In the government contracting arena, relationships and marketing tools are key factors in convincing a federal agency to award a contract. Forming cordial relationships with the contracting officers of target agencies is essential because those relationships simplify networking and may even convert contracting officers into brand advocates. Similarly, marketing materials such as websites, slick sheets and brochures, as well as a thorough and well-crafted proposal, provide valuable assistance when a federal agency assesses the capabilities of a government contractor prior to awarding a contract.
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn are equally valuable when it comes to conveying a brand and establishing expertise as a thought leader in an industry. Social media sites can also contribute to the establishment of solid relationships between a government contractor and its current and potential agency customers.
For example, government contractors Raytheon and Lockheed Martin use their Facebook and Twitter accounts to entice customers to click hyperlinks and see interesting, informative press releases, videos and photos posted on their websites. By nudging customers toward the product and service offerings on their websites, these government contractors increase the potential for creating relationships, which in turn can lead to increased sales and improved ROI.
Other benefits of using social media sites include conveying up-to-date news about upcoming products and services, announcing new hires with expertise that will add value to the company’s offerings and advertising for the best and brightest in employee talent. Depending upon the social media website used and the level of service selected, these benefits are achieved at very little or no cost to government contractors, which is useful as government contractors feel the financial results of sequestration and employee furloughs.
It also appears possible that blogs may eventually be adopted by more government contractors. These blogs can be incorporated into an existing website, especially ones built on blog hosting websites WordPress or Blogger. Both of these sites have enormous potential to reach a massive audience: WordPress alone has over 71 million business and personal blogs.
Thanks to Google Analytics and similar web analytics tools, it is now much easier to determine how social media sites are influencing customer behavior on company websites. Companies can gain useful insights such as which pages are receiving the highest number of visits and which keywords resonate the most with customers, in order to make more informed business decisions.
However, it is essential that the social media websites of government contractors are used in conjunction with a good marketing campaign and specific goals to be achieved. Ideally, the campaign should include input from marketing professionals as well as company executives and business development employees. As a result, ROI and cost savings will be easier to determine.