How 15 Federal Executive Departments Use Facebook

U.S. government pages on Facebook mostly follow accepted practices for customer satisfaction.

U.S. federal government pages on Facebook mostly follow accepted practices for customer satisfaction.

So concludes ForeSee, a firm possibly better known for its compilation of the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

The government version of this quarterly index came out today, analyzing the following federal departments:

  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of Defense
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Department of Justice
  • Department of Labor
  • Department of State
  • Department of the Interior
  • Department of the Treasury
  • Department of Transportation
  • Department of Veterans Affairs

And here are ForeSee’s findings for Facebook:

  • All 15 departments have a Facebook presence.
  • All of them are using at least one standard Facebook application (notes, discussions [at least until October 31], photos, links, events, videos).
  • 11 of the 15 departments’ Facebook pages include custom pages or third-party tools (YouTube, Flickr), which are devoted to content that the departments want to feature, as well as comments, policies, and welcome statements.
  • All 15 pages have vanity addresses and official names that reflect the proper name of the departments or their elected leaders.

The report also offered a set of best practices for government agencies using Facebook, including:

  • Only include applications if they will be consistently maintained, and turn off standard applications if associated content has not been provided (11 of the 15 agencies complied with this).
  • Use a separate tab to house policies on comments if those policies are too long to fit in a standard field, or if they are longer than two paragraphs (four agencies did this).
  • Vanity URLs should reflect the official name of each department or the official leading it (all 15 were in compliance).

ForeSee President and Chief Executive Officer Larry Freed said:

Social media is no longer a nice to have, but a necessity in both the private sector and the public sector. It’s just the way people communicate now. The good news is that federal departments are participating in social media; the bad news is that efforts are happening at a variety of levels, and the effect can be muddled for citizens.

Readers: What have your experiences been with the Facebook pages of government, agencies, either U.S. or overseas?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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