Just like so many everyday citizens and private companies, the U.S. government just wants to be “liked.” An Inspector General has published a report indicating that the U.S. government spent $630,000 to earn the “likes” that it craved to help engage U.S. citizens.
The Inspector General’s finely tuned report gets to the heart of the matter with its single-digit coverage of social media – within its total 57 pages – and breaks down the important numbers. While the U.S. Government’s two campaigns, with a combined price tag of $630,000, did increase its fan following from approximately 100,000 to over 2 million, this 2,000-percent increase may sound more impressive than it truly is in reality.
Simply gaining followers and those who have access to the U.S. government’s running newsfeed is the main target for many businesses and individuals seeking a following, but this following does not automatically translate into meaningful engagement. If individuals who have “liked” the page never follow up and participate in any meaningful way, were these two campaigns really a success? Many social media dashboards and brand marketers believe that is all it takes. However, this is the U.S. government “buying fans” for their page, and several members of the Bureau have expressed their concern over this practice, especially since the fans show no signs of engaging any further.
The legitimate concern comes down to a classic quantity versus quality issue. Casting the widest net in marketing is not necessarily the smartest strategy. Rather, marketing to your prime audience and those who are most enthusiastic about engaging are where these campaigns should be aimed. When marketers find the right audience, their message will not ultimately fall on deaf ears, or distracted eyes, in this case.
What’s worse is that marketers, in this case the U.S. government, eventually need to spend more money on their elusive fan base since, after a period of no activity, they fall from a fan’s newsfeed and have to try and regain their interest. Additionally, with a lack of coordination and duplication efforts, the Inspector General’s report indicates that, similar to civilian marketers, the U.S. government missed the mark in its social media campaign. Do you follow any governmental facebook pages?
Cover image courtesy of viralblog