Government agencies, institutions playing low on social media

Government agencies appeared to be slow at leveraging the social media platforms for better public engagements.A major study undertaken by Instinct Wave Group Ltd., a consulting firm, showed that some public agencies and parastatals are not doing enough in terms of embracing the social media.

Due to the knowledge gap and the inability to be proactive with social media, the public sector still remain at the lowest cadre in terms of using the platforms to engage Nigerians.

While most developed nations are using platforms such as the Facebook, Youtube, LinkedIn, Twitter, and a host of others to engage their citizens, such cannot be said of these government parastals and agencies in the country, which creates a gulf in terms of information dissemination.

Indeed, the Instint Wave report, a pioneering one, titled: ‘Nigeria Public Sector Social Media Report,’ drew conclusion on the amount of followers and likes these agencies have on the social media platforms. They include Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, Instagram followership, YouTube subscribers, existing LinkedIn accounts for staff, and how often they share relevant service information with the Nigerian public, likewise their feedback mechanism.

According to the study, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), is the most visible government agency in Nigeria on the social media platforms. The agency has Twitter: 726,000 Followers, Facebook: 266,151 Likes and Instagram: 37,000 followers.

For engagement and reach engagement level, INEC has Facebook – 60 per cent, Twitter – 85 per cent and Instagram – 30 per cent. Others who follow closely are the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) with Twitter: 406,000 followers, Facebook: 510,661 Likes, Instagram: 2,836 followers, YouTube: 224 subscribers, LinkedIn: 908 followers.

On engagement level and reach, NPF has Facebook – 70 per cent, Twitter – 60 per cent, YouTube – 30 per cent, LinkedIn- five per cent and Instagram – 60 per cent. Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), which comes third on the table has Twitter: 203,000 followers, Facebook: 290, 247 Likes, Instagram: 2,626 Followers, LinkedIn: 1,011 Followers. For its engagement level and reach, FRSC has Facebook – 80 per cent, Twitter – 80 per cent, Instagram – 50 per cent and LinkedIn – 20 per cent.

The report also implied that the use of social media applications has been averagely accepted in public sector in Nigeria. However, the acceptance, and broader adoption of sophisticated tactics that go beyond information and education paradigm, such as true engagement or networking strategies are still in its infancy.

Despite embracing the use of the social media platforms, the agencies and parastatals face challenges such as leveraging the energy of a new generation. They can use this to drive a new, positive culture that supports high performance, poor engagement, poor capacity building on social media knowledge (SMK), duplication of Social Media platforms and creating non-business social media platforms.

Others are lack of understanding of how to generate rightful and engaging content, lack of sharing of best practices with the private sector initiative, lack of new strategies and innovation of social media tools. Others are poor knowledge of engaging and connecting with the right audience, management/analysis of social media accounts and overview of feedbacks.

Commenting on the report, the CEO of Instinct Wave, Akin Naphtal, said the aim of the unprecedented report is to shed more light on the mechanisms of the Public Sector in Nigeria.and its use of the several social media platforms.

“Perception of the citizenry is bound to shift with this report. There will be adequate information to justify the reasons for communication gap and how information should be disseminated,” he stated.

He added that this will be a guide to government portal minders to build up on a particular social media platform that could prove helpful. It will also be helpful in strategising development with global standards of practice and the ever changing consumer behavioural pattern.

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