The 2022 State of Social Media in the Public Sector report is here. We surveyed over 700 government communicators to find out how they use social media to share vital updates, connect with their communities, and more. ArchiveSocial’s resident digital compliance communications expert Marcus Smith shared a preview of the results in a live webinar earlier this year and answered attendees’ questions about how to get the most out of your social media presence. You can watch the webinar replay here. Or, download your free copy of the full report here.

Every page shares exclusive survey data and actionable insights to help you improve your social media strategies. Because this is our third annual State of Social Media, we were able to analyze 2022 data and provide an in-depth look at trends over the last three years.

Social media and our lives online change rapidly, making it essential to stay on top of emerging trends and keep them in context to avoid changing direction with every new meme or platform update. Here are four topics the webinar explored with stats and recommendations.

Managing multiple accounts

Over 22% of social media communicators are working on a team of 1.

Most government communicators we surveyed (35.9%) manage six or more accounts. These communicators may be tasked with social media communications across social media platforms for multiple departments. That’s a lot to keep up with! Especially considering social media involves a lot more than just posting content. Engaging with community members by responding to comments and messages is an important part of social media management.

So how can government communicators maximize their efficiency? We’ve identified some opportunities.

  • Social media management tools like Buffer or Hootsuite can help small teams save time and get ahead on their content schedule. Fewer than half of survey (38.9%) respondents said they currently use a social media management tool. These tools can provide a lot of functionality for a small investment. Subscriptions are usually inexpensive and give communicators a central place to schedule content across platforms.
  • More accounts aren’t always better. Too many can not only split your attention, but they can also split your audience. This can wreak havoc with your engagement metrics and make it difficult to demonstrate ROI to leadership. Sometimes paring back and focusing your efforts on a few accounts can help you produce the best content and earn more engagement.

Challenges on social media

Engagement on social media is essential to getting your posts seen by followers, but how do you build engagement if your posts aren’t being seen? It can seem like a paradox, and many communicators struggle with it. 52.4% of respondents said that building engagement on each platform was one of the biggest challenges on social media. While you can’t control everything, there are some things you can do to increase engagement and better understand your numbers.

  • Remember that rates are more important than raw numbers. If you have fewer followers on one platform but higher engagement rates, your posts are making an impact. Don’t give up on those platforms, because follower counts will grow over time, especially if your engagement rates are high.
  • You may need to tweak your content strategy if engagement rates are low on a platform. Working on many platforms can be challenging, and cross-posting content without adapting it for each platform can make engagement rates flag. It’s important to use each platform for the content types that work best.
    • Facebook has the widest range of content types, and a little bit of everything can keep audiences engaged.
    • Instagram content should focus on the visual and rely less on captions. This platform is great for tourist destinations, local nature and parks, and special events.
    • LinkedInis great for sharing job openings and content that showcases office culture.
    • Twitter keeps things short, so news updates are best here. Traffic, weather, and other announcements perform well.
    • YouTube works well for posting recorded meetings, event advertisements, and other video content.
    • TikTok also showcases videos, but humorous content does best on this platform. Have a clever or funny PSA? Share it here.

Comment response time goals

Over 41% of communicators aim to respond to messages and comments within 24 hours.Engagement on social media can take many forms, but comments are usually considered the most important. Responding to comments is important. Not only does it make community members feel heard, but it also encourages future engagement. We asked our respondents if they had goals for responding to comments from community members. 33.7% have speedy response time goals for their teams of under 6 hours. 41.8% have given themselves more room to breathe at 24 hours. 21% have no set goal for a response.

Setting goals for response time keeps you on top of comments. We all know that comments tend to come in huge waves or slow trickles, but setting a goal helps you stay consistent and build trust with your community. Responding in a timely manner shows that questions and comments are not falling on deaf ears.

Even if you’re unsure how to answer a question from a community member, it can still be a good idea to acknowledge the question within your response goal. Let the commenter know that you’re looking into the answer or gathering information. Then, come back later with a complete response once you’ve consulted with colleagues or done your research. This reduces unnecessary friction by making the community member feel heard and giving you more time to craft a thoughtful response.

Social media records requests

Social media content posted by public agencies and school districts is considered public record in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Our survey revealed that the number of respondents not archiving social media content has risen slightly, from 11.1% in 2021 to 13.6% in 2022. This is a risky practice, as social media platforms do not save content forever and do not archive deleted posts and comments. Organizations not archiving their social media content are vulnerable to lawsuits when they cannot fulfill records requests.

Over 17% of communicators reported more than 8 social media records requests in the past year, up over 11% year over year.

It’s riskier now more than ever, as social media records requests are rising. 17.5% of respondents had more than eight records requests for social media content in the past two years. That’s up more than 10% from 2021. This underscores the importance of social media archiving and records request management. If you’re interested in starting your archive, sign up for a free trial of ArchiveSocial here.

Download the full report for more data, tips, and tricks

The full report has even more to offer! The State of Social Media in the Public Sector is the only report where you can see how your government communications peers manage social media. Download the full report here.