In Mexico, 3 of 19 Goverment Secretaries and other government agencies are already using social media like Twitter and Facebook to inform the public about important announcements as well as promoting social programs.
The Secretary of Agriculture has an account in Facebook where they have already more than 100 followers. In this page there is a group that debates about business opportunities in the agriculture sector. The goal is to establish a two way communication with the public.
There are other Social Media efforts from other government institutions. In the following example, PROFECO created a whole campaign using social media, which started in March 2009.
The Federal Attorney’s Office of Consumer (PROFECO), is inviting the readers of its monthly magazine to join their page in Facebook. 6 months later, they have over a 1000 friends and 3,544 followers in Twitter. The Magazine (Consumer’s Magazine) has been in the outlets for years and is very well known, so it is a great news hook to use social media. PROFECO’s role is to protect consumer against companies or people who have delivered bad products or services.
According to the editor of PROFECO’s Magazine, the intention is to be where the people is, and the people are in the social media. The PROFECO magazine is famous for giving people tips how to defend themselves as consumers or users of different services. They also have a channel in youtube where they have different videos that come from the show they have on tv
PROFECO is also using Hi5 and has already 405 followers.
The Secretary of Turism (SECTUR) is also usingFacebook, at least for some of states like Sinaloa, Zacatecas and Baja California. Many other Latin American countries have pages to promote their Turism Secretaries and countries in Facebook. (Argentina, Colombia,etc.)
Something is clear, as other companies, several government institutions are trying to explore ways to have more interaction with the public and also to promote their initiatives, giving transparency of what they are doing at the same time.
The Mexican Goverment start adopting an eGovernment strategy years ago with an initiative called eMexico. This initiative included 4 areas: e-Learning, e-Health, e-Economy and e-Government.
Although the eMexico project has not been completed after President Fox’s presidency, all government secretaries, agencies, local government implemented e-government initiatives including websites and portals for the public that include both information in Spanish and English.
If the rest of the institutions and secretaries find the right strategy on how to approach the social media to have a conversation with the public and to provide value, certainly people will love to have that interaction, responses to different questions, policies, procedures. This will open a new era of dialogue between public and the government, maybe even new services.
Some of the Secretaries are very well known so maybe a page, a channel or an account in their name will be enough, but others might need to do some Social Media Optimisation to be found in the proper set of keywords both in Social Media and the web.
It is clear that the success of PROFECO was from leveraging a well known outlet (The Consumers’ Magazine), which had a lot of content, tv shows, tips, which are very valuable to consumers. However each institution will have to think on what is the value the deliver, and then create a communication strategy, an SMO strategy etc.
As most websites have information in English as well, and sometimes even in more languages, the government institutions could also try a Multilingual Social Media strategy in the future, where they can provide information to other countries on how to invest, work, migrate etc to Mexico through Social Media. This is obviously done already in other countries and already happening in Mexico in terms of SEO.
There is still a lot of scope in the social media both for B2B, B2C and Government in Mexico, but the important thing is that it is already happening and with interesting strategies, approaches and results that we all can learn from.
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