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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Why does Government continue to fail at social media?

Despite avidly using social media myself I am the first to admit that it is a young person's game. It is also a very democratic media in which people vote with their feet.

If you do not capture people's imagination straight away and find a way to keep their attention then you will find that you are talking to yourself. In that respect the likes of Twitter and Facebook are not conventional marketing tools in which you can force your message onto people with persistent advertising. It is a shame that Government has not learnt that lesson.

Today's Times reports that more than £1 million of taxpayers’ money has been spent on failed social media campaigns by government departments in the past three years, including £20,000 on a Facebook promotion that only attracted 2,000 “likes”.

They say that 11 ministerial departments spent a total of £1,172,496 to promote policies and campaigns between 2012 and 2015:

The Ministry of Justice spent £20,000 on a Facebook campaign about restorative justice, while the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills paid Twitter £3,428 for two advertisements.

The House of Lords spent nearly £600 on an IT course in 2013 that was attended by one staff member.

The Cabinet Office spent the highest amount, paying £394,979 to advertise its “GREAT Britain campaign”, encouraging people to do business in the UK.

Bryony Morris, a social media strategist, said that while it was positive to see attempts to reach the public, the levels of engagement were “not good”.

“They [the departments] are wasting money, and should probably consider using a different platform,” she said.

Despite this spokesperson from the Ministry of Justice does not get it. He said: “It is crucial that we utilise all available media channels to raise the public’s awareness of important issues.”.

Well yes, but doing the same thing over and over again is not going to get better results.
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