When it comes to spending money to acquire social media likes or followers, government organizations are simply losing an uphill battle.
Tossing money into a gamed and faulty system simply isn’t worth the risk, when you could be investing in more permanent links with individuals in your community. Can social media be fun? Sure. Is social media worth investing heavy dollars into and counting on to be a primary communication link for the communities you serve? Absolutely not. Here’s why.
Many people see public-facing Twitter and Facebook accounts as an easy way to display their organization’s popularity by the numbers. But focusing on those numbers, and the perceived popularity they suggest, can lead to some questionable practices that cause big problems for government organizations.
Most people are aware by now that the effectiveness of social media relies heavily on numbers and complex algorithms, which are changing all the time. More followers, more likes, more retweets, and more comments are supposed to translate to content becoming more visible to the people who follow your organization on Facebook or Twitter.
A multimillion-dollar business has been born out of the buying and selling of false social media interactions in an effort to manipulate these algorithms. The goal of these services is to attempt to increase visibility, or perceived popularity, and many claim to eventually encourage more real human engagement.
But there’s a big problem with these services and this process. Your organization will always be behind the eight ball in a game that simply can’t be won. People are cheating the system now and finding new ways to cheat it all the time, to adjust to the ever-changing algorithms used by social media services. You simply can’t keep pace with people who are buying and selling these fake interactions. And if you do try to keep pace and spend your organization’s budget in this arena, your investment is likely to be both ineffective temporary.
Since Facebook and Twitter are constantly attempting to delete faulty accounts that are used for this type of manipulation, any attention that is gathered from these methods could be destroyed at any second. It’s also important to mention the bad press and embarrassment that can result if your organization is discovered purchasing fake social media interactions.
So why spend time or money investing in a temporary and dangerous social media practice, when you could be using that time and money to invest in a proven direct contact method like your database of email subscribers?
Keep using social media to interact with your community, but whatever you do, avoid buying the buy-in. Since email is the most direct, subscriber-preferred, and effective method of digital communication, your email subscriber base should be your number one priority at all times.
For inspiration and new ways to grow that subscriber base, check out the new GovDelivery Digital Outreach Guide to see a variety of innovative methods that your organization can use to start gaining new email subscribers today.