Report: How Government Uses Social Media Tools

The new Social Government Benchmark Report by GovLoop and Hootsuite analyzed the results of a survey of public sector employees currently involved in social media strategy and use of social media tools by their agencies.

The survey explored issues around proving the value of social media, identifying key benefits of improving agencies’ social strategy and sharing insights into planning and implementing of enterprise level social media management for government.

About 70 percent of respondents work in state and local government. Citizen engagement is their number one use case -- with 77 percent of respondents identifying it as their top social media priority. However, only 43 percent of the respondents said their agency or leadership teams view social media as a strategic platform.

The disconnect would seemingly affect resources and does little to address the social media skills gap identified by government professionals. It also would impede progress in developing integrated social channel strategies that could improve citizen engagement.

“A disconnect in resources is a big driver -- you can’t have a social media presence promoting citizen engagement without dedicated resources behind it. However, what we believe is the number one issue driving this disconnect is the lack of training and education on social at the executive level in a government agency, which ultimately leads to a decline in resources available and strategic direction on social. The other issue is when there is no clearly defined department/division that is in charge of social media and without an advocate, social can be often misunderstood. When you look at some of the most successful government agencies on social, there is often buy in and excitement at the top - which trickles down throughout the entire government. For example. look at city of Boston where Mayor Marty Walsh is an active advocate of social media, and that advocacy runs through the agency, where social is a strategic platform for providing services to citizens,” Ben Cathers, government social media expert and principal solution consultant at Hootsuite, explained to Gov1.

The Social Media Tools Governments Use

According to the report, 11 percent of respondents post to social networks without any social media management tools, whereas 32 percent of respondents are using a social media management platform to coordinate their efforts. Further, 22 percent of respondents use social listening tools to monitor topics and social media conversations while 12 percent use archiving solutions and 3 percent use a tool that supports social media regulatory compliance.


Based on top challenges identified in survey responses, the report addresses three key opportunities for governments to improve their use of social media:

  • Empower teams with skills, tools and strategy
  • Prove and improve return on investment
  • Take control of social media security

Cathers recommended better social media reporting directly related to organizational engagement to show executive leadership how citizens are better served because of social media presence in order to enhance support for needed resources.

Review and download the report:

Hootsuite Social Government Benchmark Report 2018 by Ed Praetorian on Scribd

Andrea Fox is Editor of and Senior Editor at Lexipol. She is based in Massachusetts.