Tag Archives: Social Media

Government websites – are they still relevant?

Last week I attended my first eMetrics conference in Sydney. It was the first time eMetrics had come to Australia. Jim Sterne gave the opening keynote address. He was fantastic to listen to – both informative and entertaining!

His opening gambit was to ask the participants what were the three reasons for them being there in the room?

My three reasons were:

1. How to determine the return on investment (ROI) for government websites;

2. How government websites can better meet the needs of their customers;

3. How government websites can reach the people they are missing.

His keynote then went on to talk about how the market place is a conversation, its not about cost its about value. Its about developing a social media marketing framework that allows people to communicate better. Its also looking at it from the customer’s point of view.

I came out of that session thinking that the government shouldn’t be thinking about government websites, they should be looking at how to network with their consituents using social media – and that the government was totally missing the point.

Government is really good at spin – they have a message, a campaign and they put it out there on TV, radio and newspapers and on their government website. They want everyone to sing from the government’s hymn sheet. But more and more people are seeing through the spin – they don’t necessarily believe the message any more, let alone go looking for it.

If government wants to reach the people, then government needs to play where the people are playing and that is not on a government website. The people are playing in the social media space.

Nielsen’s Social Media Report – Wave 3 2009-2010 claims 38% of Australians are interacting with companies via social media and most prefer to do this through a social networking site rather than the company’s own website. This could apply equally to government – it would be easy to assume that more Australians would like to interact with government via social media rather than the government’s own website. Other statistics of interest – 63% of Australian have watched an online video, and 14% have either browsed or followed companies on Twitter, 73% have looked at a social networking profile, and 57% have updated a social networking profile.

Nielson also stated that "Social networking on sites such as Facebook was a key driver in Australians’ trial and uptake of social media. Close to three in four online Australians (73%) have looked at others’ profiles on social networks and well over one third (37%) of these report to be interacting with others via social networking sites on a daily basis. Facebook dominates the online social networking space, with three quarters of Australian Internet users (75%) reporting to have visited Facebook 59 percent have a Facebook profile, and the average time spent on Facebook in a given month is 8:19 hours – seven and a half hours more than its closest rival site, YouTube."

So my takeaways from this session were that if government looks at issues and needs from the people’s point of view, they will never fail. Government needs to play where the people are playing and that is in social media sites such as Facebook or they will become distant and irrelevant.


5 Articles you should read: 13 April 2010

Document Accessibility Should Begin at the Author Level, By Deborah Kaplan and Monir ElRayes. Government Technology, April 9, 2010. "…Significant progress has been made to improve the accessibility of content presented on Web sites, often in HTML format. However, the accessibility of other electronic formats, such as Microsoft Word documents and PDFs, still lags behind and is often added as an afterthought, if at all. Given the enormous volume of content created daily — often in the form of documents authored by individuals who know little about accessibility — this means far too much material is inaccessible to far too many people…."

SEO 101 – Parts 1 – 16, by Stoney deGeyter, Search Engine Guide, January 19, 2010 – April 1, 2010.

Part 2: Everything You Need To Know About Title Tags
Part 3: Everything You Need To Know About Meta Description and Keyword Tags
Part 4: Everything You Need To Know About Heading Tags and Alt Attributes
Part 5: Everything You Need To Know About Domain Names
Part 6: Everything You Need To Know About Search Engine Friendly URLs & Broken Links
Part 7: Everything You Need To Know About Site Architecture and Internal Linking
Part 8: Everything You Need To Know About Keywords
Part 9: Everything You Need To Know About Keyword Core Terms
Part 10: Everything You Need To Know About Keyword Qualifiers
Part 11: Everything You Need To Know About SEO Copywriting
Part 12: Everything You Need To Know About Page Content
Part 13: Everything You Need To Know About Links
Part 14: Everything You Need To Know About Link Anatomy
Part 15: Everything You Need To Know About Linking

Search and Rescue: How to Become Findable and Shareable in Social Media, By Brian Solis, Search Engine Watch, April 1, 2010. " Search isn’t an isolated experience. The act of looking for information is now fused with validation, which means the socialization of search will unite discovery with context and relationships. It all begins with where we purposely search for relevant content and also where we respond to interesting information that crosses our path…" Then read Optimize Your Brand for Sharing and Social Search in 11 Steps, By Brian Solis, Search Engine Watch, April 2, 2010. "Yesterday, we focused on how to make your brand findable and shareable in social media. A white paper by Gigya validates the shift to, and resulting importance of, social search and its dependence on crowd participation. Online businesses must optimize in order to earn referral traffic from social networks. .."

The 8-Step SEO Strategy, Step 1: Define Your Target Audience and Their Needs, Posted by laura, SEOmoz Blog, on April 6th, 2010. "… The first step in most marketing campaigns, Search Marketing included, is to start by defining your target audience.  Your target audience is a defined set of people who you are marketing your product to…"

Horizontal Attention Leans Left. Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox, April 6, 2010. Summary: Web users spend 69% of their time viewing the left half of the page and 30% viewing the right half. A conventional layout is thus more likely to make sites profitable…

Twitter spam tips and bible

Two new articles I found today about Twitter – worth a read

“Twitter Tips: Three Ways To Deal With Twitter Spam
You can take proactive steps to prevent Twitter spam such as unwanted direct messages promoting products and services. Here are three quick tips for keeping Twitter relevant and keeping spammers and mass-followers out.” By C.G. Lynch


“Twitter Bible: Everything You Need To Know About Twitter –
Our Twitter guide delivers expert advice on how to get started, practice good etiquette, network and job hunt, search smart and stay organized with the social networking service. You’ll also find analysis on how to better engage your followers, use Twitter to reach customers, and go mobile with Twitter.” By C.G. Lynch

Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/CherylHardy

Make it Easy to Share your Content on the Web

With the increasing profileration of web 2.0 tools on the web now it is great to see a service which helps you make your content easy to bookmark for sharing on a wide variety of social networking sites.

AddThis provides a bookmarking and sharing button to help distribute your content across the Web by making it simple for your visitors to bookmark pages and share them with other people. Over time this will drive more traffic back to your site, increase your link popularity and ultimately your search engine rankings.

Using this service means you don’t need to include a different button for each bookmarking service. The service is provided free of charge and also gives you statistics on its usage.

There are an extensive number of sites which AddThis provide links to including but not limited to: Delicious, Myspace, StumbleUpon, Digg, Technorati, Reddit, Facebook and so on.

Give it a try – AddThis today!

Pop up selection of bookmarking sites AddThis provides links to

Creative ways to use social media

There is an article published today at Search Engine Land entitled Really Boring Products That Rocked in Social Media. The article shows some very creative ways people have used social media to drive traffic to their websites. I particularly like the urinals – check it out!