Takeaways from Social Media in Government Conference

Fri, 2011-07-22 09:01

By Lauren Hansen-Flaschen

Blog 2 of 3

This is the second of a series of three blog posts on the Social Media for Government Conference by Advanced Learned Institute held in Washington DC last week.

Takeaways to share with your networks

As we here at Fels work with government leaders using social media, the most frequent questions we get are about best practices.  What are others doing?  I attended a Washington conference last week (described here) organized by Advanced Learning Institute on Social Media in Government, among the many useful ideas and reccomendations from the experts, here are ten social media tips to try out and share with others:

1. “Social Media are tools, not instructions.” Gadi Ben-Yehuda. In other words, make sure that social media is used to better fulfill your organization’s mission and goals, and not implemented just for the sake of having them.

2. Google Plus is coming- whether you decide to use it or not, it will impact the other social media tools you use as they change to stay in the game (especially Facebook).

3. Find out where your community exists online before launching your organization’s social media campaign. Do some Internet searches to discover where your organization is already being discussed, what the topics are, and who are the main contributors. Sally Dadjou, Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board.

4. New technologies to check out: Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, Alexa.com, Urchin, Netvibes

5. Find your imposters and shift their followers to your organization’s “real” site. If your organization is not already out there, someone pretending to be you probably is.

6. No press releases on social media! Most of you already know this.  However you can repurpose select parts of your press releases to use a social media posts. Sally Dadjou, Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board.

7. The best way to build loyal and active social media followers is through a slow, steady increase. Cindy Marzock, Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania.

8. Social Media Policy Element 1: Determine rules concerning levels of access to social media sites: who on your team can have access to which sites at what levels, and what is the procedure to get increased access? Jana Hrdinova, Center for Technology in Government, University at Albany, State University of New York.

9. Social Media Policy Element 2: Determine the procedure for the creation, maintenance and destruction of social media accounts, and make sure that all managers and higher ups are aware of what social media accounts their departments actively use (so as not to be caught by surprise by the press or outside groups). Jana Hrdinova, Center for Technology in Government.

10. Set goals for your social media activities to be able to measure progress and effectiveness. For example, set a goal for the number of tweets per week and the number of responses desired per month. Use analytics to check the results. Julie Weckerlein and Carla Voorhees, Armed with Science, U.S. Department of Defense.

I was impressed by the experience and knowledge of social media practitioners at this conference.  It is held throughout the country about seven times a year.  The next one is in early September in Atlanta, Ga. While admission is steep (for us public sector people), the wealth of information and inspiring new contacts that you will walk away with make it a good deal.