Net neutrality, drug policy, immigration, Obamacare, international relations, tax reform and environmental regulation rollbacks.

These are just some of the policy items that have been under legislative consideration this past year. And – no surprises here – each have the potential to tremendously impact industry. Government oversight and regulation plays a major role in shaping how large enterprise companies operate and strategize. In fact, McKinsey estimates that the business at stake from government and regulatory intervention is around 30 percent of earnings for most companies.

There’s more than just the financial impact to consider. Legislation can have an impact on tangential issues like hiring practices, how products can be marketed, emissions levels allowed in the supply chain, and even the level of testing required on products before they go to market.

Given the importance of regulation, you might assume enterprises would place a premium on government relations — yet only 30 percent of executives believe their external affairs groups have the organizational setup and talent necessary to succeed. Just 20 percent see frequent success at influencing government policy and regulatory decisions. In part, the issue stems from the many different conversations occurring at the same time. It’s just impossible for government relations teams to follow every discussion. But social and media intelligence can distill all these conversations and only surface the ones relevant to your brand.

Here are three ways that analyzing the social media activity of politicians puts government relations professionals in a position of power:

Proactively Surface Key Issues Relevant to Your Brand

Policy gets proposed in two ways: proactively and reactively. In a proactive world, politicians initiate the conversation through their own channels to frame an issue in a way that’s favorable to their point of view. In a reactive world, politicians craft policy as a response to things like world events, geopolitical shifts and market movements. In either case, tracking what congressmen and senators say on their owned channels gives insight into what is coming in the way of policy.

This early warning system also gives teams more time to research the impact proposed legislation could have on their enterprise and the industry as a whole. This precious extra time gives the research team a better opportunity to prove that a bill could have an adverse economic effect on their district, thus paving the way for them to alter their vote.

Target the Right Influencers

The research that illustrates the effects of proposed legislation is useless if the right politicians don’t see the information. Media intelligence can identify which politicians care about a piece of legislation and the way they are going to vote. This saves time by identifying which politicians will vote favorably for legislation, creating an opportunity to focus on the ones who planned on voting the other way.

Another way to leverage social data is to identify which politicians closely align with your brand’s values and leverage them to draft legislation beneficial to your business. For example, if a politician has run a campaign on bringing manufacturing jobs to her state, she is going to be more open to the idea of proposing legislation that offers tax breaks for new factories.

Quantify the Impact of Government Relations Initiatives

Previously, quantifying the impact of government relations has been a murky proposition. Teams often work behind the scenes, so the impact of their intervention often goes unnoticed. However, social and media intelligence can show how a campaign preceded policy change. By tracking and segmenting topics by party or body, you can clearly illustrate how a conversation develops over the course of a campaign. You can show how the opinions of key stakeholders shifted over time, see if the overall sentiment was affected, and how the campaign impacted your share of voice.

Sorting online conversations by different governmental departments improves the possibility of influencing the narrative around legislation important to enterprises. Through surfacing key issues and influencers, teams can create targeted campaigns to protect the valuation of their brand.

Interested in learning more about how media and social intelligence can streamline government relations? Download our White Paper: Media & Social Intelligence Brings Agility to Government Relations