This week’s assignment is to identify and analyze an example of “Industry-Specific Social Media.” So, I thought, if we’re talking industry, I might as well go big. The biggest, in fact. No, not cat videos – although I admittedly considered that at length. I’m talking about Government. The works – Federal/State/Municipal. The largest employer in the universe. And, yes, they do have their own industry-specific social media.
The most impressive example I could find of a social network geared specifically for government types is GovLoop. GovLoop describes itself on its home page as the “Knowledge Net for Government – the premiere social network connecting over 150,000 federal, state, and local government innovators.” The home page also states very clearly that is has 200,000 members – right next to the section that indicates they have just over 8,000 “active” members. So, it’s a social network for either 200,000 or 150,000 or 8,000 government employees – they’re apparently not quite sure. (Insert your own joke right here.)
GovLoop was founded in 2008 by Stephen Ressler, a US Department of Homeland Security Information Specialist. He has since left government service and is now employed as the CEO of… GovLoop. (Insert next joke here) The network was purchased by Twin Cities-based GovDelivery, a government communications firm, in 2009.
A search through the site indicates that it is not quite as diverse as the audience it claims to target – it has a very heavy federal government emphasis – although it does host some material for workers at the state and local levels as well. Truth be told, much of the information is pretty industry-blind (e.g. – Out-of-Office: 7 Tips Before Vacationing; 5 Easy Ways to Get Your Team to Trust You; The Three Steps to Securing Your Data; etc.)
Regardless, it absolutely does exist as an easily-accessible resource for its users, and there could be very important, very usable information shared there for them.
Official posting categories include:
Training – Best practices in project management; Defending your agency against cybercriminals; Protecting Your Data (lots and lots and lots of material on “data” and how to protect it)
Resources – A massive trove of articles and posts on acronyms (FedRamp, GSA, SaaS, GIS, DoD); Winning the Cybersecurity Battle; Quizzes (Knope vs Pope!)
Communication – Citizen engagement (When Crying at Work is a Good Thing); Technology (um…Protecting Your Data in the Cloud)
Jobs – Careers in HR, Management, and Cybersecurity (Okay, I made that last one up.)
There are topical resources like calculators for figuring out your per diem, figuring out how your salary stacks up against the GS-10 in Indianapolis, and figuring out how to charge for working at home.
There are numerous posts, subjects, articles, etc., on GovLoop that exist strictly for the target market and would really not stand out or be particularly noticed or shared on Facebook or Google+ or Pinterest, but taken as part of the whole that is GovLoop, they are all important stones in a pretty strong wall. GovLoop is very relevant to its audience – the government employee – and offers that employee unique resources along with the common ones. It also does reveal an overall undertone of agency/agency and agency/business collaboration and wanting both Government and employee to be successful.
There is a home page tab and drop-down leading to 51 PAGES OF GROUPS, each identifying entry indicating how many members are in the group. The largest group I saw was the Rock Your Resume! gathering with 2,064 job hunters looking to move up or move out.
Don’t worry, the Cybersecurity Issues group is going strong with 300 members.
The Jobs Board and the aforementioned Resources trove also would serve users with material that is more targeted to them than anything they might find – in bulk, at least – on any other social channel, even LinkedIn. These are all factors, in my opinion, that GovLoop is just as relevant business-wise as any other platform, if not more so, to government workers of many stripes.
I also recently* conducted a poll of government workers near me** and 100% of them surprised me with feedback that showed they were not only aware of GovLoop, but also receive daily emails from the network that are both anticipated and welcome. (Proximity Marketing Target Alert!) GovLoop is absolutely an enterprise that could benefit – and help its users benefit – from the implementation of proximity marketing. If GovLoop just pushed its community to enter a little info into its extraordinarily secure database, we could have these scenarios:
A GovLooped-in smartphone-carrying pedestrian walks past the Post Office and gets a message: “First Class Stamps on Sale! BOGO!” Okay, I guess that’s not going to happen – but it could be “Just in! Wright Brothers First Flight at Kittyhawk Stamps now available inside!”
A GovLooper at the DMV ordering his GoGators vanity plate gets an alert: “Your birthday is next week. Better check your driver’s license expiration!” Or vice-versa, the guy’s in to renew his driver’s license and gets the “Be sure to check out our selection of University of Florida supporter auto tags! Just $89!”***
A GovLooped hyper-target in the security line at the airport gets pinged: “Hey, Jick! We just nabbed your SSN at the ticketing counter. Ask the nearest TSA Agent about how to prevent that from happening!”
Think about it. There are government offices EVERYWHERE! The possibilities are endless.
If you were tasked with putting together an Integrated Marketing Communication plan for “Government,” you would be one exhorbitantly-paid independent contractor with a truthfully impossible job. However, if we break this down a bit and you were only having to do an IMC plan for a single agency with a single objective like attracting job applicants, then you might use GovLoop as your home base channel (you could communicate directly with the “Rock Your Resume!” kids among other things). Additionally though, you could incorporate LinkedIn (for hitting the professional contact network), Twitter (short, sweet, re-tweetables with links to job postings), email, a little old-school trade journal classified advertising, and, by all means, proximity marketing. Seriously, there are a lot of people looking for jobs/new jobs out there (see: Rock Your Resume!). Why not reach out to them with a little friendly pinging when they’re in your immediate area?:
“It’s Nancy in Purchasing’s last day! Interested in her job? Decent pay, LOTS of holidays, and we’ll teach you how to protect your data from cybercrooks! Inquire within.”
**living in my house
Rein, Lisa – August 2010 – http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/06/AR2010080606461_2.html