5 Ways Government Is Using Social Media for Mission Impact

Social media has transformed the way government engages with citizens. In our recent guide, GovLoop staff took a comprehensive look at how agencies are leveraging social media to meet their mission objectives. The report: The Social Media Experiment in Government: Elements of Excellence, included a survey from the GovLoop community and expert interviews on social media. You can read the full guide below, or download a PDF.

Post Highlights

  • GovLoop releases new report- The Social Media Experiment in Government: Elements of Excellence

  • Report highlights 5 ways government is using social media for mission impact

  • For more social media resources, visit GovLoop’s social media page

One of the survey questions was: Has social media led to any of the following demonstrable mission impacts in our organization? I thought the answers were interesting to look at, and the results can be found below. Respondents could check all that apply.

  • Broader Reach: 86%
  • Efficient Information Exchange: 53%
  • Policy Improvement: 30%
  • Efficient Service Delivery: 27%
  • Cost savings: 11%
  • Time Savings: 12%

The results highlight the power of social media to quickly and efficiently disseminate information to citizens and core stakeholders. This dynamic has certainly changed the way government engages with citizens, and turned a traditionally one-way conversation, into a dialogue. The report explores dozens of anecdotes how agencies have leverage social media to improve their communications strategy, mission core objectives and information delivery.

Check out the Social Media Experiment in Government: Elements of Excellence guide by viewing below or Download the PDF


The report also provides 13 Ways Government Is Using Social Media for Mission Achievement, below I’ve shared 5 findings, you can read the all 13 by downloading a PDF or reading the report below (section starts on page 10).

1. Drive followers to a specific website for email sign-ups

The report states, “One survey respondent indicated that they use Twitter “to drive users back to our site to specific areas.” This tactic allows organizations to build a relationship with users, and push them towards content to take further action. For instance, organizations may use Twitter as a vehicle to promote a new benefit or to encourage people to sign-up for email alerts. This continues to the conversation, and extends the dialogue beyond just one social channel.

2. Reach underserved audiences during key initiatives

Social media can certainly be used to help citizens understand core initiatives. The report highlights that an agency leveraged social media during a bond referendum. They used social media to help highlight important information and reach people within the community who otherwise would not have paid attention to the referendum.

3. Get accurate information out more quickly during emergencies

One survey respondent states, “Our use of Twitter to get quick information to the press and other stakeholders about emergencies, events and other issues has been most effective for us.” In addition, a state level agency indicated that, “Twitter has been a great tool during emergency incidents or inclement weather. We tweet road closures, power outages, fires, and gain the most followers during those times.” There are countless examples as to how social media has been used during emergencies. Social media allows people to instantly connect and either share resources, request help or find loves ones.

4. Receive valuable data from citizens in real-time

The GovLoop report has a few examples of how citizens have provided real-time data to improve services, examples from the City of Philadelphia, 311 services and Hurricane Sandy. These examples show that government is learning new and innovative ways to capitalize on citizens as sensors within the community, and encourage more civic activism by providing a platform for citizens to report crime, potholes or even building apps to improve collaboration.

5. Leverage the time and talent of the local community

The report states, “One municipality opened a Flickr page and found that it “has been a great source of free, high quality photos for us — when you join our group you agree to let us use your pictures in city marketing.” While small savings, the cost of replacing professional photography with citizen-powered picture-taking is a victory both in terms of budgets and in the building up of hometown pride.”

To read all 13 applications, and dozens of interesting anecdotes on social media usage, be sure to view the guide. Social media will continue to shape the way government engages with citizens. Social media also has the power to bring the citizen closer to government, and facilitate an improved conversation with government.

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Thank you to our industry partner GovDelivery for sponsoring this GovLoop guide. If you have any questions about the guide or social media in government, please reach out to Andrew Krzmarzick, GovLoop Director of Community Engagement, at [email protected]

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