Viewpoint: Choose from several social media applications in government contracting
“Social media is one of the hottest topics in both government and the government contracting community today,” according to a recent GovWin publication. The report says the growth of social media offers opportunities to IT contractors that do business with government.
And governments are using social media to connect with the contractor community, says Dona Storey, who is the American Express OPEN advisor on procurement.
“Some government agencies, especially the Small Business Administration (SBA), have been at the forefront of using social media to share helpful information for small businesses using platforms such as YouTube and Facebook,” Storey told GPN.
Federal agencies, says Storey, are using social media in several ways to communicate with contractors. “The intent of government agencies is typically to share information that is educational or to provide technical assistance rather than to formally post requirements. In some cases, the acquisition postings are forecasts of projects to come or to give small firms a heads-up as to what an agency is doing that may be of benefit to them.”
And don’t forget trade associations in the social media sphere, says Storey. “We are seeing robust growth of various industry groups that deal in and around the government procurement marketplace. Such groups are a wealth of information that contractors and government officials share to help one another. One such group where I have been active for many years is the Tidewater Government and Industry Council. It is an informal gathering of government and industry types that meet once a month to discuss federal procurement issues that can benefit both government and industry. It has recently started a LinkedIn group and is providing free training to supplement strained government training budgets.”
Storey says these are a couple of examples of how social media can serve to facilitate important collaboration between industry and government. Social media, says Storey, help business and government come together to solve problems in the world of government contracting.
Government marketing consultant Mark Amtower says social media can be an effective tool. “For government agencies trying to get the word out to constituents, social media is an excellent option. Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ all have groups that are communities of people who share certain traits and interests. If you find the right groups, you can reach a defined audience. You can also start your own group(s),” said Amtower.
Twitter, said Amtower, allows organizations and individuals to push information out. That information, said Amtower, “can (and probably will) be shared with others using that platform.”