consuming information, news and mail are still a trusted and important service. Try sending stakeholders a fact sheet in the mail about your project or promoting your latest product through editorial story telling in your local newspaper. These methods will quite literally put your message in the hands of stakeholders and can then drive traffic online or be amplified on social media.

Need help taking the first step?

We know that change and adjusting to new ways of communicating can feel overwhelming. Please contact Managing Director Stephanie Paul on 07 3230 5000 or email brisbane@phillipsgroup.com.au to help you take the first step.