How Federal Agencies Can Integrate Social Media Marketing

By on April 26, 2016 in Leadership with 0 Comments

If your agency has moved into the new century without much of a social media presence, it may be time to play a little catch-up. In today’s world, there are more of us who consume our information via social media than ever before. For organizations that don’t use social media, this means they could be neglected by their customers.

The population of the United States is young, with Millennials numbering close to 90 million. As more of them become homeowners, job seekers, and taxpayers, it becomes imperative that agencies tailor marketing to this generation, which is the most socially dynamic generation to date.

How, then, do you integrate social media marketing in your agency? It’s not as difficult as you think, and it’s more necessary than ever.

Find the Early Adopters

It’s likely that you already have some expert social media users in your organization. Many of these employees will be the same Millennials with whom you are trying to connect. Use this to your advantage by not having to reinvent the training wheel. You will not need to teach these employees how to tweet or how to upload videos to YouTube.

However, because they are likely to be used to their personal accounts, you need to identify who will best represent your organization. You must also craft a social media policy for your departments, if you haven’t already. Many have these policies in place for employee conduct, but they should be expanded to include users designated to market specifically for the agencies.

Don’t rely on public information officers who are responsible for managing crises or for speaking to other media professionals. You are looking for the frontline employees who are comfortable with technology, who will represent your bureau professionally but personably, and who will have the most timely information.

Choose the Right Platforms

Once you’ve chosen your social media gurus, it’s time to choose your platforms. Do you need them all? Not necessarily. The White House might be overdoing it by posting on nearly every available social media channel. There is even a Twitter account for videos created in the White House. Instead of having a Twitter account, a YouTube account, and a Vimeo, a better strategy would be to integrate YouTube with the main Twitter account.

Think of social media marketing as conversing with your constituents and customers. A great social media rule to live by, it helps you and your social media marketers design campaigns effectively.

Use Twitter to blast real-time information and Facebook to share events. If one of your departments is holding a public meeting, use Facebook’s new live video feed to share with members of the public who might not otherwise be able to make it.

While Millennials are the go-to target market, Baby Boomers still wield considerable influence, and some may be unable to interact face-to-face with organizations. Social media gives them that chance.

Get Creative

When integrating social media marketing and services into your plan, remember that the conversation doesn’t have to be strictly business. Your agency is made of people who serve people.

I remember working for a local municipality. I worked for the Man, and even my friends, who were also often my customers, sometimes forgot there was more to me than job I did. Social media is a great way for your employees to show that they’re not just a uniform or a title.

Hand a GoPro over to a postal employee with a unique route and let her post videos to Instagram, sharing her customer interactions (with their permission, of course).

Look to the Department of Education’s Twitter chats for inspiration on how to answer customer’s questions in real-time. Not only is this a creative way of getting information to customers, it also helps both parties learn about each other.

Taking your cue from other organizations you know, both private and public, is a great way to get started. If you learn about some successful campaigns and prepare your own before jumping in with both feet, you’ll create your own successes.

© 2016 H. E. James, MBA. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from H. E. James, MBA.

About the Author

Hattie James is a writer and researcher from Boise, Idaho, with a varied background, including education and sports journalism. She is a former electronic content manager and analyst for a government agency, holds an MBA, enjoys supporting local businesses, and can be reached via Linkedin.

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