Have you noticed the increased use of social media by federal agencies yet?  Well, the social media blog AllFacebook has.  We recently came across a great article that discusses how each of the executive departments use Facebook.  The article focuses on whether or not those agencies meet accepted practices for customer satisfaction, and most of them pass with flying colors.  For example, all fifteen departments have a Facebook page with a vanity URL, and eleven of the fifteen use a third-party tool like YouTube or Flickr to enhance their presence. Here are some tips with real-world examples we want to highlight:

#1: Create custom pages: Not all Facebook pages are created equal.  When departments and agencies create custom pages, they are able to tailor their content in a way that is visually appealing and draws the viewer in.  Check out this engaging custom page from the Department of Veterans Affairs:

#2: Collaborate with groups that share your mission: Networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter should be just that: platforms for networking.  Sharing content with other groups can help spread the visibility of your agency and tap into networks you wouldn’t otherwise reach.  The Department of Health and Human Services does a great job with this on their Twitter page, especially through retweeting, hash tag use, and @-replying relevant Twitter handles:

#3: Engage in authentic conversation: Social media isn’t only a marketing tool for your latest government initiative, but should also serve as a platform for genuine engagement with the public.  Social media can also permit answering constituent questions, asking for public feedback, and sharing personal anecdotes to help your agency best interact with the public.  The Department of Homeland Security does a great job at these tasks on Facebook, as is exemplified by their sharing of pictures and stories that wouldn’t be found in the mainstream media:

From where I sit, social learning is next.  These examples are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to government employees embracing social tools and, of course, collaborating and learning from others is a part of that.  What have your experiences been with federal departments on social media?

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