Social media for government is not a whole lot different from social media in business, but there are some key differences. Governments are quite actively trying to disperse information to citizens on services and projects that might help their lives. They might also be trying to get a stakeholder to engage in a particular project.

Goals

Pick your goals first as in any social media strategy. Some key goals might be increasing engagement, increasing website traffic, goal conversion, reach, or even event attendance. Once you have your goals set, move on to creating a strategy.

Strategy/Budget

After you have some solid goals, it’s time to think about your strategy. What resources are you able to put into your social media? Who is responsible for what? How much money and time is available? How will you measure your goals? Is what you have set achievable? Which platforms will you post to and how often? Having a solid strategy is an excellent foundation for any social media campaign.

Content

Now you’re getting into the nitty-gritty. Once you have your strategy, you can start to think about what the social media might look like. Images, videos, podcasts, quizzes, and infographics are just few content types you can try. Every department has a different personality and voice. In the end, you want it to be very engaging and make more people want to follow you.

In government, you want to plan your content well in advance to make all the content is approved. In my experience, many government organisations have stringent branding guidelines. It’s essential to check in with supervisors and get enough time to make revisions when needed.

Tone Of Voice

Picking your tone of voice for government is always tricky. Many government departments do quite serious work. You might make it clear and concise, it could be authoritative and methodical, it could be upbeat and helpful, or it could be a mixture of all of these. Government organisations usually have a list of values and a mission. This could be an excellent first step to finding your organisations voice. Talk to people in the organisation, research its history, and check-in with PR.

Community

Social media communities are one of the most important things to keep an eye on. Make sure you nurture your community online and grow it. Talk to people in the comment section, answer their questions, and send them links to relevant information. Note you are legally responsible for the conduct of what people say on your page, which means you have to moderate it quite heavily. Trolls will try to post disinformation, and people may post racist, homophobic comments. It’s essential to make sure the page is a safe space for debate and community.  

Analytics

Analytics is vital for any social media strategy. You need to know whether or not you’re meeting your goals. If you aren’t, then the social media strategy needs to change to achieve your goals. Or the goals need to change to meet your strategy. Often this area is let down the most. Having a thorough understanding of social media analytics and Google analytics will make sure you know your strategy is working. 

Conclusion

Today we’re seeing a trend where government social media is becoming a lot less informal. We’re seeing a lot more informal language in posts. Take this post from DWELP VIC:

It’s clean, it's cheap and it's the fastest growing form of power generation in Victoria, so it’s easy to understand why…

Posted by Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning on Sunday, 14 June 2020

It’s essential to make the information accessible to the general population. Language should be simple to the point and be relevant. Social media will be a growing tool for government organisations as they try to engage with key stakeholders, provide relevant information, and provide better outcomes for their communities.