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Latest News/Resources:
4 Steps to Strengthen Your Online Community Engagement Plan

Community Engagement for the Public Sector
National Public Sector Forum

Supporting policy delivery with effective community
and stakeholder relations

8 - 9 November 2012, Rydges Melbourne

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$995 plus gst discounted rates for education & training providers, Indigenous community groups, Indigenous corporations & NGOs, land councils & local government - save $500

Every public service organisation in Australia shares a common aim; the successful delivery of effective policy and major projects. To do this, effective stakeholder relations are vital throughout the process of policy design, implementation and evaluation. You need to build a clear communication and engagement strategy, covering every individual and group with an interest in your policy or project.

Whilst effective management of stakeholder relations is vital, it’s also fraught with challenges. Organisational decision-makers may welcome stakeholder input and research, or choose to ignore it. Either way, you must still communicate effectively with your key stakeholders; giving clear policy information, responding to criticism and controversy, and building strong ongoing relationships.

A strong stakeholder relations strategy has the potential to make an unpopular project or policy accepted by both key stakeholders and the wider public.



Hear case studies from:

City of Melbourne
Gippsland Water
Department of Immigration and Citizenship
Yarra Valley Water
City of Boroondara
Department of Sustainability and Environment (VIC)
Melbourne Water
Sustainability Victoria
Jennifer Stone Consulting

Supported by:

2012 ALGA National Excellence Award
2012 ALGA National "Strength in Diversity" Award
2012 Best Accessible Communications Award
2012 Best Government Publication Award
2010 Victorian Multicultural Customer Service Award
2010 Australian Multicultural Marketing Award

You will explore the following challenges:

  • Using stakeholder input and research in policy development and planning
  • Developing a targeted stakeholder communication strategy to promote acceptance and overcome opposition
  • Integrating online engagement and social media with your stakeholder relation strategy
  • Building ongoing trust and working relationships with key stakeholders - bring your questions and experiences to our discussion panel

4 Steps to Strengthen Your Online Community Engagement Plan
With such a multidimensional engagement plan, where should you point your microscope when your online community is underperforming?  

Step 1. Map Out Your Engagement Cycle
Lay out each step in the process of moving different customer segments from a new community member to a fully engaged member (note: fully engaged mean different things to different demographics and organizations). Identify the desired behaviors at each stage. Then, correlate the content and communication that your organization will produce to help members reach those steps. Tip: Don’t forget to include contingency workflows for steps outside the ideal path, such as re-engaging customers who have gone silent.

Step 2. Measure Performance
Evaluate the conversion ratios for each step in your customer’s lifecycle. Are new members reaching the next engagement level successfully? Are veteran members still participating in the ways that you expect them to participate? Are you able to help less-engaged community members increase their level of activity? Using the engagement analytics built into your online community software platform, document your conversion ratios quarterly, if not monthly.

Step 3. Identify Weaknesses
Once you have mapped out your engagement stages and analyzed how well you are moving community members through the process, you can identify those ratios that are strong and those that need improvement. For instance, you may find that a high percentage of customers or members are comfortable participating once they go through the onboarding process, but their participation drops off less after 6 months. Tracking your performance over time allows you to find weakness more quickly and address the root causes.

Step 4. Plug Leaks
Having your engagement map, content plan, and performance metrics allows you to identify the factors behind your engagement leaks and so that you can plug them. It could be that your stages need adjusting or that the content at a specific step is misaligned with what your audience needs at that point – or both. Rewriting emails, producing more relevant content, and restructuring your community groups are some of the actions are can test to get better results.

Tips: Keep in mind that online communities don’t operate in a vacuum. Outside factors can also contribute to lower conversion rates. However, if you notice a trend of weak engagement at a certain stage, it is probably something that you have control over.

As professional community managers know, building a successful online community is a nuanced process. Creating value for your customers, employees, prospects, and partners take time and deep understanding of the problems each group facing at different stages of the online community lifecycle. These 4 steps help businesses and membership organizations breakdown their community management plan into more manageable pieces.



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