Social media and the government go collectively like peanut butter and jelly. Why? As a result of social media is a wonderful place to talk with constituents, launch campaigns, and construct consciousness round initiatives — and it’s a vital software in disaster communications.

At Hootsuite, we work with many ranges of presidency and absolutely perceive how social media has risen to play a big function within the communications methods of presidency our bodies, politicians, and lawmakers worldwide.

Learn on to find how all ranges of presidency, from municipal to provincial to federal, can and ought to use social media.

Key benefits of social media in government

Engage with the public

Whether you focus efforts on TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, or a different platform entirely, social media will always be a solid place to keep the general public informed and updated about important issues and engage with an audience on a deeper level.

@trafficservices #Inverted ♬ original sound – Toronto Police Traffic Unit

The Toronto Police Site visitors Service Division, for instance, hosts common AMA (ask me anything) classes on TikTok. A consultant fields questions on every part from whether or not individuals in labor can run pink lights (no, apparently!) to the legality of after-market steering wheels.

Speaking and fascinating with constituents will assist set up and construct credibility and belief, so long as you don’t use social media to broadcast messages and really interact with individuals who comply with you. Extra on this later!

When you’re severe about utilizing social media to mobilize voters, try Nextdoor, an app that native governments use to prepare city halls, educate residents on issues of safety, and have interaction neighborhood teams.

Present individuals who you actually are

We’ll stage with you right here… politicians don’t precisely have the best rep’. Stereotyped as dishonest, grasping, and a bit sleazy, there’s a possibility to shift perceptions through the use of social media for presidency communications and constructing a private model that’s constructed on transparency.

The U.S. consultant for New York’s 14th congressional district, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (generally referred to as AOC), has completed this to great influence through her Twitter account.

By being authentically herself and utilizing images to assist the anecdotes and information she shares along with her constituents, AOC has considerably grown her following and created a private model for herself that’s relatable, sincere, and bona fide. This genuine method helped AOC scale her presence on the platform by 600% in seven months.

AOC Twitter followers growth graph
Supply: The Guardian

Social media additionally humanizes politicians and makes them extra accessible and accountable to most people. In fact, this could backfire if a politician posts social media content material deemed socially unacceptable. That is your warning that whoever is accountable for a authorities social media account has to know what’s and what’s not acceptable to share (we’re you, Anthony Weiner!)

Disaster communication

There’s been greater than sufficient crises’ occurring throughout the globe previously few years. The COVID-19 pandemic, Brexit, the January sixth rebel, and the occupation of Ukraine by Russian forces are just a few situations the place decisions out of most people’s management or choices from lawmakers have impacted the world.

When occasions like these talked about above happen, individuals flip to social media to hunt out and supply info, hold up-to-speed with the most recent information, and quell their fears by laughing at just a few memes.

Individuals additionally look to the federal government for management when occasions get tough, so it is smart that lawmakers, politicians, and governments use social media as a platform to handle disaster comms and supply common, official updates to residents the world over.

On the flip facet, a disaster and social media can shortly turn into a breeding floor for misinformation. For instance, in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly 50% of US adults noticed lots or some pretend information in regards to the disaster, and almost 70% say that pretend information causes an excessive amount of confusion.

To counteract this, governments should spend money on social media listening to assist them determine inaccuracies and reply accordingly — particularly as residents will probably be seeking to authorities social media accounts to offer them with correct and goal info.

However don’t really feel like it’s important to interact with each false remark or publish you come throughout in your social listening efforts. Some content material is perhaps too wildly incorrect to warrant a reply. Nevertheless, in the event you see many social media customers spreading misinformation, use official channels to set the file straight.

Want extra intel? Learn How to Use Social Media for Crisis Communications and Emergency Management and set your group up for fulfillment.

Launch and develop campaigns

Social media isn’t only a place for companies to share their newest product launch or develop their enterprise with engagement and neighborhood. Politicians perceive the ability of a digital city corridor to launch their very own initiatives and concepts.

Moreover, social media is a wonderful house to check marketing campaign messaging. The technique is low stakes, and also you get instantaneous suggestions from individuals around the globe. Social media can also be a possibility to go viral, see what’s trending, and measure your relevancy.

Politicians may also use social media to align themselves with initiatives and tendencies. Within the instance under, US Senator Elizabeth Warren tells her viewers the place she stands on the US Roe vs. Wade state of affairs.

Elizabeth Warren pro-abortion Roe v. Wade tweet

Low price (however excessive stakes)

Political campaigns run on donations, so saving cash is at all times on the forefront of presidency decision-making. Lengthy earlier than social media existed, politicians and governments had to make use of conventional media, e.g., tv advert slots, newspapers, and door-to-door flyering, to boost the profile of candidates. This was a high-cost initiative that had an immeasurable influence.

In distinction, social media offers the federal government with a low-stakes entry level to construct consciousness of its initiatives, develop private manufacturers, and have interaction with most people. The technique is fully measurable, so you’ll be able to actively see how your marketing campaign finances is spent and which social campaigns have essentially the most important influence.

When you want just a few pointers, try our information on How to Prove and Improve Your Social Media ROI for invaluable suggestions and insights on measuring marketing campaign efficiency.

Challenges of social media in authorities

Messaging is hard to get proper

In 2014, South Dakota launched a marketing campaign to warn individuals towards jerking the steering wheel when swerving on black ice. The hashtag chosen by the state’s Division of Public Security? The sexually suggestive double entendre “Don’t Jerk and Drive.”

Finally, the marketing campaign was pulled, and Trevor Jones, secretary of the Division of Public Security, said in a statement, “This is a crucial security message, and I don’t need this innuendo to distract from our purpose to avoid wasting lives on the street.” Honest sufficient!

Social media and authorities communications don’t at all times work out as they need to, and generally, even what looks as if the best marketing campaign concept can backfire.

Generally, social isn’t the appropriate factor to do

Social media is a spot the place headlines are created, storms whipped up, and opinions are shared. Sadly, this could have a adverse influence on delicate or delicate political conditions.

In February 2022, WNBA star and American citizen Brittney Griner was detained in Russia on a drug-smuggling allegation, however little to no fanfare was created on social media—not even a trending #FreeBrittney.

The choice to not create consciousness of Brittney’s case was a conscious choice as a result of political stress between the US and Russia concerning the occupation of Ukraine. The thought is that Griner’s standing as a Black, overtly lesbian athlete might result in her changing into a political pawn in heightened negotiations between Russia and the US concerning the battle in Ukraine.

Relating to the case, there’s been no public callout from President Joe Biden or high-profile different US officers to carry consciousness to Griner’s state of affairs, and for now, possibly that’s the perfect factor to do.

You’ll get known as out

Social media is a harsh actuality, and folks will name you out, so make certain what you say is true.

Right here’s an excellent instance from Congressman Eric Swalwell, who Tweeted a photograph of a Delight flag with the caption, “I fly these flags three hundred and sixty five days a yr.” Sadly, Swalwell’s followers shortly identified that the flag nonetheless had creases from being unpackaged moments earlier. Higher luck subsequent time, Eric.

You’ll turn into a meme

I’m as soon as once more reminding you that social media is a spot the place you’ll be able to turn into a meme.

(And in case you missed it, under is the notorious Bernie Sanders meme that unfold like wildfire throughout social media in early 2020).

Bernie Sanders Hootsuite sign up

Typically, the outcomes of getting your phrases and picture become a meme are pretty innocent. However proceed with warning, as the way in which they’re used will probably be out of your management.

5 suggestions for utilizing social media in authorities

There are two sorts of social media accounts: soapboxes and dinner events. A soapbox social media account focuses on themselves. They use social media to broadcast messages and points with out partaking with their viewers.

Then again, a cocktail party social media account invitations audiences in and creates a dialogue with them. They encourage dialogue and engagement between the host (you) and the company (your viewers).

You need to ensure you’re working a cocktail party account for social media and authorities communications. Listed below are 5 recommendations on how you are able to do precisely that.

1. Study the place your constituents spend time (on-line)

It’s essential to perceive the channel the place your audience hangs out so that you just’re not losing invaluable time and assets campaigning into the void.

For instance, in the event you’re a politician counting on swaying youthful voters to hold a poll, you’ll in all probability need to concentrate on TikTok or Instagram Reels as a result of that is usually the place Gen-Z spends essentially the most time. Equally, if you wish to whip up left-leaning men with a college degree right into a frenzy, focus your consideration on Twitter.

Keep in mind AOC, who we chatted about earlier? In 2020, she hosted a online game reside stream on Twitch to assist her attain youthful audiences who will not be acquainted with or thinking about politics.

Marketing on Twitch may not swimsuit each political candidate, so it’ll be your resolution whether or not you assume the streaming platform is the proper place so that you can interact with an viewers. And in the event you need assistance understanding the way to uncover your audience on social media, wrap your eyes round How to Find and Target Your Social Media Audience to get began.

2. Share related, invaluable content material and data

Construct viewers belief and engagement by sharing related and fascinating content material, and audiences will naturally flip to you as a legitimate supply of data and data.

The BC Parks Instagram account does this nicely. The group makes use of Instagram to share info, suggestions, and insights into what’s occurring throughout the province’s in depth roster of parks.

3. Preserve residents engaged

Would you ever attend a cocktail party and sit there silently, not becoming a member of within the dialog? Clearly not, and social media isn’t any totally different. Authorities officers, lawmakers, and authorities accounts want to have interaction with their audiences by replying to messages, becoming a member of conversations, and answering questions.

Do not forget that social media is all about creating neighborhood. So ask questions, create opinion polls (Twitter has an important characteristic that lets you do that!), and reply to feedback out of your followers—you by no means know whether or not your response will change a voter’s mindset.

You possibly can even repost content material posted by your constituents as a type of engagement, just like the Authorities of New Jersey retweeted these images of an attractive sundown in Central New Jersey.

When you’re struggling to maintain up with all of the messages you obtain, onboard a software like Hootsuite, the place you’ll be able to effortlessly streamline your comms into one tidy dashboard.

With Hootsuite’s Inbox, you’ll be able to bridge the hole between citizen engagement and essential on-line communications — and handle all your social media messages in a single place. This contains:

  • Personal messages and DMs
  • Public messages and posts in your profiles
  • Darkish and natural feedback
  • Mentions
  • Emoji reactions

… and extra.

The all-in-one agent workspace makes it simple to 

  • Monitor the historical past of any particular person’s interactions together with your social accounts throughout platforms, giving your group the context wanted to personalize replies
  • Add notes to particular person constituent’s profiles (Inbox integrates with Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics)
  • Deal with messages as a group, with intuitive message queues, process assignments, statuses, and filters
  • Monitor response occasions and CSAT metrics

A full screen view of the Hootsuite Inbox agent workspace for social media managers and social customer service agents.

Book a free demo

Plus, Inbox comes with helpful automations:

  • Automated message routing
  • Auto-responses and saved replies
  • Routinely triggered satisfaction surveys
  • AI-powered chatbot options

4. Keep safe

A social media safety breach will critically undermine most people’s confidence in authorities. Plus, U.S. laws requires all cloud companies utilized by federal authorities companies to satisfy a meticulous set of safety requirements referred to as FedRAMP.

The only method to make sure that your accounts keep safe is by onboarding a social media administration platform to handle all of your social media accounts and exercise throughout a number of groups or individuals.

Hootsuite is FedRAMP-authorized and comes with two-factor authentication for an extra layer of safety. Whenever you centralize your social media administration with Hootsuite, you’ve gotten full management to evaluation and approve messages, log all exercise and interactions, and arrange publish evaluation and approvals.

When you want extra particulars, learn by means of our step-by-step guide to social media security for extra recommendations on the way to defend your group on-line, whether or not or not you utilize Hootsuite.

5. Stay compliant

Remaining compliant with privateness necessities is vital for any authorities physique. For giant organizations with a number of social media practitioners, establishing greatest practices for social media use may help make sure the collective compliance of all users.

Guidelines in the direction of acceptable and forbidden content material, information dealing with, citizen engagement, and even tone are just a few greatest apply examples organizations can implement to maintain their group compliant.

When you manage social for a government or agency using Hootsuite, our companions’ social media archiving integrations make it simple to remain compliant with the Freedom of Data Act (FOIA), Normal Information Safety Regulation (GDPR), and different public information legal guidelines.

Lately, authorities our bodies and their staff have responded to dramatic shifts in public expectations of political and authorities discourse.

Progressive policymakers and their workers are shortly adapting by creating extremely partaking social content material to rally follower assist, whereas additionally remaining absolutely compliant and safe. For any authorities physique eager to seize and preserve public sentiment and engagement, embracing the brand new period of social media discourse is essential to success.

Examples of presidency social media campaigns


In the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the US Centre for Illness Management and Prevention was understandably slightly busy. However that didn’t cease the federal government company from pulling off efficient COVID-related campaigns and messaging on social media to assist hold most people knowledgeable.

Washington State Dept. of Pure Sources

Authorities social media doesn’t need to be dry or boring — simply ask whoever’s working social accounts for the Washington State Division of Pure Sources.

Their Twitter affords well timed, related info packaged in meme-friendly posts that always go viral.

Their alt textual content sport is fairly sturdy too:

government social media washington state department of natural resources alt text

Via Washington State Dept. of Natural Resources on Twitter


The US Meals and Drug Administration is just about accountable for saying whether or not a product or foodstuff is protected for the general public to make use of or not. So, it’s vital that their social media channels share factually appropriate info.

Listed below are a few examples of how the FDA has used social media to this impact.

Biden #BuildBackBetter

forty sixth President of the USA, Joe Biden, used social media to achieve leverage and develop momentum for his Build Back Better marketing campaign all through 2020 and 2021.

By leveraging the ability of the hashtag, Biden’s group was ready to make sure a catchy slogan and a measurable marketing campaign by analyzing the success and tendencies of the hashtag.

FAQs about social media and authorities

What does the federal government do with social media?

Authorities companies and officers use social media for constituent engagement, constructing consciousness round initiatives, and disaster communications.

How does native authorities use social media?

Native governments use social media to attach with residents, promote occasions and native initiatives, and recruit new staff.

What social media platforms are the perfect for the federal government?

Authorities companies and officers of all ranges must be current on the social media platforms utilized by their constituents. The reply will differ relying on the place your company operates and who you’re attempting to succeed in together with your on-line communications. That stated, many individuals use Twitter to entry information and updates from politicians, so it is perhaps a great place to start out.

Inform and have interaction on social media with Hootsuite. From a single dashboard, you’ll be able to schedule and publish content material to each community, monitor related conversations, and measure public sentiment round packages and insurance policies with real-time social listening and analytics. See it in motion.

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