Oct 192011

Yesterday morning Strategic Communications Group and research firm Market Connections hosted an event focused on social media use in the public sector. We briefed a room of about 150 attendees on the findings of our market survey. There was also a panel discussion with five government marketers who discussed how they have integrated social media into their communication strategies.

The takeaways indicate a steady adoption of social media by the public sector. Some numbers that jumped out at me:

  • 35% of federal respondents identified blogs as a top tool for decision-making
  • The move to mobile is happening fast — 53% of federal respondents used an iPhone to access social media, 39% Android, and 27% an iPad!
  • Only 19% of federal respondents reported being banned from certain social media sites, versus 55% a year ago
  • LinkedIn showed a huge jump, with 70% of feds reporting having used it during the past month, versus just 32% in 2010

There was some good media coverage of the event yesterday. Here’s Alice Lipowicz’s story at FCW, and Wyatt Kash’s take at AOL Government.

The panelists followed the presentation of the survey results with some real world examples.Steve Lunceford of Deloitte talked about thinking in terms of social business, not just social media. He drew an interesting analogy to the “e-business” fever back in the late 90’s. Too many focused exclusively on selling things online, when really the fundamental change was adapting all your business processes to the Internet.

Meredith Lawrence of Polycom cautioned the audience to make sure social media strategies are appropriate for the government vertical, since you can’t just “find and replace” enterprise messaging with federal. Nancy Nolting of Intelsat General shared how she ensured that during a full redesign of their corporate web site, a good framework for a content marketing strategy was put in place as part of that effort. She also spoke candidly about how much work it can be to get internal subject matters experts to produce content, and how you need the top executives to lead by example.

Jack Holt of Blue Ridge Information Systems explained how when at DoD he started holding blogger roundtables with bloggers and top military brass, setting a new standard of transparency for military outreach. These roundtables became an important alternative channel for news not judged as “real stories” by traditional media. D.J. Caulfield of GSA stressed a favorite topic of mine, having a social media strategy before jumping into tactics and tools. He also told me how some use social media for personality promotion, but when on the agency side it’s all about public information and education.

If you’re interested in more of the survey results, here’s a link to a registration page on the Market Connections site. Since Strategic was a sponsor, for my blog readers I’d be happy to send a copy on request. Just drop a comment or send me a message.

  4 Responses to “Survey Says — Lots of Social Media Use in the Public Sector”

  1. Would be interested to read this report Chris, cheers Teresa.

  2. Sounds like it was a cool event–I’d be interested to read the report. I like Steve Lunceford’s point–I think the social business vs. just using social media for marketing is really important. Also, I think there are a lot of parallels between the government vertical and the association vertical, which I work in. People assume “social media” is one size fits all, but the same things do not work in different industries. Sadly, most of the social media webinars and such out there–which is how most people are educating themselves about social media–don’t distinguish this and a lot of people are spending a lot of time learning social media strategies and tactics that won’t work in their particular industry.

  3. Hi,
    I would be interested in reading this report as part of a PhD Dissertation work

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