While corporations use social media monitoring tools to track the success of marketing campaigns and analyze chatter about products, such tools also provide a useful service to government agencies. Instead of measuring consumer sentiment toward a product or service, government agencies can use social media monitoring tools to insure information accurately reaches the public.

The Food and Drug Administration recently announced it will utilize social media monitoring to measure public sentiment surrounding the agency, according to a request for quote on the Federal Business Opportunities website. By analyzing multiple metrics, the FDA can measure opinion about the agency, as well as emergency response effectiveness.

“By monitoring the success and failure of our messages via measurement and sentiment, we can plan more useful strategies to serve our audiences,” the agency said in the request. “The metric should be, but is not limited to: engagement, sentiment, likes, follows, and mentions.”

What people are saying about the agency
The FDA hopes that with the help of social media listening tools, it can determine if messages are accurately reaching its audience. While the FDA utilizes social media to communicate with the public already, listening tools will help them understand how information released through all mediums is perceived by the public. The agency could track common themes of discussion among social media users and learn where the public is receiving information related to FDA issues. The metrics gathered from social media listening will provide the agency with feedback on how it handled recall and emergency situations in regards to public opinion.

Risk management campaigns
Social media monitoring also provides the agency with opportunities to measure and improve its risk communication campaigns. By monitoring social feedback, the FDA can determine if messages regarding safety issues, such as a food recalls are understood by the public. According to the FDA’s website, monitoring social media during an emergency event can allow the agency to measure consumer reaction time to emergencies that fall under the FDA umbrella. While information regarding a recall would be disseminated through multiple media outlets, social media monitoring could provide insight to how accurately and quickly the information spreads. Social media monitoring would also allow the agency to tweak information campaigns in real time if the analysis of the data warranted it. Using the data gathered to improve responses in the future could save the agency money down the road.

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