I recently came across a study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, which discusses how Americans use government Web sites, and how social media can be integrated into the government’s online presence. The study is over a year old, but given that in the past year alone, social media has sparked social, cultural, and in particular, political revolutions, the findings are still timely. According to this study (which is loaded with information), the government’s role in the online space, and in particular, the social media space, is sure to resonate with its constituents, and especially its minorities.
One finding which particularly struck me was the conclusion that minorities are equally likely to get government information using digital platforms and furthermore, that African Americans and Latinos, compared to whites, are more likely to express positive attitudes towards government engagement in social media. Check out this video by study author Aaron Smith, Research Specialist at the Pew Internet and American Life Project, who briefly explains.
While the study does note that the average government Web site user is affluent, highly educated and White, minorities do still use the internet and social media to obtain government information. In fact, minority Americans were more likely than Whites to believe that government social media outreach makes the government agencies and officials more accessible.
For social marketers who search for the best ways to reach their audiences, and for those of us who work on government campaigns, we can use studies like this to reassure, and encourage, our clients that social media is a viable and valuable option to reach our minority audiences.
The findings are not too surprising, given recent studies that mention that the digital divide is now decreasing, and that more people are now able to get online. But, what’s interesting is the extent to which we embrace social media, so much so, that we’re encouraging our government to collaborate with us in this way. And, according to the report, Americans don’t believe the government is wasting money by using social media. (Surprising, I know).
So, what are some ways that the government can strike a chord with minorities? Well, for starters, begin blogging, friending, and tweeting.