Social Media in Government

As the header imply, this blog focus on the social media’s impact on the business. Someone would argue, does it go a little far away from our topic “impact on business”, if we bring the government to the table?  The answer is not. There are two main reasons. First, government, as adeliberate organization, upholds the cooperation structure characters of diverse business. Second, as the supervisor, guidance and administrator of the market, any evolution  in government level, would pass through the impact to the whole business ecosystem.

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Social media has already been a dominating marketing   strategy for the business, while most government are still in the early stages of the adoption. In term of its complexity and potential national wide impact, there are several critical considerations in order to implement a social media strategy in government sector: objective, security and transparency.

Objective: nowadays, effective communication is no longer a simple conversation. It is massive information exchange via free access of diverse platforms. As a key part of effective social media communication strategy in government, the goal is not only help the administrator to collect sentiment from populace, but also better leverage the government platforms to build deeper relationship with them.

How can social media better support the whole government mission and overall communication strategy is the priority question need to clarify.

Padlock symbol with media icons textureSecurity and privacy: with the social media provide, the populace gain easy access to information platform of government. The good news is the voice from low level of the society could be heard and potential problem could be reflected and solved effectively. However, laissez-faire information exchange also bring inevitable security concern and privacy issue. That’s also one of the main reasons why governments are still in the early stages of social media adoption.

Transparency: functioning as all the other marketing tools, social media realize its value when works effectively as promotion carrier for the organization. Tradition media, such as newspaper, and news broadcast provide us “transparent” information. There is a balance of transparency government need to handle well, reflect the fact, while not expose all. The power of mouth would be used in a positive way as well as in negative. One psychology term – Sheep Effect – provide a vivid description of people’s blindly following behavior. Under certain situation, populace may easily be stirred up. When they are angry, most people would lose logical thinking ability, pushing the negative influence on the society out of control.

The dilemma is, since people know government sometime may not be that honest, how to make the process of social media strategy as much transparent as they can to let populace believe it, becomes a critical issue.

A current example is the Saturday’s devastating earthquake in southwest of China. Social media become an effective information exchange platform that provide various channel let people to donate money and living material to help and support disaster areas. While impact by the Red Cross scandal and the non-transparent report during Wenchuang Earthquake in 2008, a lot of people don’t trust government and related charity organization anymore.

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Besides the key concern mentioned, there are other factors we need to consider to better implement social media in government, such as how to let the government engaging to the events and communication, how to provide a accurate tracking system. However, to future embedded social media strategy in government organization is only a matter of time.

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