Government agencies at the local, state, and national level are finding new and innovative ways to leverage social platforms as a low-cost and effective communication tool. While there can be challenges, there are also undeniable benefits of using social media for government outreach and citizen engagement.
Before you remove ‘social media’ from your ongoing communications strategy, consider these 7 benefits of social media for government communications:
- Expand your reach
It’s a basic concept to most communicators: go where your audience is spending their time. By providing an active hub of information and conversation on your social media profiles, you are widening your reach and allowing your citizens to engage with you in a way that might be more convenient for them.
- Channel for real-time data collection
Social media is an effective way to crowdsource information and feedback. Collect data and insights from your followers that can be compiled and analyzed to give directional insights. Consider posting polls and survey questions, hosting a Twitter chat, or launching an interactive online program aimed at encouraging citizens to give input on various topics or initiatives.
- Transform public perception and maximize awareness of agency goals
If you asked the citizens you serve, would they say your agency is behind the times? Would they say your agency is transparent and honest? Would they even know what your agency’s mission and current initiatives are? Utilize social media as an innovative way to maximize awareness and citizen engagement. By keeping up with trends in digital engagement, government communicators and public affairs professionals can help transform public perception of the agency.
- Drive citizen engagement with limited resources and budget
Social media is an efficient and low-cost distribution channel. Driving true citizen engagement is more than just deploying information; it’s about creating a two-way dialogue and generating awareness and support of your agency’s initiatives. Social media is a fantastic platform for hosting relevant content, engaging discussion, and soliciting feedback from those your agency serves.
- Test your messaging and analyze results
Get real-time insights into what information your citizens are interested in, where/on what platform they are most likely to consume that information, and what’s the best way to say it in order for the call-to-action to resonate with your citizens.
- Improve your services and customer experience
It’s important to recognize all feedback, even if it’s negative, as a way to improve services. In most cases, if you ask, your citizens will tell you exactly what it is they want, need, and expect from you. Leverage your social profiles as a way to interact with them and communicate directly with them.
- Become more authentic and transparent
Authenticity and transparency is valued by your target audience, regardless of who they are. While there will of course be some exceptions to the rule, putting a focus on transparency in all government communications is an effective way of gaining the trust of citizens. And when citizens trust you, they come to you for information.
Interested in learning more? Join your peers at the upcoming Government Social Media: Driving Results training in Washington, DC on February 29-March 2, 2016.