Adobe is ramping up its efforts in social media, with a strong focus on the public sector.
Tomorrow the software firm plans to release Adobe Social 3.0, the latest iteration of its social-media management tool, a sort of Swiss army knife for the social Web that enables agencies and firms to launch, manage and track campaigns across Facebook, Twitter and other popular sites and glean business insights from the conversations people are having about them.
For government agencies, social media holds a similar allure as businesses have found in the private sector: it offers a direct, unfiltered channel to interact with the people using their services.
"Through social, agencies can more easily build relationships with their citizens," Melanie Solomon, a solutions consultant with Adobe's government division, said during an online presentation on Tuesday.
"I think it's important for multiple reasons, one of which being that communications through those social channels is really putting a face on those agencies," she added.
Adobe Social 3.0 Geared to Help Government Agencies Expand Digital Outreach
As agencies at all levels of the government, from federal down to state and local, work to expand their digital outreach, Solomon stressed the importance of establishing a social presence to engage with citizens on a variety of platforms and broaden the reach of timely or even vital information.
She lauded Craig Fugate, the administrator of FEMA and a prolific Twitter user, for tweeting out updates on super-storm Sandy "before the first raindrops fell" using the hashtag #SandyAlerts. Likewise, Solomon cited the strong popularity of the Marine Corps' Facebook page and NASA's Twitter feed both of which brim with content and, respectively, are the most popular government sites of their kind.
Adobe's Social product is geared to help businesses and agencies roll out and manage a multi-dimensional social strategy, including tools to help marketers monitor the myriad conversations involving their organization happening across the social Web, as well as apps to push out content and tools to publish and engage with customers.
Additionally, the forthcoming version of the product promises to help marketers more effectively gauge the impact of their social presence, which could be measured by a return on investment in dollars or other business outcomes.
Accountability was a major focus of Adobe's overhaul of Social, with a retooled interface that aims to cleanly present the results of a campaign, as defined by the user, and drill down to discover which posts, links, apps or other form of content are delivering results.
"If you don't have the analytics to back it, you can't track how many people are clicking through, how many people are applying, how many people are responding. How do you know that any of what you're doing and any of that content you're putting out there is working?" Solomon said. "Relationships are at the heart of social, but in order to build effective social relationships you have to understand the content of a topic that citizens care about the most."
Kenneth Corbin is a Washington, D.C.-based writer who covers government and regulatory issues for CIO.com.