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DorobekINSIDER Live: Tim Fullerton Discusses Citizen Engagement

The goal of social media is to turn customers into a volunteer marketing army. –Jay Baer

Just a few years ago social media was seen as an adolescent playground. Selfies, Facebook pokes, and pointless status updates created what seemed to be a cesspool of millennial playtime.

Times have changed. If you don’t have an ongoing social media campaign you’re out of the loop and your business is behind. From your college, your favorite local restaurant, your local dry cleaners and your Uncle Marty, everyone has an account.

But your activity should have a purpose behind it. Every tweet, picture, forum, and update should inform and engage your audience. A thousand tweets means nothing if it doesn’t spur your audience to act.

During a GovLoop online training session, Tim Fullerton, director of digital strategy at the Department of the Interior [GovLoop; Twitter; LinkedIn] outlined his approach to social media at the DOI and where he sees the future of citizen engagement in the future. Read below for more details on his tips, and click here to watch the full training session.

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“We look at the content that people are interested in from Twitter to Instagram to Facebook to Tumblr…people are interested in day-to-day stories and photography rather than policy announcements. We use social media as a ‘greatest hits’ and amplify the best stories from our bureaus,” said Fullerton.

It’s not that the public doesn’t want to hear about your bureau’s activity; they just want it delivered and framed in a more digestible way. People want the bottom line, the skim, the highlights. Tell them what they need to know in 140 characters or less. And government communication should also always be a call to action.

Good advertisers don’t want you to just recite, “Where’s the beef?” over and over again, but actually go out and buy the beef. Government communication should always be a call to action.

“We want people to see our material but also engage with us,” said Fullerton.

Government agencies cite NASA as the benchmark in social media as they have nearly 7 million Twitter followers (roughly the same amount as ESPN’s SportsCenter.) The DOI has a comparatively paltry figure of 190K; yet, they have roughly the same amount of user engagement as NASA with their followers.

“Being able to show upper management that people are actually planning trips and engaging is far more important than a reach number. We can tell we’re making an impact,” said Fullerton.

Fullerton preaches throughout his organization how crucial a multichannel approach is across social media platforms. “You have to go where people are. You can’t expect people to just find your content. Social media is the best opportunity to take your message to the public,” said Fullerton.

Just because you share the same content across multiple platforms doesn’t mean that you’re being redundant or that your content needs to be altered.

“Content is tweaked just a little bit but only based on slight difference in demographic of users. It’s tough to go guns blazing in these different areas, but if built overtime you can reach them regardless of their channels. We develop content that’s easily shareable on multiple platforms,” said Fullerton.

Google analytics helps the DOI and other organizations analyze the best practices to reach their audience. The DOI caters to quite a wide audience.

“For the DOI, our content works domestic and international. We put added emphasize on marketing our public lands. By sharing amazing imagery it works for people nearby and potential overseas travelers. We let the imagery speak for itself,” said Fullerton.

His secret to maintaining a successful social media campaign?

“Fostering collaboration across nine of our different agencies, listening to people, and working together has helped strengthen all of our bureaus,” said Fullerton.

To view the entire presentation, click here

*GovLoop would like to thank our partners Carasoft and Teradata.

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