It’s to see the vast majority of governments around the world as nameless, faceless, impersonal or even untrustworthy – particularly those with a dicey past of instability and volatility or those still categorized as developing. Governments achieve this negative and often damaging public image because the prevailing culture of their administrations remain steeped in traditional ideas about public relations, social media and stakeholder outreach.
Classical notions about communication – even those a few years old – have become antiquated in the hyper-connected digital age. Just as privately held companies struggle to embrace social media to manage brand reputations, governments must leverage digital power accordingly to communicate with citizens, stakeholders and the world. These are key to improving local image, global standing and international competitiveness.
While governments certainly face challenges in using social media tools, the benefits of embracing such tactics far outweigh the negatives and the costs are minimal. Social technologies make engagement with the public simple and powerful, improve the accuracy and spread of research, identify influencers, provide mechanisms for combating opposition, and measure public sentiment to help inform public policy.
Social media tactics allow government entities to effectively measure and leverage public sentiment in real time to assist in the dissemination of public policy and achieve critical buy-in.