Government Online Community Building: How to Increase Followers & Engagement Lessons from The...

Government Online Community Building: How to Increase Followers & Engagement Lessons from The GovLoop Playbook

Transcript of Government Online Community Building: How to Increase Followers & Engagement Lessons from The...

Government Online Community Building: How to Increase Followers

& Engagement

Lessons fromThe GovLoop



Public Service is Awesome

• Do-Gooder:Do-Gooder: 3rd Gen Public Servant, DHS Fellow, Multiple Gov Agencies

• Innovator:Innovator: Co-Founder, Young Government Leaders

• Award Winner:Award Winner: 2006 Rising Star Award, 2007 Fed 100 Winner

• Speaker:Speaker: 25+ Conferences, Brookings, Harvard Kennedy School

• Author:Author: Wikinomics, Federal Times, Public Manager

• Athlete: Athlete: Used to be good at golf – 3rd in State

• Scholar: Scholar: Recovering Sociologist - Miami (OH) and UPenn

• Gentleman: Gentleman: Likes Cats and Babies





Millions of government employees

working on similar issues but no safe place

to connect and share best practices.

SolutioSolution:n: Online community.

Hub to connect disparate conversations/events.

New technology leveraged to collaborate.

3 Things You’ll Learn Today1 - Lessons from growing from

0 to 35,000+ government leaders2 - Lessons from a year of talking to non-profits,

for-profits, government agencies3 - 10 Step Approach to Building Audience and

Community with Real Live EPA example

2 Questions I Think About• How to Grow GovLoop

– Increase Engagement (Make It More Useful -Measured in PVs, Open Rates, Feedback)

– Reach More People (Measure in # of Members, Active Members, Growth Rate of Members)

My Last Year of Research

How Others Increased Audience & Engagement

• Studied for-profit communities (Dogster, Catster, Job sites, ITToolbox, Sermo, Facebook, IWillTeachYouToBeRich,, WhoRunsGov, Craigslist, UserVoice, dating sites)

• Studied for-profit commerce (GroupOn, Hubspot, email marketers, Priceline, etc)

• Studied non-profit campaigns (Causes, Charity: Water, Neighbors4Neighbors)

• Studied political sector (EccoDigital, BlueState, Direct Media Strategies)

What I’ve Learned

• It’s REALLY REALLY Hard• There’s a talent/skill• Hard to be consistent• There’s a difference between

just doing it and doing it well• Lots of optimization opportunities (channels,

frequency, types, content)


• What are the Goals of Private/Non-Profit/Political Web and Social Media Presence?

• Reach large number of relevant stakeholders• Build relationships with them• Provide clear, timely, actionable information• Take ACTION with your information (Usually involves $)



• Big Cat Rescue – Animal Rescue in Tampa, FL– Get lots of people aware of them– Get them to Subscribe to Content– Provide compelling content– Ask to Give $ or Visit Park– 23k fans, 100+ Likes per post

10 Consistent Themes• 1 - Create Great Content (interesting, fun, quality)• 2 - Regular, consistent content• 3 - Many types of content (blogs, videos, photos)• 4 – Get them to Sign Up somewhere• 5 - Multiple, cross-promoted channels (email, text, FB, Twitter,

own communities)• 6 - Authentic and interesting voice• 7 - Personalization – speaking to people not just masses• 8 - Calls to action• 9 - Move Up Commitment Curve (ask if want more)• 10 -Online and offline events


• Government not very good at building audience and engagement

• Haven’t focused resources (time, staff, money, training) on it

• You aren’t paid for it – non-profit / for-profit measures in $ and votes

BUT It Matters A LOT• Government mission to serve all its citizens• Cost of Misinformation• Cost of citizen inaction• Attack on brand – agency loyalty and trust• Defend your program budgets• Take actions that save $ and

increase revenue

What EPA Web Goals?

• What are the Goals of EPA Web and Social Media Presence?


• Reach large number of stakeholders (citizens, state/local government, experts, NGO/non-profits, etc)

• Build relationships with them• Provide clear, timely, actionable information• Stakeholders take action with your information

RULE 1Identify Identify

What is the problem you want to solve ?

EPA ExampleIdentify Identify

EPA lacks engaged audience on a rapidly growing topic – Renewable Energy•EPA wants to be thought leader in space•Lack of great compelling content•Want to increase engagement w/ stakeholders•Administration priority

Build renewable energy online community

RULE 2LogisticsLogistics

What is the time frame? To launch? Is it a campaign? Is it on-going?How does it tie into our other initiatives?What is our budget?What is our staff?What technology to use?

EPA Example

LogisticsLogistics3 months to launchOn-going project$50,000Staff – existing Web staff, 1 Program lead, 1 program assistantUse existing technology plus new collaboration software

RULE 3Defining SuccessDefining Success

What is success?Size of audience?Quality of engagement?Press/accolades?

EPA Example

Defining SuccessDefining SuccessHigh-quality engagement among renewable energy thought leaders

1,000 active members by 1 year (based on relevant association size, other sites)

10 press mentions

RULE 4EnlistmentEnlistment

Who are our stakeholders?Where is the target audience currently?What else exists?What have we done in past?What other F/S/L doing?

EPA ExampleEnlistmentEnlistment

RULE 5Experts and PartnersExperts and Partners

Who are the experts on the topic?Who are the connectors in the industry?What are potential partner sites?What is our ask of them?How can we incentivize them?Develop outreach materials

EPA ExampleExperts and PartnersExperts and Partners

RULE 6Community StrategyCommunity Strategy

Community ManagersCommunity LeadersReward StructuresLeaderboardsWhat are the Rules?What’s In It for You?On-boarding process

EPA ExampleCommunity StrategyCommunity Strategy

5 Internal Community ModeratorsCreate EPA Community GuidelinesLaunch leaderboards

RULE 7Content StrategyContent Strategy

What content do we have?What do we need to create?What content popular?Who will create content?What content doesn’t exist?What unique content do we have?What is the content frequency?Where’s the fun?

EPA Example

Content StrategyContent Strategy

RULE 8LaunchLaunch

Invite early adoptersGet buy-inHost a PartyMarketing/outreach on launchProvide swag

EPA ExampleLaunchLaunch

Pictures on invitesPartyConferenceSwag

RULE 9Start DoingStart Doing

Follow StrategyDo OutreachProduce regular contentEngage with community


RULE 9Start DoingStart Doing

RULE 10MeasureMeasure

What is working?What type of content popular?What type of frequency popular?What are our key problems?

EPA ExampleMeasureMeasure

Weekly/Monthly ReportsWeb AnalyticsCommunity Analytics

Continuous ImprovementContinuous ImprovementFresh ContentFresh VolunteersNew TechnologyFresh StaffConsistency is Hard

1.1. Ask ?s / Read Case StudiesAsk ?s / Read Case Studies

2.2. Places/Help on G2G CollaborationPlaces/Help on G2G Collaboration

3.3. Share/Replicate Best PracticesShare/Replicate Best Practices

4.4. Honor/Highlight Public ServiceHonor/Highlight Public Service

Here to Help

Topics?1.1. Climate ChangeClimate Change

2.2. RadiationRadiation

3.3. Environmental IssuesEnvironmental Issues

4.4. PesticidesPesticides

5.5. GrantsGrants

6. Solar energy6. Solar energy

7. Research 7. Research

8. Transportation8. Transportation

9. Procurement 9. Procurement

10. ??? Tell Us?10. ??? Tell Us?

Steve ResslerSteve ResslerFounder and [email protected]@GovLoop