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 (SixDegrees.com).

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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Emily Landsman


Great post! I like the way you’ve broken it down into a simple, but lengthy, list. I use a lot of these reasons now, too. I find myself less frequently persuading local government folks to think about social media, and more frequently answering their questions about why they should use it. That was an exciting change.