tweets by government agencies

Survey measures agencies' social media efforts

A new study finds that about 14 percent of Americans use social media as their main source of information about a federal agency, and 30 percent use social media to ask the government a question or resolve a problem.

The inaugural J.D. Power 2014 Social Media Benchmark Study—Government measured citizens’ experiences with the social media marketing and servicing of 12 federal agencies.   

Agencies use social media marketing to build awareness of their missions, services and products and to build positive relationships with citizens. Servicing via social media includes answering specific questions or resolving their problems.

“Each federal agency’s social media strategy is different based on that particular agency’s mission,” said Greg Truex, director of the government practice at J.D. Power. “An effective social media strategy can ultimately reduce marketing and servicing costs when it’s integrated effectively into an agency’s overall communications plan.”

In fact, the survey found that subscription email is still the most engaging channel for subscribers.

Source: J.D. Power 2014 Social Media Benchmark Study

The complete survey results, which were released to the participating agencies, provide best practices for how social media managers can improve their marketing and servicing efforts.

Among the agencies surveyed, only NASA was found to perform particularly well in both marketing and servicing via social interactions.

NASA maintains strong presences on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram and other popular platforms. The @NASA Twitter account and NASA's Instagram account are the most followed in the federal government on those platforms, according to a NASA statement on the survey results.

In 2008 NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory created the agency's first Twitter account, @MarsPhoenix, for the Mars Phoenix Lander. NASA now has than 480 accounts spread across 10 different social media platforms.

Additional findings:

Overall citizen satisfaction with social media interactions with the federal government averages 802 (on a 1,000-point scale) for servicing engagements and 711 for marketing engagements.

The most-frequently used social media channel for both marketing and servicing is Facebook.

Nearly half of citizens use social media to get information about laws and regulations; 29 percent use it as a communications channel to ask a question; and 21 percent use social platforms to resolve a problem. 

Nearly one-third of social media contacts with the federal government are to ask a question, with only 72 percent of those citizens receiving a response from an agency.

Among citizens who received a response from an agency, 70 percent said the representative also offered to assist them with other questions  and 56 percent indicated the representative offered them additional services. 

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