Social Media Strategy of the Day: State Department Spent $630,000 on Facebook ‘Likes’
Now that the whole world knows for certain that American taxpayers’ money has been funding the surveillance of citizens and foreign governments, try wrapping your heads around this one: Between 2011 and 2013, U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs spent $630,000 on racking up Facebook “likes.” According to a report recently published by The Office of Inspector General, which was prompted after several Department employees filed a complaint about the expenses, the State Department actively maintains four separate Facebook pages, from which they have accumulated more than 2 million likes over the last two years.
As I pointed out in a comment on Hacker News, only half the story is being told here. For one thing, the IG called out a page (not the one shown above, but others, including this one) that was away from its target audience, even though the department was specifically trying to target young adults with the endeavor. Second, the agency cited that only two percent of people were being attracted by the sponsored ads, but two percent of two million is still 40,000 people. Finally, we aren’t being given context here—if that engagement is more efficient than running TV ads for IIP, then it’s probably more successful than is being advertised. Now, the State Department probably wasn’t frugal enough with their spending on this, but I’ll bet you anything that there’s probably more to this story. — Ernie @ SFB