The month of May tips into the second half of the federal fiscal year, which quietly started last Oct. 1. Industry experienced more spending in this first six months than in recent years, and the projected federal contract spending is on a decidedly upward slant, with Deltek anticipating a $600 billion spend on contracts for all of the current fiscal year. If this number is reached, it will be the highest federal spend since before sequestration began in 2013. However, even with this cautious optimism, experienced contractors are concerned about how to best position their companies to win contracts, especially with a very active fiscal year-end right around the corner.
Positioning a company for success no longer means meeting with senators and other politicos. Instead, it is based upon meeting with the actual decision\makers involved in the purchases. However, getting those meetings can seem to be virtually impossible unless one has a well-thought- out strategy to understand the needs of the target and creates a messaging process that is specific to the needs and interests of those unique decision makers.
One aspect of this messaging may be using social media as a vehicle to reach government customers, as well as for government to reach constituents. A recent article in Government Technology stated that “Katie Harbath, Facebook’s Global Politics and Government outreach director, addressed attendees of the recent 2016 Government Social Media Conference in Reno, Nev., saying the tool presents a new way to engage constituents who might otherwise not participate in things like public meetings. In Canada, the speaker said, officials were surprised to see users take interest in recent budgetary hearings.”
According to Harbath, roughly 2,000 people watched proceedings using the Facebook Live tool. “Now, that’s not a huge number. It’s not in the millions, it’s not even in the tens of thousands; but that’s 2,000 more people who wanted to participate in this process about the budget that otherwise would have never had a chance to do so,” she said. “Even just broadcasting your press conferences and your speeches, you can reach a lot more people by going live than you could maybe reach who is there in person.”
Facebook is promoting the updated video usage to individuals, companies and government, the article continued, with Harbath saying those who are drawn to the live feeds “watch three times longer than prerecorded video and engage as much as 10 times more often. The possibilities behind live streaming video were a topic of conversation at Facebook’s F8 developers’ conference this week, as founder Mark Zuckerberg demonstrated the capabilities of streaming from a DJI drone.”
Those federal contracting vendors who are looking for new ways to engage with federal decision makers may find that this updated video is a powerful tool in a constantly changing contracting environment. As the old-school employees retire out of the federal workforce and are replaced with those who demand constant social media interaction, telling the story through Facebook video may be the next effective marketing tactic to employ.
Gloria Larkin is president of TargetGov, of Linthicum, is also Women Impacting Public Policy’s Education Foundation chair and is involved in the GiveMe5 program. Visit www.targetgov.com or call toll-free 1-866-579-1346 for more information.