My small, woman-owned public relations/marketing firm, Advice Unlimited, has been serving the Federal government marketplace for nearly 30 years to help companies with innovative technology get their solutions to the government. Every month, I’ll offer unlimited advice on how to work with this unique market. Please email me with questions or comments.

Advice Unlimited

Advice Unlimited

Monday, May 21, 2012

Importance of Mobile Devices Highlighted in GovLoop Report

GovLoop recently published an interesting report on the State of Government Communications. The report highlights the top ten trends in government communications. Some insights I found of particular interest were those around three key areas: the digital divide, social media, and crisis management. We agree these are important areas of government communication, and we work with many of our clients to help them deal with challenges around these focus areas.

A majority of communication now takes place over the web and having access to the web is key to staying in the loop. The boom in social media has made for a tremendous increase in the speed at which information is made public and how quickly that information spreads. It is important for organizations to keep up with social media channels and how the public is accessing the information across these channels. If they do not keep up, they will be left out of the loop because of a digital divide they did not account for - it’s not just about leveraging the web; it’s also about the tools your specific audience is using to access the web. And for some critical demographics, the device of choice is mobile.

There was a very interesting comment posted about GovLoop’s report. The comment pointed out the great digital divide of how different demographics access the web and social media. It noted that personal portable devices such as smart phones are a critical web access point for the poor, the young and people of color. If the government does not expand to make communication possible through a mobile interface, they will be missing out on communication with a large and important demographic.

Accessing social media through mobile devices has become increasingly popular. Forward-thinking organizations need to take advantage of social media outlets as a means of spreading their message and information updates. Sometimes the bounty of different social media sites can be overwhelming. The report gives good insight into some of the most popular sites; public information specialists such as Advice Unlimited can help organizations determine which social media outlets will be most effective for specific messages and to reach different audiences.

With a mobile app for every social media site at the fingertips of every smart phone user, there is a great deal of information spreading at an incredibly fast speed. The increase in the speed at which information travels has significantly changed how organizations perform crisis management. Instead of setting up press conferences to update reporters who would in turn update the public on the process and progress in dealing with the crisis, public information specialists need to be proactive and go directly to constituents, using social media and various communication channels the public will look to for information, guidance and reassurance. Our audience will be looking to these social media sites for updates, information, and reassurance – so that’s where we need to be. For example, when the earthquake hit in Virginia last summer, there were updates about feeling an earthquake flooding the news feeds of Facebook minutes before any television media outlet could place a response or update to the public.

To read the GovLoop State of Government Communications Report in its entirety, please visit I recently led a workshop on how to use social media in a disaster at the GovSec 2012 conference; if you couldn’t attend and would like more information on that topic or any of the topics discussed in this post, please contact me at