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Thares: Fed Communicators Panel



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  • There are two main reasons why we have made online customer listening a priority at Federal Student Aid:For one, we use it to create relevant content. Like many government agencies, we deal with a relatively complicated topic. As many of you probably know first hand, financial aid can be confusing, especially if you’re new to it. Social media listening allows us to figure out what questions our customers have so we know where to focus our content efforts. The second reason is to identify key customer issues and, in turn, improve your products and services. Unlike focus groups and surveys, the feedback you get by engaging in social media listening is live. You are not asking people to predict their behavior, but instead, you are finding out where their stumbling blocks are as they are interacting with your products and services.


  • 1. Susan Thares 03/13/2013 Social Media Policies & Effective Strategies
  • 2. Things To Consider Before You Begin • What are you solving for? • Who is the audience you want to reach? • What does your customer want/need from you? • Engagement or one-way communication? • Where does your audience engage on social media? • What constitutes success? • What resources ($$ and people) are available? • Identifying key stakeholders in your organization • Leverage other government resources
  • 3. Policy Components • Purpose • Scope • Who does it apply to • Background & Definition • Defining social media/digital engagement & benefits of using it for your agency • How is relates to and advances your agency mission • Roles & Responsibilities • Who is authorized to speak in an official capacity • Approval processes • Policy Specifics • Access • Account Management • Acceptable Use • Legal Requirements • How it’ll be managed/Governance
  • 4. Creating Policy Internal Use Guidelines • Follow all applicable government & agency policies • Disclose only publicly available information • Don’t use your status to discuss overly personal info • Show respect & professionalism • Respect other’s privacy • Correct misinformation or mistakes • Avoid political statements
  • 5. Creating Policy External Use Guidelines • Comment Policy • Linking Policy • External link evaluation criteria • Disclaimer of endorsement • If you receive PII
  • 6. Creating Policy • Obtain Terms of Service for all Third- Party Apps you plan to use • Get approval from OGC • Familiarize yourself with the latest records management, privacy and security guidelines • Leverage all the great resources on HowTo.gov
  • 7. Making them available…
  • 8. First Steps to an Effective Strategy
  • 9. Starting your Strategy • Listen online for questions, comments, information gaps around your products and services • Wade through the noise, look for good nuggets and don’t take it personally • Creating content is key • Write in plain language, inject some humor and go beyond text based content • Link back to resources on your websites • Build an inventory of content before you start and determine how often you are going post • Metrics • What to measure and how to report it • Adjusting as you go
  • 10. Online customer listening is essential to a successful social media strategy
  • 11. Create Relevant Content Monitor Trends Identify Key Customer Issues Listen
  • 12. • Include a variety of links to your websites, resources and blogs • Create visual collateral (video, photos, infographics) • Create a content calendar • Repurpose content when you can • Retweet relevant info from the White House, other agencies and other parts of your agency
  • 13. • Establish some basic metrics • Review metrics regularly and adjust accordingly (e.g. # posts/tweets, time of day, days of the week, etc.) • What content resonated most with your audience • Test different ways to communicate a message (e.g. use different tweet headlines that link to the same blog) • Create FAQ spreadsheet with corresponding answers in Facebook and Twitter formats
  • 14. Sample FAQ document
  • 15. Have Fun with It
  • 16. StudentAid.gov Homepage 16
  • 17. Facebook www.facebook.com/FederalStudentAid 17
  • 18. Facebook Post Examples 18
  • 19. Twitter www.twitter.com/FAFSA 19
  • 20. Twitter Post Example 20 Shortened link to info on StudentAid.gov
  • 21. The more the merrier… 21
  • 22. YouTube 22 www.youtube.com/FederalStudentAid
  • 23. Some of our YouTube Playlists 23