The federal government doesn’t have the same flexibility with implementing social media plans as the private sector. The feds have to deal with archaic public comment laws, bureaucratic approval processes for messaging, and smaller budgets.
However, despite all that red tape, our researchshows that all 15 cabinet-level departments have some presence on the 3 big social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube).
We’ve been releasing the ACSI E-Government Satisfaction Index since 2003. We’re trying to shake things up a bit, and while we still plan to release quarterly updates on citizen satisfaction and citizen ratings of transparency, we’re trying to supplement that data with other topics of interest to those who are working in e-government, whether at the federal, state, or local level.
So this quarter, two of our usability auditors (thank you Kamaria Campbell and Kathy Totz) did an exhaustive study of what the 15 cabinet-level departments are doing in terms of social media in order to make suggestions and recommendations to other government departments, agencies, and programs. You can download the full report for free on our website.
In addition to the social media best practices, the report also includes satisfaction scores for 100 federal government agencies and our quarterly Transparency Index, which provides a quantitative measurement of how transparent an agency is perceived by citizens. Rhonda Berg does a great job with the satisfaction and transparency data every quarter.
Here are some highlights of the report:
- All 15 executive departments are participating in the three most popular social platforms (Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube).
- Almost half of the 15 departments have more than one presence on a single social media platform.
- Organizations that have a number of presences on one or more social platforms should create an aggregate social media page that lists all of the options with which citizens can interact with them via social media.
- Citizen satisfaction, at 75 on the study’s 100-point scale or higher since late 2009 (with only one exception in the second quarter of 2010, when satisfaction fell briefly to 74.7), shows no sign of waning and maintains an aggregate score of 75.5 in the third quarter of 2011.
- The aggregate Q3 2011 online transparency score is 77.3, which has increased from last quarter and is the highest aggregate transparency score measured so far.
What’s missing from our list of best practices for government social media activities? Any thoughts? We’d love to hear them. I’d also like to hear it if you have ideas for other topics we can include in future ACSI E-Gov Satisfaction Index reports.