GovDelivery surveyed more than 600 government agencies to determine how they were meeting their audience's expectations and varying needs. One of the trends includes more investment in building an online presence to scale and meeting the needs of constituents, leaning heavily on social media to promote access to services and promote public awareness. So if this is the case, what is the actual impact of social media posts for public agencies?
OECD sums it up very well in that some aspects of impact measurement for social media can be borrowed from the private sector with regards to presence, popularity, penetration, and perception. But it's around purpose that impact measurement agendas will split between the private sector and government. Virtually all companies will want to calculate the return on social media investments based on whether it helps them improve their financial returns. That's different in the public sector where purpose is rarely defined in commercial terms.
A good impact assessment for social media in the public sector therefore needs to be built around its unique purpose-orientation. This is much more difficult to measure and it will involve a mix of quantitative data (e.g. reach of target audience) and qualitative data (e.g. case studies describing tangible impact). Social Media Use by Governments proposes a framework to start looking at social media measurement in gradual steps - from measuring presence, to popularity, to penetration, to perception, and finally, to purpose-orientation. The aim of this framework is to help governments develop truly relevant metrics and start treating social media activity by governments with the same public management rigor that is applied to other government activities.
How do you measure social media within your public sector organization or nonprofit? What do you think of OECD's report and the framework for government social media metrics? Weigh in on this post.