Wednesday, September 19, 2012

63 reasons your agency should have a social media presence

It is 46 years since the internet was first developed (ARPA network), 21 years since the development of the first web browser (aptly named WorldWideWeb) and fifteen years since the launch of the first recognisable social network (

Today half our population actively uses Facebook, and over 60 per cent of Australians use some form of social media.

However some in government are still debating whether social media is a valid channel for them to use, or whether it is simply a 'fad'.

I gave a presentation yesterday at an OPC Web Xchange event on why agencies should use social media an how they could build their social media infrastructure.

As part of my preparation for the event, in about twenty minutes over the weekend, I brainstormed 63 reasons why government agencies should have a social media presence.

Some may not apply to your agency. I may have missed others that do.

However in case you're struggling to justify using social media in your agency, here's my 63 reasons to start you off in thinking about which reasons are most important in your situation.

Note that they are listed alphabetically, not by importance.

  1. advertise to your audience 
  2. amplify your other communications 
  3. attract good staff 
  4. be approachable and reachable
  5. break down silos 
  6. build awareness of conversations already underway 
  7. build awareness of services 
  8. build community resilience 
  9. build ongoing audience 
  10. build personal connections 
  11. build relevance 
  12. build staff experience ahead of more advanced technologies 
  13. build website traffic 
  14. challenge the community to help solve problems 
  15. collaborate with colleagues across agencies and jurisdictions 
  16. collaborate with colleagues in your agency 
  17. consult your audience 
  18. convene supporters 
  19. correct misinformation 
  20. deliver emergency information 
  21. employ agile policy development methodologies 
  22. empower the community with information 
  23. engage stakeholders 
  24. explain to people what you do
  25. find best practice overseas
  26. find good staff
  27. find good vendors 
  28. get a heads-up on what will be in traditional media the next day
  29. identify community influencers 
  30. identify fraud 
  31. identify opinion leaders 
  32. identify unlawful behaviour 
  33. improve accountability 
  34. increase transparency 
  35. listen to your audience 
  36. locate experts 
  37. locate stakeholders 
  38. maintain engagement between campaigns 
  39. market research 
  40. organise events 
  41. promote events 
  42. provide consistent answers to questions 
  43. provide customer service 
  44. provide information in forms other than text 
  45. remain effective in a 24/7 media cycle 
  46. run competitions 
  47. save money 
  48. save time 
  49. seek fast feedback on policy ideas 
  50. share data 
  51. share expertise 
  52. share information with colleagues across agencies and jurisdictions 
  53. share information with colleagues in your agency 
  54. share knowledge nationally and globally
  55. share media announcements 
  56. source emergency information 
  57. streamline processes 
  58. support your Minister 
  59. target geographically dispersed groups
  60. reach an audience who won't talk to you face-to-face or by phone
  61. reinvent government processes 
  62. tracking audience sentiment 
  63. train staff in engagement
And here's a word cloud of the reasons to show the themes that stand out.

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