For a lot of people, especially younger people, life is lived out online. Today, just about anyone can pay bills, make restaurant reservations and get movie tickets, plan travel, keep in touch with friends all over the world and get the news faster than ever.
So it makes sense that government agencies — local, state and federal — would try to tap into the popularity and prevalence of the ultimate democratic technology for citizen communications, from emergency situations to drought-condition water restrictions,burn bans and city/county public meetings. There are a lot of opportunities!
For one, social media is often the first place people see things now; it’s one of the most direct ways to reach a very public audience. And well-executed social media posts can also become viral almost immediately, a boon for agencies hoping to make a strong impact with their news.
But despite those opportunities, there are actually many more challenges that go along with social media and can create obstacles to using it effectively for citizen communication. Here’s a look at the top five stumbling blocks government agencies can encounter:
It takes a serious investment of time and resources to manage multiple social media outlets — and provide enough coverage to reach as many citizens as possible. Logging into different social media sites and posting this information takes a lot of time, and it’s hard to be consistent. Are you equipped for that investment?
Government agencies are in a tough spot here: You’ll want someone skilled and trained in social media management, but do they have the security clearance to be privy to all the information they’ll need to inform your citizens? And if an employee who had the passwords to all your social networks leaves the company, it can be a hassle to change the passwords and maintain your security.
It is difficult to track who sent the message to whom and when and how — and even harder to know who’s seeing it, and when and where.
4. Brand protection
The gloves often come off in social media. It’s important to safeguard your agency’s brand and message, as well as protect its privacy where necessary.
It can be tough to determine which metrics are most meaningful for quantifying who you’re reaching with your posts, and how to make decisions based on those metrics. Do you have the staff and resources to dig into the numbers?
Amatra has the tools and best practices to help governments tackle the challenges they’re facing in implementing social media for their citizen communications. For more information, visit our website or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!
Photo: Ed Yourdon