Target: Bureau of International Information Programs
Goal: Denounce State Department bureau spending of over $630,000 for Facebook “likes,” which, according to a report, was ineffective at reaching its target audience
Between 2011 and March 2013, the State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP) spent $630,000 on two campaigns aimed at increasing its numbers of Facebook “likes,” which, according to a report by the Inspector General (IG), was ineffective at garnering the publicity it targeted. Condemn the waste of taxpayer dollars used to buy publicity for government social media pages.
According to the IG’s report, the IIP launched two campaigns in 2011 and 2012 to increase “engagement” in its Facebook fan pages, which include a user’s ability to “like” a fan page using a button on the website. The bureau was able to increase its “likes” for fan pages from 100,000 to roughly 2 million fans on its English language pages, and from 68,000 to more than 450,000 fans in its foreign language pages. However, the IG report details that the bureau’s goals of engaging with its target audience, “elite” fans who tend to be older and influential, was abysmal: at most, posts on the fan pages received hundreds of likes or shares, and roughly 2 percent of its fan base made an effort to connect with the pages by commenting on, “liking,” or sharing posts.
“A consensus is emerging that developing numbers of Facebook followers and Twitter fans may not lead automatically to target audience engagement,” the report reads. The IIP itself also had internal objections to the campaigns: “Many in the bureau criticize the advertising campaigns as ‘buying fans’ who may have once clicked on an ad or ‘liked’ a photo but have no real interest in the topic and have never engaged further.” The IG’s report details an disorganized, often redundant social media network within the State Department that has resulted in a waste of advertising dollars and a lack of reader engagement overall.
Denounce this wasteful spending on an ineffective social media campaign by telling the International Information Programs bureau at the Department of State that further spending of this kind is unacceptable.
Dear Bureau of International Information Programs,
The Inspector General’s report detailing that the IIP bureau spent $630,000 on increasing Facebook “likes” in a largely ineffective attempt to increase engagement with its target audience is appalling. This was a waste of taxpayer dollars and reveals a profound disconnect with the global online community. The bureau apparently thought it could “buy” fans that would then engage in meaningful communications, a mistake that led to a tremendous waste of taxpayer money.
The United States Department of State and the Bureau of International Information Programs must rethink their spending strategy on social media advertising, and stop wasting taxpayer dollars further.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Enoc vt via Wikimedia Commons