Email Communications for Government in the Era of Social Media

It’s hard to dispute that 2011 was the year of social media. The average number of tweets on Twitter rose from 50 million to 140 million. LinkedIn set records as the largest Internet IPO since Google. And over half of Facebook’s 845 million users logged in daily. Some headlines even claimed that “email is dead.”

But the truth is, even in the midst of a social media revolution, email communications is more important than ever. In the private sector, email marketing continues to provide a relatively high ROI, with an expected $44.25 average return on a dollar by the end of 2011 according to the Direct Marketing Association. A majority of companies expect to increase their email marketing budget this year, and for many companies, email delivers more traffic to their website than any other traffic source. And while you don’t work in the private sector, your goal to communicate your organization’s message is similar.

Email remains and will remain popular as a source to receive information that’s easily searchable. Plus, email works across platforms – a user on Gmail can send a message to Hotmail or Yahoo Mail. In contrast, content on social media may remain more isolated with no universal sharing or searching.

For government organizations, the smart response to the changing face of digital communications is to recognize that while social media will not result in the “death of email” anytime soon, it has certainly changed the way people use it. Your organization must adapt to the new ways your audience seeks out, consumes and responds to online content. Key trends in email and social media that will impact your organization’s communications efforts include:

  • Social media users are significantly more likely to frequently check their email. What are you doing to encourage your social media followers to subscribe to your emails, and vice versa? How are you targeting your communications for this group of users?
  • Younger users are leaving web-based email but simultaneously driving the growth of email usage on smart phones and tablets. How are you updating your communications to reach mobile users?
  • Email will continue to be popular with users who appreciate predictability and reliability. Consider what your audience expects from your communication outreach campaigns and preserve the elements that work.

What is your government organization trying to accomplish with their digital communications efforts? Reach a wider audience? Keep citizens informed? Consider the topics that will spark interest with your readers, how readers will be most likely to respond, and what delivery method will provide messages that are both relevant and timely. Will your message be best received through email, social media or both?

For more information on why government organizations should consider an integrated email and social media marketing approach, check out all of GovDelivery’s blog posts on email communication and social media.

What is your agency doing to strengthen email communications in the social media era?

 

 

Inspiration for blog post from “Why Social Shouldn’t Scare Email Marketers“.

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