Digital Engagement: How Social Media has Changed all the Rules


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This Sapient Government Services white paper describes the challenges and opportunities of using social media to effectively engage with audiences.

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Digital Engagement: How Social Media has Changed all the Rules

  1. 1. POINT OF view Digital Engagement: How social media has changed all the rules The adoption of social media across all demographics is not slowing down. People are using social media as a primary resource to share and receive information in real-time, in context and in the moment to their desired experiences. The influence of these global, unfiltered, digitally powered and socially driven communities and connections is undeniable. The rapid adoption and use of social media has led to increasing complexities for government agencies. As they look to navigate the constant flow of information, new sources of data are emerging daily across multiple channels. At the same time, government agencies have an unprecedented opportunity to engage with audiences, but this requires understanding how to use social media effectively. OPPORTUNITIES FOR GOVERNMENT AGENCIES: THE PEOPLE ARE SPEAKING. ENGAGEMENT IS NOW. People are talking on social channels – all the time. The conversation is happening. Sapient’s social media practice has been able to successfully help government agencies leverage social media as an effective communication tool to create engagement across target audiences. The areas where social media can be a game changing and strategic tool include: • Provide real-time information - The rapid adoption of social media has made it an essential tool for disseminating important content to audiences to quickly alert, inform and provide resources for decision making. Social media has increasingly changed crisis response communication strategies but can also be used to push time-sensitive information to audiences that requires immediate distribution. A simple Google search on E-Verify reveals 22 million blogs, 6 million discussions, countless public posts on Facebook, organized Facebook pages, and hundreds of tweets per week
  2. 2. POINT OF view • Empower authoritative communication - The communication flow is no longer unidirectional from the government to the citizens. Citizen journalists are everywhere and they are talking back. The government’s role in the new social media age is not to control the conversations, but to provide accurate information for people to share. Agencies are often uncomfortable with ambiguity of social media and lack control over what is said and where. However, government agencies have an unprecedented opportunity to empower audiences to help increase the spread of accurate information for improved decision making and scale of service delivery. • Foster collaboration – Social media can be used to crowd-source ideas, identify innovative approaches, or even develop solutions by providing a powerful platform to maximize community engagement and expertise, both internally and externally depending on agency objectives. Our teams have worked with companies including Sprint to leverage community discussion forums and streamline budget decisions based on customer needs and feedback. FOCUS ON MEANINGFUL CONVERSATION THROUGH CONVERSATION. FORGET THE CHANNEL. The low cost for setting up social media sites has resulted in many agencies creating agency managed channels without a strategic approach to be able to fully realize the benefits. This pitfall can be avoided through an innovative, insight driven and holistic approach. HOW SAPIENT CAN HELP Our social media practice works with agencies to develop and execute strategies for increased engagement and measurable results based on a step by step process: • Social Research: Audit and Analysis – Sapient helps agencies understand not only the content being shared on social media channels, but we also examine audience behaviors, topics of interest, and trends. Through our analysis, we are able to measure communication effectiveness and provide proactive trend analysis to identifying opportunities for engagement and potential threats. • Social Strategy & Planning: Strategy Development - Our teams work with agencies to develop a clear, actionable and measureable strategy with identified communication objectives, areas of focus, and a defined governance framework including processes, tools, and programs. From complex agency-wide to program specific-campaigns, we work with agencies to define a strategy that fits their specific communication needs. Social media empowers both agencies and citizens if used appropriately.
  3. 3. POINT OF view • Social Experience: Execution – Sapient’s social media practice applies creative content and digital expertise to create differentiated social experiences and/or campaign strategies through planning and ideation. In working with global companies including Coca-Cola, Sprint, and Travelers Insurance, we have the proven expertise required to engage diverse audiences with clear and measurable insights every step of the way. Social Media Audit & Analysis Conversation: Distill the universe of digital conversation Engagement: Define conversation & content Brand: Identify brand SWOT Experience: Short & long-term Opportunities: Maximize the impact of social strategy Define Objectives: Short & long-term Focus Areas: Identify potential tactics and approaches Readiness: Framework for success Influence: Identify potential tactics and approaches Strategy Development Execution ABOUT SAPIENT GOVERNMENT SERVICES Sapient Government Services, a division of Sapient®, is a leading global provider of consulting, technology, and marketing services to governmental agencies and non-profit organizations. Focused on driving long-term change and transforming the citizen experience, we use technology to help clients become more accessible and transparent. With a track record of innovative solutions and the ability to leverage commercial best practices, we are trusted advisors to organizations including the Library of Congress, National Institutes of Health, United States Department of Health and Human Services, and United States Department of Homeland Security. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter @Sapientgov.
  4. 4. Sapient Government Services