When it comes to federal social media, public affairs may own it, but why shouldn’t HR play too?

In October I commented on government agencies’ growing use of Facebook and Twitter. My focus then, based on a pair of September articles in Federal Computing Week, was on these social media tools as aids to recruitment. I’ve since taken a closer look at this trend.

The takeaway from my informal scan of federal social media: this trend is growing like a swath of mushrooms after a spring rain. I counted more than thirty major agencies or departments with Facebook pages and innumerable others on Twitter (contact me for a full list, if you’re interested).

None of the government Facebook pages that I found appears to be mounted with much conscious attention to recruiting. Most are devoted to agency programs and activities, and most are (first) linked from their sponsor’s home page, rather than their Careers sections.

What does this tell us? I’d venture that in most of these instances the creative impetus to enter the social media realm originated with agency public affairs professionals rather than HR staff. This doesn’t diminish their effectiveness as collateral recruiting tools. After all, they do reinforce their sponsoring agencies’ brands, and that’s a bonus for recruiting…although a bit more focus on the agency culture–and its employees—would be nice. The same goes for Twitter.

All this is good news for human capital professionals and recruiters, even if your agency’s Facebook and Twitter outreach is administered by your public affairs department. In the first place, an agency social media presence is a powerful branding “hook” for engaging potential recruits. Just because HR doesn’t own your agency’s social media resources doesn’t disqualify you from at least promoting it in your recruiting outreach, both online and off.

What’s more, these tools can provide a recruiting engagement platform that’s accessible to HR at virtually no cost other than the exercise of your team’s intra-agency persuasive powers. If you can sell the team that administers these resources on letting HR contribute content, that’s a big win indeed for your recruiting program.


Thomas Delorme
Written by Thomas Delorme

VP, Digital Products & Strategy

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