Let’s start with government lessons :Now while government should not only use this way of thinking for campaigning – it can also be used to effectively communicate and connect with the public.These examples are all from the latest Obama campaign…
What is big data? Big data is defined as having 3 major characteristics : volume (there is lots of it); velocity (needs to be analysed quickly) and variety (both structured and unstructured, internal and external)…Big Data may have its flaws, but the latest election in the US shows us that in political circles at least, it is indispensable. As Time magazine chronicled, the Obama campaign relied on a team of dozens of number crunchers who made predictive calls on exactly the right type of pitch to right the right type of voter.After consolidating its database into one megafile, the team relentlessly tested pitches based on this targeting and learned from its testing. As the article states:A large portion of the cash raised online came through an intricate, metric-driven e-mail campaign in which dozens of fundraising appeals went out each day. Here again, data collection and analysis were paramount. Many of the e-mails sent to supporters were just tests, with different subject lines, senders and messages.
There are lots of reasons to doubt Facebook’s assertion that ad units like Sponsored Stories are effective. For instance, the recommendation you see may be from a Facebook “friend” you barely know. You may find it creepy to see advertising intrude upon friendships as well. But again in Obama’s 2012 campaign, Facebook worked. As Time detailed, the Obama campaign used Facebook to “replicate the door-knocking efforts of field organizers” on a mass scale. During the final weeks of the campaign, Obama’s supporters received pictures of their friends in swing states. They were then urged to click a button asking the swing state voters to register to vote, vote early or get to the polls. The campaign found that the tactic worked 20% of the time “in large part because the message came from someone they knew.”
Obama’s 2008 campaign achieved a lot of social media “firsts”: First use of Twitter by a presidential candidate. First use of texting, etc. But by 2012, there was no glory in being the first on a particular platform. Over four years, social media had matured to the point where it was just another medium. For the campaign, Facebook was an alternative or complement to marketing outreach via email or TV. Instead of exploring social media for novelty’s sake, the Obama team followed the data and then determined where to spend its money. As one number cruncher on the team told Time: “Why did we put Barack Obama on Reddit? Because a whole bunch of our turnout targets were on Reddit.”
The Framework comprises of the following 6 elements: Objective: Why agovernementagency needs to use social media Platform: Which platform/s to use for interaction Governance: What are rules of engagement Communication Strategy: How to interact Pilot: How to create and sustain a community Engagement Analysis: Who is talking about what, where and what are the main points of conversations
The objective for the use of social media is not just to disseminate information but also to undertake public engagement for a meaningful public participation for formulation of public policy. Government organisations are exploring the use of social media for public engagements for disseminating information, policy making, recruitment, generating awareness, education etc. about public services. Therefore, Social Media may be used for: Enhanced Outreach: As the recent world events have demonstrated, social media have emerged as a powerful platform for forming an opinion as well as generating mass support. In India, FaceBook alone has over 40 million users each. Even a microblogging site Twitter has about 16 million users. These sites offer an opportunity to reach out this audience at a key stroke. Many of these facilitate access through mobile devices and with nearly 900 million mobile users in India, it offers an unprecedented outreach. Real Time engagement: Social Media releases the shackles of time and place for engagement. They can connect policy makers to stakeholders in real time. In recent Libyan crisis, Ministry of External Affairs used social media platforms such as Twitter to assist in locating and evacuating Indian Citizens from Libya. Individual Interaction: In tradition forms of media, interaction with individual user is either not possible or is very limited. Social Media platform offers the ability to connect with each and every individual. Such an interaction also enables the marginalised to participate in discussions and present their point of view, thereby improving the political position of marginalized or vulnerable groups. It is specifically useful when seeking feedback on services rendered. Managing Perceptions: One of the big challenges for government is to avoid propagation of unverified facts and frivolous misleading rumours with respect to government policies. Leveraging these platforms can help to counter such perceptions and present the facts to enable informed opinion making
Having defined the objectives, the next step is to identify platforms and phases in which such an engagement shall be undertaken at these platforms. While social networks currently seem to be the face of social media, they are not the only platform. Some of the other forms of social media include, Social bookmarking site – stumble upon; transaction based platforms – Amazon & eBay; self publishing media – You Tube, Picasa; Business management etc. Since the choices are many, it is essential to identify one or two key platforms from which the department may begin interaction. Based on objective and response, the basket of platforms may be enhanced. Government departments and agencies can engage social media in any of the following manner: By making use of any of the existing external platforms, or By creating their own communication platforms
Since use of social media is a 24*7 engagement, the pre existing rules and regulations of media interaction do not fully apply to them. Two most important aspects of social media are its: viral characteristic – news spreads exponentially; and demand for instant gratification – queries, responses and counter-responses are posted instantaneously. However, since the official pages of departments must reflect the official position, some measure of control must be included in the flexible design of communication. Just as rules and regulations exist for interaction with traditional media, similar rules must be created for engaging with social media. Some of the key aspects of such a governance structure include:Account governanceResponse & responsivenessResource governanceContent governanceLegal provisionsData information & security provisions
Some of key aspects of communication strategy include – Integration of Social Media into routine, Connection with existing networks, Sharing content across sites and Publicising use of social networking through traditional media. Social media can only be used by the Government to communicate existing Government information and propagate official policy to the public. While the social media tools allow everyone to become a creator, for the official account, content will have to be specified and tailored to the site on which it is being published. Great care must be taken to avoid propagation of unverified facts and frivolous misleading rumours which tend to circulate often through miscreants on social media platforms. It must be reiterated here that social media should only be one of the components of the overall citizen engagement strategy and government departments must desist from using only social media to communicate with their stakeholders. Initially, the departments may just aim to post information regularly. For example, if it is a Facebook Page, postings may be done at least a couple of times a week and on Twitter slightly more frequently. Ideally, none of the sites should be left more than a week or two without new content.
Since social media are relatively new forms of communication, it is always better to test the efficiency and effectiveness of such an initiative with a pilot project. Some of principles of creating such a pilot are : Focussed Objective setting: Initiate interaction for a limited objective or limited to one topic Begin Small: It is always better to start small and it is advisable to begin with one or two platforms. Multiplicity of access: The chosen platform should typically permit inputs from or linkages through multiple access devices. This will ensure wider participation. Content Management: It is not enough just register presence on a variety of platforms. It is essential that content provided is topical and up to date. Community Creation: On any social media platform, creation of a community is essential to generate buzz and sustain interaction.
Social media monitoring must be an integral part of any social media strategy. Social media data is different from other data or information because organisations have no control over its creation or dissemination on the Web and in order to understand and analyse the data a structure has to be imposed externally on it. Today a multitude of tools offer solutions for measuring conversation, sentiment, influences and other social media attributes. They help in discovering conversations about project and organisations and can be used to proactively engage with stakeholders. Limit Scope of Analysis: Making a small start and defining Top 5 or 10 metrics may help organise the Data e.g. No. of mentions, No. of comments on specific posts, No. of retweets, No. of likes or shares etc. Creation of Dashboard: There are many free tools available that can help create a dashboard view of the data which can be pulled in through RSS feeds. This will help keep tab on latest happenings Connect with responders: It is a good idea to collate information/link to profiles about people who respond to queries or topics of your organisations interest, also observe their preference of response – individual mail, wall posting etc. Over a period of time this will help generate a broad profile of people who respond to your efforts Follow the followers/Leaders: Follow your followers and leaders on other networks/platforms to hear what is being talked about. This would help in spotting the trends in discussion.
When I say most brands do TV on social media what I mean is that we do the same uninformed shouting and pimping on social media that we do on TV.We know little about who is on the other end of the TV set and the medium places limits to what we can do. So to make our marketing more efficient we shout more loudly, more frequently!We don't have to do that. We can get a very good sense for who is following / friending / subscribing to us. We can measure if what we are saying connects to them (in near real time!). And unlike all others, this channel has the word social in it! Social as in talk and listen and discuss.So why not measure that?Conversation Rate = # of Audience Comments (or Replies) Per PostOne beautiful thing… you can measure this on every social channel on the planet. Blog. Twitter. Facebook. Google Plus. YouTube.What to do with it?A high conversation rate requires a deeper understanding of who your audience is, what your brand attributes are, what you are good at, what value you can add to your followers and the ecosystem you participate in.That is why I love this metric. It forces you to do the right thing right away. And it is a lot of work.So aim for a higher Conversation Rate. Build your own watering hole in the digital universe. Have meaningful conversations with your audience. That's Marketing money just can't buy.You can always be provocative, say silly things and get a high Conversation Rate. Pick “Striking Miners” for your topic. :) But that would not be accretive for your brand equity, would it?Remember we do not measure to manipulate the metrics, we measure to know if we are adding business value.How to measure it?Individually this is not that hard to measure. But across channels it does get a bit messier…Up next, our second delightful metric…
This is where social media really comes into its own…. When you think of another media – like TV, radio, even social media advertising…. You have a defined market. There are about 10 million people who watch The Bold & The Beautiful every evening – which means that your TV advert which incidentally cost you R 130 000 for 30” of airtime in October 2012…Social media however has got second and third level connections…. So let’s assume that your network has 100 people in it. If this were TV; your maximum reach is 100. However if only 10 people in your network read your post and share it and a corresponding 10 people in each of their networks read it and on shares it – you have amplified your network…!
Let’s assume that this was a blog post; which you “Liked” or “+1’ed”, you'll not help me understand its relative quality, but when someone in our extended social graph does a search on Google for something like social media metrics your endorsement of this content will show up in the search results. That's reassuring to your social graph, and it is great for me because your endorsement makes this post stand out over others and I get a relevant visitor/customer.Sweet, right? Your selfless social media contribution comes back to assist you in driving valuable business outcomes.That's why you measure Applause. It matters in ways you can't imagine!
Putting them all together gets you a table that looks like this….From here you can then analyse which mediums are getting you better MICRO conversions and how those micro conversions are translating into MACRO conversions.
How to build awareness for your government organization