What & Why
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Web Communications
Social Media: What & Why
• Social media includes anything online other than
static content. It’s about:
– User created content
• Social media is where people are.
– It is where they go to look for information and engage
with the community.
– It’s a more direct connection to people.
– It gives us an opportunity to hear what people are
Social Media is a Powerful Tool
• Share: Inform citizens of public services
through social content
• Listen: Observe, analyze and understand what
citizens are sharing to improve public services
• Engage: Respond, collaborate and create with
citizens to improve public services (sharing
Potential Benefits of Using Media
• More effective distribution of critical information to
citizens and communities, whether for emergency
response, education or awareness.
• More responsive public programs that citizens help
shape, and better customer experience by listening for
• Better informed strategies that operate on the most
up-to-date and accurate data, leading to greater
• Increased use of innovative tools and services from
small businesses and entrepreneurs that drive further
EPA’s Social Media Policy
• It is EPA’s policy to use social media where
appropriate in order to meet its mission of
protecting human health and the
• Social media is not always the answer.
• Social media needs to be part of a complete
communications and marketing plan.
• Always consider your mission and goals first.
– Then plan your communications and marketing
strategy – then think about which social media
tools are appropriate.
What is EPA doing on social media?
• EPA is using social media to:
–Provide information during
–Engage the public
–Share our work in communities across
Social Media Tools
How You Can Use Social Media to
Connect with the Public
• Ask questions on social media platforms (like
Twitter, Facebook, Google+) or in blog posts
• Ask the public to submit or share content (such as photos
• Talk with the public:
Twitter town halls
• Share multimedia content with the public
• Share information with the public
• Social media is not just for sharing information, it
can also be used to listen and gather feedback on
• Use social media to listen:
– Read comments on blog posts.
– Read comments on Facebook, Google+, YouTube, and
– Read replies on Twitter.
– Read mentions on Twitter.
– Search keywords and hashtags on Twitter to find
trends in conversations and public opinion.
Where Should You Engage?
• Questions to help determine the best place /
way to engage with your audience on social
– What are your goals?
– Where is your audience?
– What type of information do you want to share?
– How much time / resources do you have to
commit to this communication effort?
– How sensitive is the topic?
Maximizing Impact / Campaign
• Foundation: Good content on the web.
– Plain language information
– Photos and graphics
• Momentum: Sharing
– Web content
– Between social media sites (example: share blog posts on
Facebook and Twitter)
• Engage: Listen and respond
– Join in the conversation on blogs and social media!
– Answer questions when possible
– Listen to feedback
Social Media Metrics
• Social media metrics for federal agencies is an evolving
– Information and recommendations on DigitalGov
– New methods and tools become available all the time
• What we can / want to measure:
• High-level information on the breadth of traffic
to, and content usage of, a given social media
– Community Size
• The size of your direct and indirect community
• Potential audience / reach
• Examples: Facebook fans, Twitter followers, YouTube
subscribers, Tumblr followers
– Community Growth
• Change in the size of your direct community
• Popularity of your account
• The extent (time), outcomes and context of a
• Number of desired actions users complete as a
result of your social media strategy, whether its
engagement, access to data or registering for
• Volume of desired actions through social media
channels, such as click-throughs
• How often certain videos are viewed, and for how long
Metrics: Direct Engagement
• The extent to which a visitor uses the social
– Engagement Volume
• The volume and frequency of an agency’s engagements with
– Engagement Responsiveness
• How successful an agency is in reaching response-time
• Are you achieving your goals?
– Are you able to answer the questions posed by your customers?
– Are you answering these questions within the timeframe you
• Visitor loyalty and returns
• Return Community
– Use Google Analytics to measure returning traffic
from social media sites.
– NOTE: Review your agency’s policy on cookies and
tracking users of your website.
Metrics: Customer Experience
Considerations / Concerns
• The sentiment, surveys, and high-tier social data from customer
• Listen to what customers are saying about specific programs or
events on social platforms so that data can then be used to improve
strategies and services.
– The Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. § 552a)
• Protect personally identifiable information (PII) of citizens
• Usernames and other data on social media can be considered PII
– OMB Memorandum M-10-23 Guidance for Agency Use of Third-Party
Websites and Applications (PDF, 103 KB, 9 pages, June 2010) Section
• If information is collected through an agency’s use of a third-party website
or application, the agency should collect only the information “necessary
for the proper performance of agency functions and which has practical
utility. If personally identifiable information (PII) is collected, the agency
should collect only the minimum necessary to accomplish a purpose
required by statute, regulation, or executive order.”
Metrics: Customer Experience
– The context of what is being shared about programs
– There are some free tools that provide high-level sentiment analysis
– Paid tools that provide this type of information include Topsy and
– The characteristics that influence or are associated with an agency’s
• Survey Feedback
– Provides key results of customer satisfaction surveys conducted for an
agency’s social community
– Create surveys or questions to ask your audience for feedback
– NOTE: Make sure you comply with the Paperwork Reduction Act on all
social media surveys
• Campaign analysis reports how specific
programs and tactics perform using the core
five categories of metrics
(breadth, depth, direct
engagement, loyalty, and customer
Metrics: Strategic Outcomes
• Strategic Outcome analysis reports how the
performance of social media strategies
directly impact strategic priorities of the
• Measure strategic outcomes through
combinations of metrics, campaigns and the
goals of your organization.
• DigitalGov Social Media
#SocialGov Community of Practice
Federal-Compatible Terms of Service Agreements
Social Media Metrics for Federal Agencies
• Social Media Registry (agency-facing side)
– Social Media Registry (English public-facing side)
– Social Media Registry (Spanish public-facing side)
• EPA’s Webguide – Social Media @ EPA
– EPA’s Social Media Policy (Note section 6 of the
• EPA Social Media Lead
– Jessica Orquina
– Twitter: @JAOrquina