Many government contractors remain skeptical about the value of social media in federal marketing. Others are uncertain about how to use social media to improve B2G marketing even while many smart federal contractors are using social media to increase marketplace awareness and generate leads with great success.
For those that remain skeptical or uncertain about social media in their own government marketing programs, here is a painless way for government contractors to use social media to understand the federal market and their place in it.
By using the free Google Alerts system, or similar monitoring services, government contractors can track:
- Prospective client Federal agencies and agency programs
- Your industry
- Your company
It takes only minutes to set up a tracking agent, and you can have the results emailed to you on a regular basis that you specify. You might want to see alerts about your company immediately, and information about prospective agency clients daily, while competitor information can set on a weekly alert. You can easily change the frequency of each alert. And if you prefer not to clog your inbox, you can set up an RSS feed so that you can view alerts in your RSS reader whenever you like. I strongly recommend the RSS feed approach over receiving emails. To set up Google alerts, go to www.google.com/alerts. If you don’t already use an RSS reader, try Google reader www.google.com/reader. Both are available at no cost.
So what alerts should you set up?
At a minimum, keep track of the names of competitors and their branded products and services. You might also track their domain names (e.g., www.turbogsa.com and turbogsa.com) and the name of twitter (#turbogsa), facebook or LinkedIn pages (e.g., http://www.linkedin.com/company/turbogsa-client-dimensions). Also set up alerts for any contracts (by contract number, contract name, contract common name) that these competitors possess or that you may want to bid on in the future.
Prospective Client Federal Agencies
Tracking your targeted agencies and programs within those agencies is imperative. But due to the amount of stories and information being produced, you should be very specific in the terms you use to avoid receiving alerts that are irrelevant to your company’s concerns. Set up alerts for specific offices and groups within the agencies you are targeting. Specify program management office names and program manager names at targeted agencies. If you are interested in existing contracts that an office manages, set up alerts for the incumbent contractor, contract number, contract name, or the assigned contracting officer. You might also set up alerts for agency training and conferences that they regularly host or attend
It’s always a good idea to set up alerts for industry terms and keywords, important conferences and events, industry gurus (names, twitter handles).
In order to stay on top of who may be talking about you (saying good things or bad), set up alerts for your own company name (including variations and misspellings), your brand names for products and services, key employees, twitter handle, and domain names.
Most companies can set up such alerts in just a few hours time and reap the benefits forever. You can easily add or subtract alerts over time and hone the information that you are receiving. If information is power, then setting up the social media alerts for your federal marketing program is essential and will yield great benefits.